The Role of SD-WAN in Ensuring Network Security

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Modern business demands a new type of network connectivity. SD-WAN solves traditional WAN issues and enables secure connectivity across multiple sites.

Security is a top priority for many networks. It’s essential to choose a solution with the right technologies.

Security Policy Enforcement

Today’s WANs need to support a wide variety of network connectivity. Enterprises use multiprotocol label switching (MPLS), broadband internet, cellular (4G and 5G), and virtual private networks (VPNs) to connect remote workers to central applications, services, and resources. This new level of connectivity introduces increased security risks because rogue devices, misconfigurations, and software vulnerabilities can compromise performance and security.

SD-WAN enables enterprises to improve security with a centralized controller that programs network edge devices with low or zero-touch provisioning. This simplifies management and minimizes human errors that can compromise performance and security. A business-driven SD-WAN also supports end-to-end orchestration of WAN edge functions, including routing, advanced third-party security services, and WAN optimization.

In addition, an SD-WAN can help ensure consistent application performance and resiliency by steering traffic intelligently across the WAN to trusted SaaS and IaaS, cloud providers. This can increase productivity and customer satisfaction while reducing costs and bandwidth requirements.

In contrast, a traditional WAN model backhauls all traffic from branch offices to the corporate data center and the internet, which can introduce latency and impair application performance. SD-WAN allows for more efficient use of WAN connections by directing traffic to the internet rather than to the corporate data center, and it can provide significant cost savings through broadband internet and wireless WAN links versus costly MPLS.

Encryption

The ability to secure communications and connections between the network and remote locations is one of the most important aspects of SD-WAN implementation in networking. This capability allows businesses to ensure that only authorized users are connecting to the network and that data is not exposed in a way that hackers could exploit.

This feature is possible because of decoupling the control and data planes in an SD-WAN. The SD-WAN controller manages the control plane, and specialized SD-WAN routers handle the data plane. These routers receive policies from the controller and follow those directions for directing traffic. This centralized approach is much different than the traditional model, which requires each endpoint to be programmed individually to handle changes in environmental conditions.

A business-driven SD-WAN enables continuous self-learning by monitoring and analyzing the network’s performance, including network congestion and impairments. This enables the system to adjust automatically in real time, ensuring that applications always connect and perform optimally.

Lastly, a business-driven SD-WAN provides greater flexibility by supporting multiple connection types such as MPLS, LTE, broadband, and VPNs. This enables organizations to optimize connections and save costs using the most cost-effective links. It can also support global coverage by leveraging cloud point-of-presence (PoP) services. This provides the ability to achieve seamless connectivity even during transport outages, preventing business operations from being interrupted.

Application Visibility

With traditional networking approaches like MPLS, traffic created in the branch is returned, or “backhauled,” to a centralized internet security point in the headquarters data center. This can lower application performance and negatively impact the user experience. However, with SD-WAN, traffic is directed to a localized network security point, improving performance and keeping data secure.

Another essential feature of SD-WAN is its ability to optimize applications sensitive to latency or packet loss. This helps ensure that employees stay connected and productive no matter what happens with their internet connectivity or cellular service.

Centralized management capabilities also make it easier to keep up with new security policies and application requirements. Basic SD-WAN models require configuring policies on a device-by-device basis. Still, business-driven SD-WAN solutions offer full end-to-end WAN edge orchestration and automation, enabling changes to be deployed in minutes instead of weeks.

With these capabilities, it’s easy to see why SD-WAN is a game-changer for the enterprise. But to truly get the most out of your SD-WAN solution, it’s essential to choose a platform that offers secure access services edge (SASE). With SASE, business-driven SD-WAN uses cloud-based points-of-presence that connect via dedicated tier-1 connections and deliver a complete, converged security stack. This eliminates the need for SD-WAN appliances at each location and helps to improve performance by providing more seamless integration between networking and security.

Threat Intelligence

Keeping sensitive data safe is essential in today’s digital world. The last thing organizations want is for their networks to become a backdoor to hackers. SD-WAN technology encrypts communications between branches and the central IT cloud so malicious actors can’t intercept and use it against the organization.

SD-WAN also works well with secure remote access strategies, as it enables companies to securely connect users to the enterprise network regardless of their location, whether in an office, at home, or even on the road. It can also intelligently streamline communication between distributed Internet of Things (IoT) devices and centralized data centers, ensuring no IoT device becomes a threat vector for the enterprise network.

Many traditional WANs depend on MPLS connections to manage traffic across vast geographical distances. Still, these private networks are expensive and often need to meet the performance requirements of software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications and the high volume of data they generate. SD-WAN solutions can replace or augment MPLS links with broadband, LTE, and other low-cost connectivity options.

Some basic SD-WANs offer application classification capabilities based on fixed definitions and manually scripted ACLs, but they must address changing cloud applications and deliver automated daily updates. A business-driven SD-WAN continuously adapts in real-time to improve application performance and eliminates network interruptions that can impact user productivity. It uses continuous self-learning to automatically and in real-time steer traffic to the best path for each application.

Adam, the author of this blog, is a dedicated and seasoned entertainment and sports analyst. With over a decade of experience in the field, he has a deep understanding of the financial aspects of the entertainment and sports industries. John has a passion for analyzing the earnings of celebrities, sports players, and prominent individuals, and he enjoys sharing these insights with his readers. John's expertise is built on a solid academic background in finance and years spent working closely with industry insiders. His writings reflect his depth of knowledge and fascination with the financial aspects of fame and success