Enterprises are deploying software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) as a way to address the complexity, bandwidth demands, and performance requirements necessary for supporting a cloud environment. Even while SD-WAN solutions are proving essential for solving these challenges, there are critical gaps in the technology when it comes to cyber security.
Digital networks apply a digital overlay to the physical network, giving enterprise IT a viable path to traffic prioritization and optimization while reducing WAN costs. Users have access to applications and data from any connected device, but even given the benefits associated with speed, flexibility, and reliability, there are important cyber security concerns to be addressed.
In short, performance and function have been prioritized over security, but enterprises are not without a remedy for the vulnerabilities that SD-WAN introduces. In the push for data-fueled business solutions and objectives, it is critical for digital networks to deliver peak performance.
This is a challenge for network security built on the premise of stable, fixed connections, rather than the dynamic, dispersed network of cloud environments. Mobile and remote workers, cloud applications, internet of things (IoT), and branch locations all make securing the perimeter of the network a different task than it was a decade ago.
Network teams often deploy SD-WAN, then take a band-aid approach to cyber security, adding tools and devices at endpoints. The best approach is security-driven networking, in which security is planned into the fabric of the network before SD-WAN is implemented. The ideal SD-WAN solution has embedded security with automation that applies security policies across every connection and device. It should also be able to adapt in real time, tracking, inspecting, encrypting, and decrypting data as necessary to keep pace with identifying potential threats.
The specific security requirements around SD-WAN will depend largely on your industry and the size of your organization. It’s also important to remember that cyber security needs will continue to evolve, so plan for adaptability in your approach. You should also consider how many locations and remote workers you have, as well as the geographic dispersal of your locations.
SD-WAN Cyber Security in Your Industry
Banks, Financial Institutions, Health Care: These industries represent some of the most critical in terms of cyber security requirements, each employing teams that may be both remote and interacting with highly sensitive data on a daily basis. Local and national laws also require specific protections to be in place.
In this case, SD-WAN is not adequate. Cyber security protections need to extend across the network, covering connectivity, endpoint devices, and the local area network (LAN), as well as all cloud-based applications. Organizations should prioritize reliable connectivity, endpoint protection, and high-level routing alongside a secure network.
Global Organizations: Global enterprises will present the most complex networking situations, requiring multiple data centers, different public and private cloud applications, and international considerations on the network performance and security. Routing must be flexible and complex, but it must also offer full detection and real-time functionality. These aspects can be addressed by artificial intelligence, which can add significant expense.
Global corporations should design their SD-WAN approach to include functions around forward error correction and pre-packet load balancing to deliver exceptional user experience while prioritizing security on digital networks.
If your enterprise has been rushing to accommodate performance requirements, you may require a closer look at cyber security. Contact us at eXemplify to discuss options for ensuring a secure SD-WAN that delivers the speed and reliability you need without introducing new vulnerabilities.