Concerns about cybersecurity driving SD-WAN market, report says

Medium-to-large companies are helping to drive ongoing investment in SD-WANs, driven in large part by concerns about the ceaseless onslaught of cyberattacks.

According to a survey of North American companies recently conducted by IHS Markit, nearly three-quarters (74%) of respondents conducted SD-WAN lab trials in the last year, with the expectation of this year moving into production trials and then to live production. The amount they’re spending on WANs in general averages $300,000 each.

That nearly three-quarters of North American companies are looking to deploy WANs underlines not only the extent to which businesses are becoming increasingly connected, but how that connectivity naturally exposes them to security risks.

In its report, WAN Strategies North American enterprise survey, IHS Markit listed a set of drivers, including traffic growth (over 20% a year), company expansion, adoption of the IoT, the need for greater control over the WAN, and the need to put WAN costs on a sustainable path, which leads to the adoption of software-defined SD-WANs in particular. More and more are relying on cloud services.

But security tops the list of motivators, and by a wide margin.

Understandably so. By one account, the number of reported major cyberattacks recently doubled in just one year, from 80,000 in 2016 to nearly 160,000 in 2017. According to CenturyLink, as of 2017 network operators have been seeing hundreds of thousands of botnet threats each day.

“As companies shift a greater portion of their IT infrastructure into the cloud, and expand their physical presence to go after new markets or be closer to customers and partners, the need for reliable, secure and high-performance WAN and internet connectivity has never been greater,” said Matthias Machowinski, senior research director for enterprise networks at IHS Markit.

“However,” he continued, “companies don’t have unlimited budgets to fund growing WAN bandwidth consumption, which is why a majority are planning to deploy software-defined WAN in the next three years, to better control how their WANs are used.”