Frontier Forecasts Change Ahead

January 31, 2020

By Maurice Nagle, Web Editor

With digital transformation front of mind for firms near and far, those offering SD-WAN are experiencing a robust rise in revenue – especially those offering managed SD-WAN services. As it is cloud or bust around the globe, those capable of delivering exceptional performance coupled with the security and flexibility demanded by organizations large and small will ride this wave of change toward a booming bottom line.

2020 is kicking with a bang, and amidst the flurry of activity falls the must attend SD-WAN event of the year, SD-WAN Expo. Joining the speaking faculty lineup is Frontier Communications Senior Director Product Management Scott Irwin. Irwin will be presenting, “MSP Key Trends for 2020” where he will offer attendees insight into how MSPs can provide and keep the edge secure and connected with cutting edge tech.

In advance of the event, Irwin and I had the chance to talk shop where we explore SASE, the future of the SD-WAN space, MEF and more.

Maurice Nagle: Please tell us a bit about the latest news at your company.

Scott Irwin:   Over the past year, Frontier Business Solution offerings have grown.  Frontier Communication continues to provide customers with integrated solutions with an all-in Managed and Converged Network Solution strategy, that not only include SD-WAN as a product but a solution.  The solution offers include; Managed WiFi (News - Alert), Managed Security, Managed Cloud IT for Disaster Recovery and Managed UCaaS  as OOT services,  not to mention underlying connectivity.   We know every customer faces a unique set of challenges so our enterprise customer solutions provide customer choice with options that are customizable to meet their specific needs and priorities.  Designed to work together  whether it is to improve productivity, streamline efficiencies, increase speed to market or exploit new opportunities, Frontier Business has the network, expertise and systems in place to design the right solution to meet the challenges of today’s enterprise. 

Managed SD-WAN launched November 1, 2019 and was built with the enterprise customer in mind, Combined with SD-WAN Managed Private Network, Frontier Managed SD-WAN is a powerful solution that simplifies network management operations, delivers enhanced service-levels (SLA) and offers a compelling alternative for enterprise customers looking to transition from traditional network strategies and position their business for the challenges and opportunities of the future.

MN: What pains are you taking away for customers?

SI: Based on direct feedback from our enterprise customers the top WAN challenges and pain points include cost, reliability, security and vendor management the latter three combined indicate the increased complexity involved with making today’s enterprise WAN work.  At Frontier we are committed to having addressed these key customer pain points and more with the features and functionality delivered in our Managed SD-WAN solution Launched November 1, 2019 and built with the enterprise in mind.   We understand that enterprise customers do not want to compromise security and the management of sensitive data across their network so as part of the Managed SD-WAN offering Frontier introduced the Managed SD-WAN Private Network, a compelling alternative for enterprise customers looking to transition from complex, costly and static MPLS networks.

MN: Is SASE changing the way you and/or your customers operate?  How?

SI: Yes, given the fact that enterprise customers continue to move more applications to the cloud, security in the cloud is essential to managing their business.  The secure access service edge is an emerging offering combining comprehensive WAN capabilities with comprehensive network security functions (such as SWG, CASB, FWaaS and ZTNA) to support the dynamic secure access needs of digital enterprises.  At Frontier we are looking to be SASE enabled by the end of the year for both SaaS (News - Alert)/SWG for SaaS applications as well as, FWaaS, providing centralized security in the Cloud/Edge/SASE regionally.

MN: What is the greatest opportunity for SD-WAN vendors today? 

SI: SD-WAN vendors have a great opportunity to become part of the enterprise network overall framework and network management strategy.  The technology positions itself for providing WAN management benefits today while enabling the flexibility and agility to grow and integrate with future capabilities in areas of transport technologies, cloud and security advancement as well as the incorporation of network services into business operations management.  The visibility and reporting capabilities allow the enterprise to make business operations decisions driven by fact based data at a level of granularity which can impact results.

MN: What is the greatest challenge for SD-WAN vendors today?

SI: The number of players in the market and the differentiation between them.  The SD-WAN technology vendors are part of a crowded playing field each providing a long list of features and functionality also met by the others.  We at Frontier believe a key differentiation is the delivery capability as a Managed Service Provider, offering the ability for flexible models inclusive of access, security and level of business management and control desired by the customer.  The solution which is customized based on a clear understanding of the customer business needs and their plans and strategies for the future. 

MN: In 2019, MEF (News - Alert) unveiled MEF3.0, how is this impacting your business today, and what does this mean for the future?

SI: Frontier will be among the early adopters as our technical teams have been working towards scheduling to achieve across the board certification within the first half of 2020, as we have for MEF 2.0.   Standards are important and allow us to more seamlessly integrate with other Service Providers using the LSO SONATA framework, they position us for growth across our lines of business especially our converged enterprise solutions. Standards increase consistency across the industry with new IP Services, SD-WAN, and Optical Transport standardizations.  It is notable that our SD-WAN technology vendor was named first to be certified MEF3.0 and that is important for enabling integration and future feature development driven by customer needs.

MN: What’s your biggest SD-WAN takeaway from 2019?

SI: The adoption of cloud based applications and security strategies continue to increase,  becoming a critical part of the enterprise networking framework,  the incorporation of SD-WAN solutions are becoming more widely accepted as the logical enhancement to network infrastructure,  delivering the needed visibility and simplification of network operations process.   Business leaders within IT as well as outside of IT organizations are seeing the value in bandwidth utilization visibility and QOS data across the network at the application level and what that means for the growth of their business.

MN: What’s your most off-the-wall tech prediction for 2020?

SI: The Major SD-WAN providers will provide UTM and NGFW’s as a Service which will force larger security providers who are currently dabbling with SD-WAN to focus more on the market introducing another set of SD-WAN vendors to compete.

MN: What do you hope to achieve at the event? Why should people come to SD-WAN Expo, ITEXPO and its other collocated #TechSuperShow events to meet with your company?

SI: Frontier Communication is looking forward to meeting with enterprise executives, vendors, and SD-WAN expo attendees to share our vision as a Managed Service Provider delivering our Managed SD-WAN solution to the enterprise market.  We believe the network is the most critical element in any organization’s digital transformation, and we have listened to our enterprise customers, understanding the challenges they face transforming networks to meet today’s needs and positioning them for growth and agility in the future.   

MN: Why should your session be on the list of must-attend sessions at this year’s conference?

SI: Being a Managed Service Provider, Frontier is in a unique position to share our perspective on the key elements to keeping the edge secure and connected offering cutting edge technologies based on customer needs.  We are looking forward to an interactive session focused on key trends at the edge.

Frontier joins myriad market leadership participating in SD-WAN Expo. With less than two weeks before the event, there’s little time to dawdle with registering for the industry’s preeminent event. See you in sunny South Florida!

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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