Even though events of the past 14 months have contributed to the growing adoption of SD-WAN solutions, the major organisational drivers have been cost savings and an increasing reliance on cloud-based solutions.
By Mike Kuczmierczyk, senior product manager: SD-WAN at Vox
In truth, SD-WAN has evolved from being considered a buzzword into a business necessity.
The benefits of leveraging hyperscalers to provide users with direct access to cloud platforms cannot be overstated. No longer needing to be rerouted to the head office using traditional MPLS technology, distributed workers can now access company data and solutions via consumer broadband links using SD-WAN as an enabler.
This gives them all the functionality they would typically have in an office environment from their remote locations. In fact, one of the biggest advantages of an SD-WAN is the ability to use multiple broadband links to provide reliable, high-quality access to business systems.
Not all organisations are aware that when deploying SD-WAN, they need to consider additional security requirements. After all, exposing the corporate network to the internet brings with it risks that include hacking, viruses, ransomware, and other compromises that cannot be ignored.
But when it comes to SD-WAN and security implementations, these are often on separate platforms using different sets of hardware. They also require different professionals from administrators to technicians to maintain and look after these platforms.
It is therefore beneficial, an organisation looks at an SD-WAN solution that integrates the required connectivity, security, and management features behind a single pane of glass. This ensures that an administrator can log in to a management console and get a real-time view of both the SD-WAN and security configurations on the network.
Such a centralised controller significantly eases the management and maintenance of the network. For instance, policy management can be distributed globally as opposed to having a technician logging into every device individually, adding to the potential for human error. An ideal SD-WAN solution should, therefore, provide unified threat protection, keep systems updated, and use artificial intelligence (AI) to identify, isolate, and notify when potential security risks occur.
Given the global shortage of security experts, having this as an automated function not only reduces the human resource cost, but greatly speeds up the process, leaving administrators free to focus on more strategic tasks.
This also reflects a big corporate driver on centralising security management. With the threat landscape continuously shifting as new cyberattacks and hacker groups emerge, companies are only too aware of the potential for compromise. The network environment has become extremely complex and difficult to maintain given the increase in remote staff and sites.
Something as straightforward as updating and maintaining security becomes near impossible to do effectively without putting significant human resources into the process. This is where an integrated SD-WAN secure solution can use AI to identify existing threats and isolate potential ones that might not yet be known.
In today’s connected world, everyone accessing the network must comply with security requirements. A centralised SD-WAN Secure solution can address this need. And when combined with AI capabilities, the flexibility and scalability of the environment from connectivity to security are effectively taken care of.