Software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) has emerged over the last decade to allow better distribution of network resources across geographically dispersed companies and their brand locations. While this approach has delivered a solution to the complexity and costliness of supporting cloud solutions, SD-WAN security remains a challenge.
Securing SD-WAN faces some difficulties. Most solutions don’t come with security included in development; it is either bolted on or left to the company to solve. And with so many workers remaining remote or embracing a hybrid work model, SD-WAN security must be a priority.
SD-WAN allows companies to deliver services via a variety of pathways, including broadband internet. And with employees equipped to work from anywhere, the security plane has only expanded and become more complex.
The Shift From VPNs
Companies with remote workers have generally tapped into virtual private networks (VPNs) to equip employees with access to corporate resources regardless of where they are working any given day. They can enjoy a consistent work experience, whether at headquarters on the corporate network or working from home.
The assumption with VPN has always been that if a transmission makes it through the network perimeter controls, it can be trusted. But for SD-WAN to be secure using multiple pathways to support a dispersed workforce, the security policy must shift to one of zero trust network access.
Zero trust takes the opposite approach to VPN, assuming that absolutely no transmission, device, or user can be trusted until it proves that it is trustworthy. Zero trust extends its security beyond the corporate network by hiding the network’s applications from the internet.
Zero trust is an evolution of VPN because it uses more granular control and improves the user experience. One key aspect of zero trust is that users are equally risky whether they are working on the network or off the network. The access policy and verification process are the same, no matter how they are trying to access network resources.
Zero trust uses an encrypted secure tunnel that is easier to use than a VPN tunnel, and only those users that have been verified can gain access to resources. Administrators are able to create role-based security policies that are applied consistently no matter where the employee is working.
Integrated SD-WAN Security
Even as office spaces become less of an essential part of the work experience, security becomes more critical. Security policy needs to follow data with end-to-end solutions and equip flexible and secure remote access.
SD-WAN needs to be fully integrated with security as a unified solution. In order to do this, management should be simplified and orchestration consolidated. When a company is using multiple security solutions from a variety of providers across different parts of the network, it can obscure traffic patterns and delay optimization.
If SD-WAN security is a primary concern as you equip remote and hybrid workers for long-term strategies, contact us at eXemplify. We can assist you in your pursuit of zero-trust policies to protect your data and systems with fully-integrated networking and security.