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Iron Bow’s UCM (formerly HCS-G), powered by Cisco, is a FedRAMP Authorized cloud-based collaboration service built to help you improve communication capabilities, empower your mobile workforce, meet cloud-first mandates and maintain stringent security standards. Check out this video and see how we can help your agency overcome key IT and business challenges.

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Welcome to Iron Bow's TechSource, a blog about the issues facing the government and industry today and the technologies being adopted to help overcome them.

Success of Software Defined Networks is Pushing SD-WAN Adoption

Greg Stemberger, Technical Director, Networking, Iron Bow Technologies

September 3, 2019  |  Networking  •  Software-defined Networking


Following the success of software-defined networks (SDN), many federal agencies want to replicate the same kind of simplification in other areas, including the wide area networks (WAN) that connect sites distributed across the country.

That desire makes sense. With only about 1-in-6 of the 1.87 million civilian full-time federal employees living in the D.C. metro area, the networks that connect these geographically disparate offices are vital to how the federal government works.

In many cases, a traditional WAN is insufficient and can cause a host of problems. In fact, according to Cisco, about 70 percent of app outages are due to network problems.

Increasingly complex data packages can severely slow down networks and important security updates can be difficult to distribute across a wide area network. Beyond that, network traffic for government agencies, especially those carrying heavy data loads, can be unpredictable.

People rely on the government to sustain their everyday lives, so the network connection is even more important than most might think. Downtime for federal agencies could mean anything from late social security checks to information not getting to a warfighter in a critical situation. This is why it is vital that flexible and resilient SD-WAN networks be deployed.

Making the WAN more efficient and secure through a software-defined system would go a long way toward making it easier to share critical data, enable cross-agency teamwork and deliver citizen services. To better understand these benefits—and how SD-WAN integrates into agency systems—we’ve outlined some of the most frequently asked questions about the technology.

How can SD-WAN enhance security?

Network security is a foundational premise of SD-WAN, as the technology employs encryption, localized security services and advanced segmentation services. More than that, all of those functions are managed through centralized interfaces very similar to how agencies already oversee SDN. This means agency IT teams have complete visibility and control over the security of their networks.

How difficult is it to expand and contract SD-WAN services?

Scaling SD-WAN is quick and seamless. Once you set policies for the network, those rules can easily be transferred and enforced at any new branches or locations. Also, any new apps or services can be applied across the entire network (including new locations) through SD-WAN’s software layer. This greatly simplifies the job of building out new networks and decreases the potential for human error.

How does SD-WAN operate in a hybrid cloud environment?

For those agencies planning to expand into a hybrid or multi-cloud model, SD-WAN should be a key consideration moving forward. SD-WAN will likely become the intelligent fabric that creates a secure and efficient means of connecting various public/private and traditional data centers into one common set of services that is completely transparent to the end-user but optimized for delivering application services in a diverse and evolving cloud-centric network environment.

Adoption of SD-WAN has been growing steadily in the private sector. Now federal agencies should take advantage of the technology’s stability and resiliency. Government should be using tech that best supports its missions and serves the public. SD-WAN is the next step in that evolution.

For more information on how to use SD-WAN to make your agency more efficient, check out the Iron Bow website.


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