Software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) has enabled better connectivity at the branch with easy access to local internet and direct connection to cloud solutions from the branch location. Ideally – when SD-WAN is optimized – each remote location is equipped with local internet breakout and the necessary security to protect systems and data. In reality, enterprises are seeing a gap in security with SD-WAN.
SD-WAN answers the long sought-after goal of having local internet breakout, which was unrealistic in the traditional setup of routers and the engineering necessary to configure each branch location. Only enterprises with a huge distributed staff could handle such an undertaking. Now that cloud solutions are being prioritized, local internet breakout is practically mandatory, and enterprises are utilizing SD-WAN to reduce the complexity of achieving it. The problem is that it significantly broadens the security plane, and many SD-WAN solutions are not equipped to adequately address security.
SD-WAN – with all its improvements in optimizing traffic and boosting performance – also comes with some risk because it exposes the network to the unsecured public internet. Companies using SD-WAN are more likely to experience a breach unless they add supplemental security.
SD-WAN also supplies the enterprise with application awareness and automation features that are far more agile than traditional WAN routers. Its benefits should not be discounted nor should it be abandoned because of the additional risk that comes with deploying it. It offers a level of scalability and agility that keeps pace with cloud solutions and their performance demands.
For SD-WAN to be used securely, there are several requirements that enterprises should incorporate into their network upgrade in order to both capture the benefits and offset the risks:
- Every application that utilizes broadband internet must have policies that are administered at the application level.
- Performance requirements must be balanced by considerations of security risk.
- An integrated firewall should boost security efforts by preventing potential threats from reaching the network.
- Next-generation firewalls must automate service chaining.
Placing security enforcement at the branch location allows enterprises to achieve their goals related to application performance without compromising security.
Many enterprises find that the best way to balance the benefits of SD-WAN with high-level security for branch locations is to outsource their security requirements to a cloud-hosted managed service. A cloud-hosted security service incorporates the entire security solution in the cloud rather than the enterprise deploying a security appliance at each of their branches. Services include next generation firewalls, sandboxing, antivirus, and intrusion monitoring and prevention.
The change from a hub-and-spoke network model to a fully meshed network through SD-WAN provides a solution to the complexity of cloud enterprise IT environments. Managed security solutions allow enterprises to achieve the performance necessary for a cloud-first approach without risking a breach of their systems and data.Don’t go it alone on SD-WAN security. Contact us at AMD Communications for guidance in choosing the right SD-WAN solution as well as the accompanying security necessary to protect your enterprise’s assets.