There is an acceleration occurring in cloud migration, which, in turn, is fueling a broader interest in software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN). In pursuing SD-WAN to support cloud bandwidth and performance requirements as a way to better equip remote teams, enterprises must consider the potential exposure through a gap in SD-WAN security.
As “work from anywhere” becomes more prevalent, there are fewer employees in the office and more activity occurring at branch locations. This highlights the weaknesses in traditional hub-and-spoke network architectures located on-site in a data center as enterprises move to hybrid cloud and distributed, remote teams. Reliable network security is not just a matter of customer experience, but has become necessary for daily business processes. It’s important that SD-WAN is able to sustain connectivity and performance.
Rather than the typical infrastructure upgrade, SD-WAN offers a virtual overlay that improves business value and, when paired with the right security model, offers safe transfer of data moving from applications to cloud storage and to end users.
SD-WAN security can be implemented into an existing set of security policies or infrastructure, but for companies examining SD-WAN security, there are three different models that each offer their own benefits:
A cloud-based security model places security applications in the cloud as software rather than relying on distributed infrastructure. This provides reliability as well as easy accessibility for software as a service (SaaS) solutions. Enterprises also enjoy benefits like automated distribution and monitoring.
Cloud-based network security is a fast-growing segment of the market, fueled by the use of mobile devices and the popularity of bring your own device (BYOD) enterprise programs. Cloud-based security helps enterprises meet latency reduction goals and equips them for real-time monitoring of potential threats. This approach depends on the security and reliability of cloud connection.
Some large enterprises utilize multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) links to backhaul branch traffic to the centralized data center, where security protocols are applied. MPLS is more expensive than other types of pathways, but offers a high level of reliability. Many enterprises prefer centralized security because it helps in managing security costs and allows them to effectively manage security and performance.
There are some drawbacks to centralized security, including the risk of a malfunction in central servers, high latency impacting cloud solutions, and difficulties in supporting high-bandwidth applications.
Enterprises concerned with lowering latency often choose a distributed approach in which security strategies are spread over geographically dispersed locations. This method can be more costly and come with some management challenges, such as the difficulty and cost of setting up next-generation firewall functionality at multiple locations. This approach can also introduce security and reliability problems; and because a single incident at a branch can trigger a problem, threat management capabilities must be prioritized.
SD-WAN security requires a careful consideration of your priorities and existing infrastructure before making a decision on your approach. Contact us at eXemplify for more information about pursuing the right security solutions for your networking goals.