SD-WAN deployments are exposing enterprises to a variety of security concerns. They must have strong security capabilities, like NGFW functions, to connect branches and data centers with secure trust.
Traditional security architectures use separate devices to inspect and filter network traffic. These can be costly and difficult to maintain. An SD-WAN solution with integrated security features can reduce these costs and complexity.
As internet-connected devices grow, so does the need for secure connectivity. Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN) can offer a more cost-effective alternative to traditional MPLS connections and deliver faster performance for business applications. But it’s important to remember that the security of these networks requires a holistic approach. A comprehensive security architecture includes technologies like NGFWs, ZTNAs, and SWGs. These should be embedded in an SD-WAN solution to protect against data transportation across Ethernet, broadband, and 4G/5G cellular infrastructure.
The key is to ensure that the system blocks new infrastructure devices until they are authenticated and authorized to join your network. This is a more robust way of handling network security than simply using a captive portal and can help mitigate the risk of cyber attacks by stopping hackers from accessing your network.
Another critical consideration is choosing an SD-WAN with built-in security functions, such as firewalls, access control and filtering, and anti-virus/malware. This will provide the protection that organizations need to prevent data breaches and minimize the impact of them when they occur. A comprehensive SD-WAN should also include security for the application layer and granular visibility of how business-critical apps perform on the network. This will give IT teams more insight into how the organization’s applications are performing, which can lead to quicker responses when problems arise.
A secure SD-WAN solution offers security for data transmission between offices, the cloud, and remote users. It also protects local area networks at branch offices and internal communications within the company’s cloud environment. In addition, it can be used to connect to external servers such as IaaS and SaaS.
Zero-touch deployment simplifies the IT process and reduces network costs by allowing branch sites to connect to the Internet without a traditional firewall or WAN router. The SD-WAN device automatically calls home to the central management plane after connecting to power and the Internet, receiving configurations, and forwarding traffic. The device can also be configured to call home at a specific time interval or when the connection is lost. This enables IT teams to manage and troubleshoot easily issues with the device, such as event handling, active path testing, physical status, and topology.
Most SD-WAN vendors use strong encryption to protect data in transit. In addition, they can optimize performance through native service chaining. This means packets pass through multiple functions simultaneously, reducing memory copies and simplifying operations. They also use a single software stack to ensure consistent execution of forwarding, packet manipulation, quality of service/HQoS functions, and encryption.
Many organizations are deploying an SD-WAN solution to reduce costs and improve performance. But they must choose a scalable solution that will meet their needs. Otherwise, they may have a less cost-effective solution than their current network. Additionally, they may need to invest in additional hardware and support services. In addition, a scalable solution should allow them to deploy a single unified security policy.
Many organizations deploy SD-WAN to improve business applications and performance. However, they may need to pay more attention to deploying strong security with this solution. Many SD-WAN solutions do not provide integrated security capabilities and require the use of separate network security technologies, like NGFWs (next-generation firewalls), ZTNAs (zero trust networks), SWGs (secure web gateways), and CASBs (cloud access security brokers). This can leave the organization vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks and malware, undermining data confidentiality and introducing unauthorized devices into the network.
Secure SD-WAN deployments encrypt traffic on the Internet, ensuring that only the intended recipient can access it. This is especially important for organizations that send sensitive information over public networks, such as Wi-Fi at hotels or cafes. It also protects data while traveling over private connections, such as MPLS and broadband.
Another advantage of secure SD-WAN is its flexibility. For example, it can connect remote branch locations with headquarters or support cloud and SaaS applications. Traditionally, all internet-based traffic from the branches has been backhauled, which can be expensive and increase latency. With an SD-WAN, a site can route Internet and cloud-bound traffic through the best real-time path. This can reduce costs and improve application performance. Additionally, SD-WAN provides increased visibility into the network.
The reliability of SD-WAN solutions depends on how well they perform in a wide range of business applications. For example, they should be able to provide consistent application performance and ensure the security of sensitive information transmitted over the WAN. In addition, they should be able to handle varying connectivity conditions, including those caused by Internet outages and performance degradation.
Reliability is also important because businesses need reliable access to their data and applications, regardless of location. The most reliable SD-WAN solutions allow branches to connect to cloud-based applications over secure direct Internet access and rely on multiple links instead of one. This reduces latency and improves performance while maintaining a high level of security.
Lastly, reliable SD-WAN solutions should have advanced security features like application identification and protection. These features help administrators identify threats and protect against them. Additionally, they should have robust capabilities such as micro-segmentation to ensure that only traffic from authorized devices can access the network. They should also have a way to block new infrastructure devices until they are authenticated.
Organizations should also look for self-healing functionality, which automatically adjusts and implements security policies based on connectivity changes. This functionality can avoid lags in protection that are caused by manual configurations. Moreover, it can prevent the loss of important data from being compromised during a connectivity outage.