Cato: Confidence in SD-WAN Shaken by Digital Transformation

Cato Networks has released the findings of its fourth annual State of the WAN report, “Network Transformation in 2020: Understanding Digital Transformation’s Impact on Enterprise Confidence in their Networks.”

The survey found that enterprises who deployed SD-WANs were less confident in their networks after undergoing digital transformation.

As Cato explained, the results highlight the importance of considering not only SD-WAN as an MPLS replacement but, more importantly, its applicability to the broader needs of the digital business, such as cloud migration, network agility, global reach, and a mobile workforce.

According to Cato, failure to consider the broader implications of digital transformation during SD-WAN selection undermines network confidence. Nearly three quarters (74 percent) of SD-WAN respondents expressed having significantly less confidence in their networks post digital transformation. Cloud connectivity was a major factor with 69 percent of SD-WAN owners indicating less confidence post-digital transformation. And only 37 percent of SD-WAN respondents claimed to be able to protect locations from threats post deployment, even though most respondents (66 percent) prioritized defending against malware/ransomware.

Most enterprises, Cato said, move to SD-WAN primarily because of site-related issues but digital transformation involves more than connecting sites. Fifty-six percent of respondents consider SD-WAN to reduce WAN costs. Network agility as it applies to sites—whether in the form of faster site deployment or increasing bandwidth–is also popular.

The report also drilled into SD-WAN’s total impact on security.

Although most respondents (66 percent) cited defending against malware/ransomware as a primary security challenge for 2020, only 37 percent claimed their SD-WANs help protect locations from malware and other threats.

Cloud applications, Cato explained, are key to the enterprise but not native to SD-WAN. Most respondents (60 percent) said that cloud applications will be the most critical to their organizations over the next 12 months, even more critical than applications hosted in their private datacenters. Yet SD-WAN solutions require additional software and integration to support the cloud.

Overall, Cato concluded, the outlook for SD-WAN remains bright. Sixty-six percent of respondents said they will have some kind of SD-WAN deployed by the end of 2020 while 40 percent of MPLS respondents will have converted to SD-WAN.

Access Cato’s full report.