Cloud transformation is fueling an expansion of the enterprise network, creating new challenges related to infrastructure complexity and application performance. Pushing cloud services out to branch offices or mobile devices can drag down network performance, particularly if you are attempting to route traffic in a traditional hub-and-spoke wide area network (WAN) design using multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) pathways. Enterprises are answering these challenges with software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN), but concerns about security complicate deployment.
SD-WAN’s Benefits: SD-WAN effectively addresses application performance and connectivity costs. It allows enterprises to augment or replace MPLS lines with broadband internet and other less-costly options to meet the needs of bandwidth-hungry cloud solutions. Automated traffic segmentation and routing means that based on the importance of the transmission, traffic can be prioritized to an MPLS line for mission critical items relying on real-time connectivity. In other words, video conferencing can be prioritized to a high-speed, low-latency line, while email can be directed to a pathway that doesn’t guarantee real-time connection but offers a less expensive route.
SD-WAN also offers zero-touch provisioning. When a new branch location is set up or when troubleshooting is required, network professionals are able to assist the branch location from headquarters, reducing costly travel expenses.
Agility and flexibility are two more key benefits of SD-WAN. Organizations are able to quickly implement changes to their digital strategies thanks to the ease with which SD-WAN adds new tools and solutions to the network.
The Security Conundrum: Many SD-WAN solutions fail to provide enterprises with one of the most important features impacting distributed networks: security. Most solutions require enterprises to build an additional security overlay onto the network. These same security solutions also introduce complexity, reducing the performance SD-WAN was designed to enhance.
Security Solutions: SD-WAN providers have now integrated SD-WAN with a next-generation firewall (NGFW) that allows all of the benefits of virtual-overlay networking without compromising security or causing additional headaches for network teams. Called security-driven networking, this solution unifies the orchestration and management of WANs and local area networks (LANs) with full security controls so that the entire network is one integrated solution.
In the past, security was always in a reactionary state, responding to network changes. When deployments were static, this wasn’t a problem. But as branches become increasingly dynamic, secure SD-WAN is able to respond to degrading connections and automatically make connections with security keeping pace. Otherwise, security must repeatedly catch up with changes, causing gaps in the network. Malicious actors not only know about these gaps but even work to cause them to occur.
The importance of integrated security with SD-WAN becomes clearer when considering how it could impact time-sensitive industries like health care or financial management. When latency on a line could mean the difference between life and death, or a gap in security could introduce an opportunity for a breach that compromises financial details, the stakes get even higher.Choosing the right SD-WAN solution means choosing one with integrated security. Contact us at AMD Communications for guidance in your next infrastructure upgrade.