Digital enterprises need secure, reliable access to applications and data from anywhere. That requires a hybrid multi-cloud environment, with apps hosted in public clouds alongside private data centers. Effective management of networking performance and security in this environment demands expertise that can be difficult to find or keep on staff. That’s why telco- or non-telco SD-WAN solutions can be so helpful.
Unlike traditional networking hardware, SD-WAN is designed with security in mind. It features innate segmentation capabilities, helping to block malware from entering more sensitive areas of your network. In addition, the basics of SD-WAN help to establish micro-segmentation and incorporate zero-trust principles. In addition, SD-WAN enables you to deploy direct Internet access (DIA) into branch offices, reducing the need for backhaul and minimizing latency.
It can also simplify your deployments with automated zero-touch provisioning. Plug in an appliance, which will call home to get its initial settings. This can save time and hassle for remote locations where IT staff is minimal or absent.
Another benefit of SD-WAN is its ability to detect and respond to problems with a single dashboard. This provides predictive analytics, enabling IT specialists to navigate and resolve issues before they become major outages quickly. When compared with traditional MPLS, SD-WAN offers superior resiliency. It uses multiple broadband connections to create a secure overlay that routes traffic around network congestion and bottlenecks. It also leverages intelligent failover to keep data flowing if one connection is disrupted. This translates into lower operating costs and better application and business process performance.
Regarding scalability, SD-WAN provides a more manageable solution than traditional WAN technology. This is especially true when adding new locations or remote sites to a network. For example, if an enterprise wants to connect a branch office to a central data center, it can use an SD-WAN that can easily be configured with a VPN to transfer data across circuits securely.
In addition, SD-WAN solutions often offer the ability to prioritize traffic, a crucial security component. This allows network administrators to ensure that mission-critical applications are always given priority over less important ones. This can also help avoid data loss from slow or unreliable connections and ensure that critical business processes are not interrupted.
Furthermore, many SD-WAN solutions are easy to deploy and manage from a centralized interface. This helps to simplify operations, reduce the risk of human error, and allow for rapid zero-touch provisioning. It also enables businesses to optimize application performance over any WAN link and accelerate cloud adoption with managed on-ramps.
SD-WAN enables organizations to build secure and reliable connections between branches and headquarters using low-cost Internet broadband or wireless WAN (4G, 5G) links instead of costly MPLS backhauling. This saves on infrastructure costs and frees up capital for other investments.
This innovative, scalable solution also helps businesses improve employee productivity by allowing employees to prioritize access to business applications rather than video downloads and bulk file transfers. The same application and content-aware inspection engines used by NGFWs to make security decisions can also help guide queueing priorities and enable fine-grained quality of service (QoS) controls.
SD-WAN can also reduce the risk of data loss by encrypting traffic between sites. This prevents hackers from intercepting data and retransmitting it or even altering it. This is especially important for remote sites vulnerable to phishing and ransomware attacks and cloud-based applications that must be securely connected to the corporate network.
The central control feature of SD-WAN allows administrators to implement consistent app policies across the WAN with ease. This can eliminate the need for a specialist to visit each branch office when it wants to add new functionality. Instead, they can send a router to the site and plug it in.
The same application- and content-aware inspection engines in NGFWs that drive security decisions can also organize the routing of performance applications, ensuring business-critical data is prioritized over video downloads or bulk file transfers. This helps employees work more efficiently and avoids lost productivity due to slow WAN links.
With employees logging on from home, office, mobile devices, and many public Wi-Fi hotspots, the enterprise network is exposed to increasing threats. Organizations must enable workplace flexibility to mitigate these risks while ensuring consistent and effective security policies.
SD-WAN enables various network and security capabilities for both LAN and WAN, providing the foundation to address these challenges. In addition to enabling network segmentation, which isolates sensitive systems and data from less critical ones, it allows enterprises to implement application-aware routing so that if an attack occurs, it can be contained within a single risk domain.
Additionally, an SD-WAN solution provides more reliable internet connections by replacing static hardware-bound routes with software-defined routes based on application needs. For example, it can improve the resiliency of IoT deployments by combining multiple broadband connections with link bonding to ensure that data gets through even when one or more links are experiencing congestion. With centralized management and zero-touch provisioning, enterprise IT can quickly deploy or change new applications, reducing the time needed to keep up with evolving business needs.