Microsoft Recommends SD-WAN For Optimal Office 365 Performance

Microsoft urges the use of SD-WAN for improved network connectivity. Learn how to optimize your connections for better business productivity with cloud-based apps.

Efficiency is important for your business success. Driving efficiency is essential in all aspects of your operation.

That’s one of the drivers behind Microsoft’s recent recommendation that businesses use SD-WAN for their company networks when using the popular Office 365 software.

What Is SD-WAN?

Traditional wide-area networks (WANs) rely on company-owned data centers. Backhauling the data to a central hub slows down the flow of information and can disrupt productivity, especially when using cloud-based applications like Office 365.

WAN architecture relies on routers; the structure can impair the user experience, which is particularly at issue when many users are accessing Office 365 from remote locations.

SD-WAN (“software-defined”) uses virtual architecture, which is better able to meet the bandwidth demands necessary for branch and remote users.

“SD-WAN continues rapid movement as a mainstream technology,” notes a recent Gartner report on enterprise networking. “The main purpose of emerging SD-WAN products is to create a simpler and more cost-effective branch office WANs that map to modern application and cloud architectures. These products are significantly faster, easier to deploy and more manageable than traditional, router-based solutions.”

What Are the Benefits of SD-WAN Connectivity?

SD-WAN connectivity has several benefits for your business, including:

  • More Options. SD-WAN is an overlay connectivity option that uses 4G, LTE, MPLS or broadband internet capabilities
  • Management Simplicity. SD-WAN structures are software controlled, making it easier to add features and functions centrally. There’s less need for edge appliances or to source and buy MPLS providers across the world
  • Better Performance. SD-WANs allow for more consistent response times from applications. When delivered over a private network, an SD-WAN can avoid performance issues that are typical with SD-WANs that use Internet transport technology
  • Built for Cloud. SD-WAN solutions are built for cloud performance, providing direct access to cloud and software-as-a-service applications
  • Faster Expansion. Business changes quickly today. With SD-WAN, you can bring new locations online in days, not weeks or months
  • Security Built-In. With some SD-WAN solutions, end-to-end encryption is factored in, allowing for better security and, in many cases, compliance with regulatory mandates
  • Less Infrastructure. SD-WAN eliminates infrastructure costs, allowing you to save on the costs of space, storage and utilities. You’ll need less hardware to purchase and maintain, too

What Does Microsoft Recommend for Office 365 Connectivity?

Microsoft recently released its Office 365 Network Connectivity Principles, which are designed to improve performance and security for organizations using the popular business productivity suite. As a cloud-based product, Office 365 provides remote access to applications such as Outlook, Word, PowerPoint and Excel.

The problem, as Microsoft notes in the release, is in traditional network configuration, which gives users access to data and applications hosted in company data centers. “The traditional model assumes that users will access applications and data from inside the corporate network perimeter, over WAN links from branch offices, or remotely over VPN connections,” Microsoft notes.

Applications like Office 365 move some services and data outside of the internal network. Unless traffic is optimizing, latency comes to bear due to issues such as network hairpins, packet inspection and connections to endpoints that are geographically distant.

Microsoft recognizes that many organizations with complex network architectures may not be able to make all the requisite infrastructure changes at once. Incremental network optimization may include migration from traditional WAN routers to virtual appliances, a similar process to the virtualization of computer resources via virtual machines.

Where Can We Get Network Expertise for Our Business?

Elevate Services Group helps businesses with a unique, strategic approach to business IT. Our strategic approach begins with our proprietary DART (Discovery, Analysis, Roadmap and Timeline) onboarding process, leading to solutions that are designed to address your greatest business needs. From network configuration to cloud-based apps like Microsoft Office 365 to cybersecurity, Elevate helps transform your business productivity and outcomes. Contact us today to learn more.