Companies large and small are now looking at online business connectivity as a critical need equivalent to having reliable employees, sufficient inventory, and robust business plans. Corporate communications allow companies to access business cloud applications used for interactions with customers, vendors, and remote employees deploying cloud-based voice, video, and data services.
Many companies are looking at using cloud-based network and security solutions to handle their connectivity needs. The global SD-WAN market continues to grow steadily, from an estimated $1.4 billion in 2019 to a forecast of $43 billion in 2030 – a CAGR of 38%. It is projected by Gartner that by 2025, “…at least 60% of enterprises will have explicit strategies and timelines for SASE – Secure Access Service Edge (providing security from the cloud) adoption; encompassing user, branch, and edge access, up from 10% in 2020.” Part of the cloud-connectivity solution growth will come from the increased number of businesses using an SD-WAN, while some will come from the increased and advanced functionality, which will enhance a network’s reliability, throughput, and security.
To find out what network functionality is most important to enterprises and solution providers, Adaptiv Networks conducted a business connectivity survey during the fourth quarter of 2021, asking people what they thought of specific features. We had over 200 responses, with the majority from North America but also from Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Latin America. It was a near split between solution providers (e.g., service providers, distributors, master agents) and end-users, those that currently use or plan to use an SD-WAN technology as part of their daily business operations. Respondents in a wide variety of verticals participated, including healthcare, manufacturing, education, and retail. The survey asked, basically on a scale from 1-5, how vital specific functionality was to them.
Business Connectivity Survey Highlights
It should come as no surprise that 24×7 online availability is a highly-desired feature regardless of industry. When you’re offline or your connection is sketchy, remote workers experience poor or dropped video calls, resulting in frustrated employees and customers. Production lines grind to a halt, unable to share manufacturing data with logistics and management. Hotel guests, unable to get online, vow, “I’m staying somewhere else next time.”
In addition to constant connectivity being a significant need, high-speed access is a necessary feature, and single links, whether broadband or MPLS, restrict the user to an upper limit. The aggregation of links, with support for multiple ISPs implementing different transport technologies over several mediums simultaneously, not only increases the available top speed but provides additional reliability for the network if one connection falters.
One unexpected result from the survey was the relatively low importance given to the retention of MPLS links. It’s common for enterprises using MPLS for intra-company communications to be reluctant to give it up. MPLS is a known commodity that has worked well for a long time, and many companies selling SD-WAN can’t get them to work in parallel, forcing companies to choose between the two.
Always-on, high-speed connectivity is table stakes for any service provider looking to provide cloud-connectivity services to enterprises. Other features, such as allowing MPLS to continue being used, is of lesser importance but still necessary to many customers who have invested heavily in MPLS links and rely strongly on them. SASE, or network security in general, ranked lower to many of our respondents. Still, we think it will rise in importance over the next few years as data breaches, unfortunately, become more common. Interestingly, the needs of various verticals differed significantly in their desire for specific functionality. What is essential to the healthcare industry differs from education which differs from municipalities.
Adaptiv Networks’ cloud-connectivity is a gold medal-winning solution that offers secure, high-performance, and highly reliable networking for voice, data, and video communications. It provides for speed and reliability with multi-link aggregation. It offers zero-touch deployment, allows businesses to quickly add new sites or increase bandwidth, and solves connectivity challenges for remote workers. Adaptiv Networks provides guaranteed, always-on connectivity with multi-link failover, allowing employees to stay online and productive, and offers predictable costs to employers.
To see the entire Business Connectivity survey report, click here.