Networks are a precious resource. Weak network performance and security can be the thorn in a lion’s paw. It’s imperative in today’s business world that organizations do everything in their power to improve in this department. Employing SD-WAN is one of the smartest ways enterprises can do this. 

Here are some of the things to look for when evaluating an SD-WAN provider. 

What Does It Cost?
For any business, it’s essential to look at costs when evaluating a product, vendor, or service. Evaluating an SD-WAN provider is no different. Cost is likely to vary quite a bit between providers, based on their hardware and other services. 

It’s important to note every enterprise will have different needs when it comes to network solutions. In fact, every SD-WAN setup will need to be designed specifically for an individual organization. No two are going to be the exact same. Due to this, there will be inherent costs involved in setting up SD-WAN for your business. 

Simply said, price disparities usually reflect what you’re going to get for your money. The nature o the hardware, software, and the quality of support are major factors in determining cost. Higher-end providers are going to have more expensive products and services. This, however, shouldn’t be an automatic deterrent. You’ll get what you pay for. Oftentimes, especially at the enterprise level, and particularly when network security is involved, it makes sense to pay up for better services. 

When it comes to cost, it’s also worth thinking about how much money your organization will save over time. In some ways, this can be difficult to estimate, as it’s tough to put a price on the value of a well-run and secure enterprise network. These are some areas where companies can cut costs by implementing SD-WAN:

- Not having to pay for MPLS
- Better protected against network threats

Is It Easy-to-Use and Scalable? 
The next thing to consider when evaluating an SD-WAN provider is the usability factor. There are a few things worth thinking about in this realm. First, you want an SD-WAN solution that’s user friendly for the people using it every day. It’s a good idea to have high-ranking members of the IT department go along with executives when making decisions about SD-WAN deployment. While they might not have the final say, it makes sense to get as much input as possible from those who will be engaging with the system regularly. 

Another way to think about usability is in terms of on-boarding and scalability. How much effort does it take to get the SD-WAN up and running? And once it is, how difficult is it to scale up or down when needed? Getting these answers from an SD-WAN provider before signing up for services will make it more likely your organization ends up with the right product. 

What Tools Does It Afford Users?
Another thing to consider before deciding on an SD-WAN provider is functionality. Some organizations might be looking for the most bare-bones product available on the market. But most enterprises are probably going to be looking for something a bit more fleshed out. 

These are some of the things worth looking for in SD-WAN:

- Ability to control and prioritize network flow. The more ways this can be done, the more power afforded to users. 
- Security protocols that allow those with permissions to have control over the network’s safety.
- Ability to combine SD-WAN with existing WAN infrastructure. 
- Tools that help users visualize what’s happening on the network. 

The enterprise world is changing all the time. Technology is one of the biggest drivers in this continual evolution. Businesses should carefully consider various SD-WAN providers before making a choice.