SD-WAN in Hong Kong: supporting and scaling your business securely post-COVID-19

In 2019, Gartner described SD-WAN as the network that would help enterprises transform their networks “from fragile to agile.” It is a description that has stuck, and companies in Hong Kong are fast realizing the benefits that SD-WAN can bring to their business, particularly in supporting cloud-based workloads. In a world of uncertainty and disruption, SD-WAN is also playing a starring role in driving resilience.

Software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) technology has been growing steadily across Asia Pacific (APAC), in part thanks to the adoption of cloud computing in the region. SD-WAN also allows enterprises to reduce reliance on multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) connectivity links. In the future, 5G services could also drive take-up of SD-WAN in APAC to provide a backup link that improves network resiliency.

This is one of the key traits of SD-WAN that makes it such an exciting development in networks: it gives you greater flexibility and agility while also enabling you to scale securely, all while enjoying significantly reduced costs.

Because SD-WAN gives you dynamic traffic routing over different transport networks, including MPLS, broadband, or 4G and 5G, it gives large enterprises greater choice and control. It makes it simpler to manage new links to branch offices, and more offices can be brought online quickly. You can scale workloads up or down, and you can do it all securely.

A growth area

SD-WAN is enjoying rapid growth in Hong Kong. Research has found that Hong Kong companies see SD-WAN as the answer to relieving cybersecurity fears around public cloud, for example. The same research found that 74% of Hong Kong companies have already deployed SD-WAN or plan to by the end of 2021, above both Singapore (68%) and Australia (65%) in APAC.

Hong Kong companies have reported that their main priorities when deploying SD-WAN are overall connectivity (60%), increased network flexibility and agility (48%) and reduced costs (48%). Orange customers around the world have deployed SD-WAN technology and have used it as a foundation to drive centralized management, simplification and automation, reduced network maintenance costs and increased security. Furthermore, SD-WAN also helps pave the way towards a secure access service edge (SASE) architecture, which is something I believe will become increasingly important as we move past the pandemic. Orange customer Mars is another multinational corporation (MNC) that has leveraged Orange SD-WAN expertise to streamline infrastructure management, improve control and flexibility in its network and lower operating costs. SD-WAN can bring the same benefits to Hong Kong companies.

SD-WAN can power work post-COVID-19

So many things have changed in the time we have been living with COVID-19, and many of them are likely to remain. Hong Kong is already embracing the hybrid working model that provides a safer and flexible approach for workers and employers by blending working from home and in the office. Research by the Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) found that 81% of companies in Hong Kong think hybrid working is a viable way forward, while 62% of them have plans to implement it permanently.

With more employees working remotely, companies will need enhanced connectivity and accessibility to enable them. Your teams need to be able to communicate and collaborate with colleagues on demand, and they need instant access to the tools, documents and media required to be productive and do their jobs. You need to give them a remote working experience that is comparable to the experience they get in the office.

SD-WAN presents a strong case: it offers multiple, dedicated, high-speed links, superior performance and resiliency and supports business continuity for employees who are working remotely. In Hong Kong, many people who work from home rely on a single residential broadband link in their houses or apartments. It presents the possibility for companies to provide broadband links to employee residences and then use SD-WAN to optimize the link through continuous monitoring and congestion mitigation. SD-WAN can enable remote workers with direct, optimized connectivity to the cloud and lets you prioritize business-critical applications over other applications as well – so any employee using work collaboration tools will get priority over the family household’s Netflix streaming!

The right network for driving your business forward

Even before COVID-19 hit, SD-WAN was gathering momentum in Asia Pacific. Throughout our region, there continues to be compelling reasons to evolve your network. Smartphone penetration continues to increase, 5G enterprise solutions are being deployed, and we have smart city initiatives underway. Furthermore, we are a hub of global supply-chain infrastructure, and now we have this shift to longer-term remote working. A secure, cost-effective network to support all of this is essential, and SD-WAN can deliver. According to Gartner, by the end of 2023, 60% of enterprises will have implemented SD-WAN – a huge increase on less than 20% in 2019.

Orange was proud to be recognized again as a leader in Gartner’s Global Network Services 2021 Magic Quadrant. We enable our customers with our Flexible SD-WAN offering that supports them with their initiatives in cloud, Internet, bandwidth and routing optimization. With remote working, cloud and security all at the top of enterprise priorities in Hong Kong, SD-WAN is the right network for driving your business forward.

To learn more about how Orange enables more agile and cost-effective connectivity to drive digital transformation, read about Flexible SD-WAN.

 

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Edmund Yick
Edmund Yick

Edmund Yick is General Manager of Orange Business Services in Hong Kong and Taiwan. He is responsible for developing and managing the Orange Business Services portfolio of business solutions for multinational enterprises.

He has over 30 years of sales and management experience and is a Commerce and Business Administration graduate of the University of Toronto.