Ease IoT Complexity at the Branch with SD-WAN
February 08, 2018

Shamus McGillicuddy
EMA

Share this

Software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) solutions will play an important role in enabling enterprise Internet of Things (IoT) initiatives. Most enterprises are experiencing growth in the number of endpoints connecting to the network in branch offices and remote sites. According to recent Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) research, 59% of enterprises say that IoT devices are a significant source of that growth, contributing more than smartphones and tablets.

IoT devices in remote sites will present challenges around bandwidth, security, policy management, and more. These challenges will be exacerbated by the fact that most remote sites lack onsite IT personnel who can ensure that IoT devices are safely connected to the network. SD-WAN solutions have the potential to address many of these challenges.

SD-WAN Addresses IoT Bandwidth Demands, QoS Complexity

Nearly half (47%) of network professionals involved in an IoT initiative are delivering IoT connectivity via their existing WAN services, according to EMA research. Additionally, 77% of network teams expect their IoT ecosystems to add “significant” or “very significant” traffic to the network by next year. And many IoT applications receive a high priority on the network.

Our research has found that 27% of network pros assign IoT traffic a high quality of service (QoS) setting, and only 12% dump IoT traffic into a best-effort QoS tier. Thus, IoT devices not only demand bandwidth. They may bump other applications out of the way. Enterprises are going to need more bandwidth and more sophisticated QoS technology.

Fortunately, SD-WAN solutions deliver added bandwidth and granular, easy-to-use QoS controls. SD-WAN solutions are highly programmable via a graphical user interface, allowing engineers to assign and adjust QoS settings for applications on a global basis. SD-WAN solutions also enable hybrid connectivity, allowing enterprises to supplement MPLS connectivity with cheaper broadband links. This drives down the cost per bit at remote sites without sacrificing network service reliability.

SD-WAN Will Help Secure IoT at the Branch

The very same programmatic controls that facilitate QoS management in SD-WAN technology will also help enterprises segment the network and secure IoT connectivity. From a central location, network engineers can use a SD-WAN’s graphical user interface to create global VLANs dedicated to IoT, ensuring that thermostats and factory robots are never able to ping a financial records database, for instance. This is critical because IoT presents myriad security problems for the network team.

IoT devices often lack the power and computing resources necessary to support channel-based security techniques like TLS. These same constraints also make it difficult for network managers to discover IoT devices with traditional network management tools, which challenges their ability to find rogue devices. Strict LAN segmentation that maps onto SD-WAN segments ensures that isolation is maintained throughout the network.

SD-WAN solutions also typically offer native or third-party integrated security services, like firewall and malware detection. These security services can be deployed in a distributed architecture, allowing granular security controls at every branch. As EMA research has shown that nearly half of network teams (47%) have determined that their existing network security infrastructure cannot cope with the scale of their IoT ecosystems, these security controls will prove especially valuable to enterprises. The distributed security model of an SD-WAN solution will ease this scaling issue.

If you are supporting IoT on your WAN, ask your SD-WAN vendor if they can help.

Shamus McGillicuddy is Research Director for the Network Management Practice at Enterprise Management Associates (EMA)
Share this

The Latest

October 21, 2021

Scaling DevOps and SRE practices is critical to accelerating the release of high-quality digital services. However, siloed teams, manual approaches, and increasingly complex tooling slow innovation and make teams more reactive than proactive, impeding their ability to drive value for the business, according to a new report from Dynatrace, Deep Cloud Observability and Advanced AIOps are Key to Scaling DevOps Practices ...

October 20, 2021

Over three quarters (79%) of database professionals are now using either a paid-for or in-house monitoring tool, according to a new survey from Redgate Software ...

October 19, 2021

Gartner announced the top strategic technology trends that organizations need to explore in 2022. With CEOs and Boards striving to find growth through direct digital connections with customers, CIOs' priorities must reflect the same business imperatives, which run through each of Gartner's top strategic tech trends for 2022 ...

October 18, 2021

Distributed tracing has been growing in popularity as a primary tool for investigating performance issues in microservices systems. Our recent DevOps Pulse survey shows a 38% increase year-over-year in organizations' tracing use. Furthermore, 64% of those respondents who are not yet using tracing indicated plans to adopt it in the next two years ...

October 14, 2021

Businesses are embracing artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to improve network performance and security, according to a new State of AIOps Study, conducted by ZK Research and Masergy ...

October 13, 2021

What may have appeared to be a stopgap solution in the spring of 2020 is now clearly our new workplace reality: It's impossible to walk back so many of the developments in workflow we've seen since then. The question is no longer when we'll all get back to the office, but how the companies that are lagging in their technological ability to facilitate remote work can catch up ...

October 12, 2021

The pandemic accelerated organizations' journey to the cloud to enable agile, on-demand, flexible access to resources, helping them align with a digital business's dynamic needs. We heard from many of our customers at the start of lockdown last year, saying they had to shift to a remote work environment, seemingly overnight, and this effort was heavily cloud-reliant. However, blindly forging ahead can backfire ...

October 07, 2021

SmartBear recently released the results of its 2021 State of Software Quality | Testing survey. I doubt you'll be surprised to hear that a "lack of time" was reported as the number one challenge to doing more testing, especially as release frequencies continue to increase. However, it was disheartening to see that a lack of time was also the number one response when we asked people to identify the biggest blocker to professional development ...

October 06, 2021

The role of the CIO is evolving with an increased focus on unlocking customer connections through service innovation, according to the 2021 Global CIO Survey. The study reveals the shift in the role of the CIO with the majority of CIO respondents stating innovation, operational efficiency, and customer experience as their top priorities ...

October 05, 2021

The perception of IT support has dramatically improved thanks to the successful response of service desks to the pandemic, lockdowns and working from home, according to new research from the Service Desk Institute (SDI), sponsored by Sunrise Software ...