Enterprises Embrace SD-WAN; Miss Benefits of Integrated Security

GTT Communications Inc., a global provider of managed network and security services to multinational organizations, has announced the results of a study that found more than 95 percent of enterprises have deployed software-defined wide area networks (SD-WANs) or plan to do so within the next 24 months.

But 42 percent reported they either don’t have security integrated with SD-WAN or have no specific SD-WAN security at all.

The GTT-sponsored IDC White Paper also found enterprises experience multiple challenges when attempting to adopt SD-WAN on their own. When asked to list the challenges they faced when taking a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach to SD-WAN, respondents cited difficulties related to hiring and retaining a skilled in-house workforce, keeping up with technology developments and the ability to negotiate favorable terms with technology vendors.

“Now that SD-WAN has matured and has been widely adopted, the complexity of deployments has grown, challenging enterprises on multiple fronts and compromising their ability to realize the full benefits of the technology,” said James Eibisch, research director, European Infrastructure and Telecoms, IDC. “Enterprises are increasingly reliant on the resources and expertise of a managed service provider to ensure they deploy SD-WAN in a way best suited to their meet their organizations’ objectives. Security approaches like Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) that combine the benefits of SD-WAN with zero trust network access and content filtering features are well poised to dominate the next phase of SD-WAN enhancements as enterprises continue to enable the cloud IT model and a hybrid workforce.”

The survey found that more than 80 percent of respondents worldwide have either made SASE a priority (39 percent) or have recognized its benefits and are already incorporating it into company initiatives (42 percent). Only 19 percent of respondents worldwide reported they do not view SASE as a priority.

Despite this widespread recognition of the value of integrating security and SD-WAN, the survey found that many enterprises have not been able to leverage these benefits. In the United States, 45 percent of respondents said they either don’t have security integrated with SD-WAN or have no specific SD-WAN security at all. In some countries, such as Switzerland and France, that figure was more than 5 percent.

This trend held across vertical industries such as manufacturing (47 percent), retail (46 percent), health care (47 percent) and transportation (49 percent). Financial and business services were exceptions, with only 32 percent and 34 percent, respectively.

Still, seven out of 10 respondents expect to use integrated security in the next 12 months.

“This IDC study highlights the critical role of expert managed services support for enterprises deploying SD-WAN. Experienced managed services providers can help integrate technology, connectivity and security, while also managing costs and increased complexity,” said Don MacNeil, COO at GTT. “The research shows that a DIY approach to SD-WAN presents a number of challenges that can be addressed by teaming with a managed services provider.”

When respondents who were adopting a managed services approach to SD-WAN were asked for their reasons, many said they wanted to outsource day-to-day management tasks. The top reason cited by respondents globally for using a managed services provider was the benefit of always-on help desk support in local languages, with 36 percent citing this as a reason.

For more information, visit