When organizations began to fully embrace both the work-from-anywhere (WFA) user model and multi-cloud strategies, IT leadership quickly realized that traditional networks lack the flexibility needed to support modern digital transformation initiatives. \n\nLegacy network shortcomings led to the rapid growth of software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN). This next-generation technology enables a more agile network and provides high-performance access to cloud applications for users on-premises and off-premises. It eliminates the need for backhauling\u2014routing remote traffic through the data center before accessing the internet\u2014enabling direct access to critical cloud services. The benefits are many and include:\n\nCommon SD-WAN misconceptionsLike all technologies, SD-WAN has evolved since it was introduced several years ago. Though it has been around for some time, many in the industry have not embraced it and don\u2019t fully appreciate its capabilities because of some misconceptions. Below are four common myths about SD-WAN:\n\nThe future of SD-WANWith the rise of distributed applications and the continued increase in network traffic, SD-WAN will continue to grow in importance as a critical part of corporate network infrastructure. In fact, it\u2019s becoming foundational to the distributed, hybrid network because it gives IT teams the visibility to anticipate network issues, automate remediation, enforce consistent security policies, and centrally control access to applications and resources. \n\nIt is also a critical step on the journey to SD-Branch, software-defined secure networking for branch environments, and SASE. Because it plays such an important role in these technologies, SD-WAN needs to be fully autonomous to provide scalable and resilient architecture.\n\nAdditionally,\u00a0the role of AI and automation\u00a0will continue to grow, especially within Secure SD-WAN solutions that leverage these tools to detect, contain, and respond to emerging threats. Finally, ensuring optimal user experience should be top of mind for CIOs because if users run into challenges accessing resources they need to work, they may find workarounds that will expose the network to threats.\u00a0\n\nEmbrace SD-WAN for more nimble infrastructureSD-WAN is an excellent network security solution that has not been fully embraced by all because of some lingering misconceptions. It\u2019s past time for IT leadership to bust the myths and move forward. The future demands that organizations have more agile and secure networks and provide their WFA users with seamless access to data and applications on the cloud.\n\nFortinet\u2019s Secure SD-WAN solution provides Secure SD-WAN on-premises and in the cloud while offering FortiGuard AI-Powered Security Services to protect sensitive traffic.