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Overall, the results showed that EMEA enterprises are increasingly investing in software-defined wide area networks (SD-WAN), a technology that helps users quickly and safely access the cloud. However, the picture was not perfect; the study also revealed a general lack of education and skills related to cloud networking, which hindered the implementation of SD-WAN by EMEA.
Safety is gaining top marks
Barracuda asked respondents to identify their top priorities, and the reduction in the risk of cyber attacks for organizations came in first place by 52%. This is not surprising, given the fiscal and reputational damage that follows data leakage, not to mention the media storm that surrounds it.
The decision to make security the number one priority considered options such as projects using artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), automation and the Internet of things (IoT) as a lower priority, which shows that companies understand the need to consolidate their security strategies before embarking on more innovative projects.
However, although security was noted as one to watch, it was also named the biggest problem when using cloud applications: slightly less than half (47%) reported it as the number one problem. The biggest problem for the wide area network (WAN) was cloud performance, with four out of ten (42%) voting for it as the main problem.
Turning to SD-WAN
EMEA organizations leverage SD-WAN to address these security challenges in the cloud and global network. Our results show that one in four (26%) has a deployed SD-WAN, and another 64% either deploy or consider deploying in the future, and only 7% do not plan for SD-WAN at all.
So who is driving this push? In the rest of the world, IT network teams run these projects (29%). In the regions, however, EMEA IT C-Suite are the key drivers that account for 28% of EMEA SD-WAN deployments. Perhaps for some, it is a surprise that these solutions appear to come from business leaders, as company leaders promote 8% of SD-WAN deployments. This commitment, demonstrated by business leaders, shows that SD-WAN is designed not only for the IT team, but for the entire business strategy.
This may be due to the fact that the benefits of deploying SD-WAN affect a business financially. According to respondents, they can save an average of $ 1,312,311 (USD) in MPLS and network costs in just one year by deploying SD-WAN. Moreover, a hefty 98% of enterprises have already seen the benefits of their project and consider improving network security (46%) a major achievement.
Deployment Despite Education
Although these numbers are promising, the study also found that the EMEA region is suffering from a lack of education in SD-WAN. Less than a third (32.7%) say they fully understand the technology, behind the US (57%) and APAC (41%).
According to more than a third of respondents (34%), the main reason for this lack of education is the lack of internal skills, while the lack of experience needed to deploy SD-WAN was identified as the main problem after its deployment. Those who had not yet participated in the SD-WAN project also believed that lack of internal skills was their biggest obstacle (30%), while a quarter felt that they did not know enough about SD-WAN to even consider it.
The lack of education made many simply consider SD-WAN a buzzword that would have little effect on network connectivity (53%). Perhaps more worrisome is the fact that although security has been cited as a top priority, 50% consider the myth that their SD-WAN solution contains everything needed to ensure the security of their network. This view cannot be further from the truth; in fact, most SD-WAN solutions require additional security solutions. Those who implement SD-WAN and want to increase security should keep this in mind.