Feb 26 2024

Why SD-WAN Is an Essential Solution for Modern Retailers

As retailers continue to add more tech to store environments, software-defined WAN has become an essential must-have.

The modern retail store can seem almost supernatural, fully loaded with networked surveillance cameras, point-of-sale systems, edge computing devices and more. In this glittering retail world, the magic is technology, and it’s driven by software-defined WAN.

Robust SD-WAN can transmit signals to business locations and employees on mobile devices. It’s a prerequisite for reliable connectivity. That’s why over half of retailers have deployed SD-WAN solutions at their stores, according to a Frost & Sullivan survey. Here are four reasons SD-WAN is an essential solution for the modern retail store.

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 1. SD-WAN Offers Easy, Reliable Network Management

SD-WAN offers a centralized hub for all data and network resources that retailers operate daily. Modern SD-WAN interfaces, such as Cisco’s vManage dashboard, make it easy to monitor performance and troubleshoot issues with just a few clicks. This makes network management simpler and more efficient on all fronts. This centralized access point also simplifies operations and reduces maintenance time for retailers.

FIND OUT: Learn how to prepare for the future of retail with advanced technology.

 2. SD-WAN Significantly Improves Network Performance

By managing traffic centrally, SD-WAN can prevent network congestion. By routing data over the most efficient path, retailers can use SD-WAN to scale bandwidth up or down on short notice and even distribute bandwidth to meet flash conditions or support new applications.

SD-WAN also helps prevent network delays and crashes. This results in improved application performance and reduced latency, ensuring a seamless and responsive experience for both customers and employees.

Retail IT modernization TOC

3. SD-WAN Strengthens Network Security

Another benefit that SD-WAN offers is enhanced network security. According to Fortinet, SD-WAN’s monitoring and analytical capabilities offer businesses “granular visibility into network traffic,” a step that helps IT leaders accelerate their zero-trust initiatives.

Other SD-WAN solutions, such as those from Check Point, come with built-in holistic security measures. And even when they don’t, SD-WAN’s “architectural flexibility means that SD-WAN can be integrated seamlessly with a range of security functions,” according to Palo Alto Networks.

This feature of SD-WAN is key because it provides retailers with a protective layer in their network. Retailers need this safeguard as more Internet of Things devices expand the network edge and attack surface. SD-WAN and secure access service edge complement each other well, and businesses that combine the two can benefit from SD-WAN’s efficient traffic routing capabilities and SASE's robust security features.

The result is a comprehensive networking solution with reduced vulnerabilities. Whether it’s used alone or as part of a combined security framework, SD-WAN can help bolster a network’s resilience.

Pete Schepers headshot
Connecting a cloud with SD-WAN helps an organization adapt quickly to changes in its hybrid cloud infrastructure.”

Pete Schepers Principal Solution Architect, CDW

4. SD-WAN Enables Hybrid Cloud Success

Part of the reason SD-WAN can integrate with security functions so well is because of how well it integrates with the hybrid cloud. This feature is particularly advantageous as retailers increasingly adopt cloud-based applications and services, often in support of elevating omnichannel commerce. After all, hybrid cloud and multicloud services are the top priority for retail companies this year, according to the Frost & Sullivan survey.

SD-WAN gives administrators greater control over bandwidth, traffic flows and data interactions. This technology also allows IT teams to automate key processes, enabling greater speed and flexibility while enhancing performance.

UP NEXT: One auto dealership achieved great connectivity with software-defined WAN.

“Connecting a cloud with SD-WAN helps an organization adapt quickly to changes in its hybrid cloud infrastructure,” Pete Schepers, a principal solution architect with CDW, told BizTech. “As workloads move, you can quickly gain insight into what’s going on in your environment, understand what’s moving and adapt your policy.”

SD-WAN also lets IT teams see traffic between the retailer’s network and the cloud at a granular level. This means more data on latency and specific transports so that workflows can be adjusted for better efficiency.

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