Previously, we’ve examined the benefits of SD-WAN for businesses and why more businesses are upgrading to SD-WAN to future-proof their networks, but at a time when cybersecurity is a key concern for organisations everywhere, it’s important to highlight the benefits SD-WAN can bring when it comes to network security.
SD-WAN solutions come with advanced security measures including threat prevention, anti-malware, encrypted IPsec VPNs, and firewalling which is much more tightly integrated into the fabric of the platform. And, with Secure Access Service Edge technology (SASE), you have the flexibility to deploy these features on-premise, in the cloud, or as a hybrid solution.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that businesses need to lose their MPLS infrastructure. If MPLS is working for the needs of the business, SD-WAN can be integrated with it. In fact, these hybrid solutions are popular with organisations whose cloud transformation journeys take longer than first envisaged.
Centralised security and control hub
Instead of distributed enforcement points and multiple vendor management portals, SD-WAN provides for centralised orchestration of networking and security policies. A central hub controls security and routing, providing real-time data that can be used when it comes to decision-making – especially for developing security policies. It also allows the rapid and straightforward roll-out of policies across multiple enforcement points simultaneously. System administrators are immediately alerted to potential security risks, so internal policies can be adapted to eliminate external threats in real-time and mitigate risk. This visibility prevents attacks from spreading before they are identified and becoming wide scale security breaches.
Understanding SASE: state-of-the-art network security
Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) is a broader cloud-based security architecture model which encompasses SD-WAN, amongst other technologies. SASE combines network and Security-as-a-Service (SaaS) functions, delivering them as a single cloud service, essentially extending the capabilities of SD-WAN in a cloud-based platform that securely connects users, systems and endpoints to apps and other resources. Network security features can include:
Secure web gateway (SWG) – A web security service that filters unauthorised traffic preventing it from accessing the network. It does this through a combination of malicious code detection, malware elimination and URL filtering technologies, catching threats before they penetrate a virtual perimeter.
Zero-trust network access (ZTNA) – ZTNA provides a framework by which all users must be authenticated and authorised before granted access to the network and its resources. The technology differs from VPNs in that ZTNA grants access only to specific services or applications based on clearly defined access control policies.
Firewall-as-a-Service (FWaaS) – Anti-malware protection, web security, anti-spam and sandbox capabilities provided through the cloud. SD-WAN can utilise next-generation firewall (NGFW) technology for advanced functionality, including threat detection and prevention, data loss prevention, deep packet inspection and sandboxing.
Along with other threat detection functions, this makes the combination of SD-WAN and SASE ideal for companies with a remote workforce, facilitating a seamless user experience, along with consistent policies and protections regardless of where the user is located.
There can be other benefits too. Because SASE reduces the number of solutions needed to secure the network and its resources, complexity and costs are reduced.
Creating a SD-WAN solution that manages network security and meets your business needs
Not everyone has the skills or resources in-house to create or manage a secure SD-WAN network. When considering implementing SD-WAN and/or SASE, businesses also need to consider the total cost of ownership, and the potential time that will be spent on the ongoing management and monitoring of the infrastructure. It’s also important to get expert advice on the deployment of advanced security functionality to ensure the business gets maximum benefit from its investment. An experienced MSP, such as DigitalWell, will work in partnership with you to help define your goals and expected outcomes to build the best all-round network security solution for your organisation.