Global Companies See Value in Integrating SD-WAN and Security

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Traditional WAN architectures are under major pressure driven by the migration of services and data to multi-cloud environments, the need for direct connectivity to those resources from branch offices, and the growing reliance on bandwidth-hungry business applications. As a result, organizations are being forced to redesign their WAN architectures. But those organizations adopting SD-WAN are also finding that they need to increase and expand their cybersecurity as well if they want to stay ahead of potential threats. And at the same time, meeting compliance and business requirements means that new SD-WAN solutions need to provide consistent security, privacy, and management requirements along with advanced connectivity and optimized application access.

Secure SD-WAN solutions are unique among SD-WAN options because they provide full integration between advanced SD-WAN functionality and a full stack of enterprise-grade security to ensure the integrity of connected resources without compromising functionality. This unique combination is resonating with customers who need the functionality of SD-WAN, but who are unwilling to also take on the unnecessary expense and overhead associated with building their own overlay security solution. To illustrate this challenge, here are three recent examples of organizations who required an integrated SD-WAN to support both their connectivity and security needs:

Major Financial Institution

As cybercriminals look for new trends to target, organizations need to work towards deploying a comprehensive digital transformation strategy that aligns networking and security intelligence. One financial institution, with hundreds of branches operating across multiple banks and investment segments, was looking to implement what they envisioned as the next-generation branch. Their top priorities were to reduce costs by migrating their existing MPLS infrastructure to low-cost, high-bandwidth ADSL links, improve the performance of business-critical applications, and at the same time, raise the effectiveness of their network security.

They were specifically looking for an advanced SD-WAN and security solution that could work across all of their branch locations to properly secure transactions as well as the private information of their customers and employees. This required a security-driven networking strategy that combined essential services – including robust NGFW, high-performance IPSec VPN, full SD-WAN functionality, and support for the SD-Branch by extend security into the local LAN to monitor devices and secure WiFi and switch access points – into a single, easy-to-manage solution. It also needed to be a fabric-based strategy so it could cover their entire expanded infrastructure, from wired and wireless endpoint connections to full WAN protection, with a single set of policies supported by centralized management and orchestration.

Secure SD-WAN was able to meet all of these requirements with an integrated SD-WAN and SD-Branch architecture, enabling them to have the flexibility they needed to address their evolving business demands, while keeping overhead costs under control and critical data safe from cybercriminals.

Global Company

The next example is a well-known global organization with 1500 branch offices and three datacenters spread geographically around the world. Deploying new branches is key to the business’ growth plans, but was proving to be too time-consuming, especially when trying to integrate existing infrastructures together. 

Secure SD-WAN was able to offer a solution that covered the organization’s needs through integrated appliances and a centralized management console that provided integrated support for both network and security policies through an single console. In the end, by consolidating on a single Secure SD-WAN appliance, the organization was able to reduce vendor sprawl by eliminating several other products. By integrating Secure SD-WAN across their global infrastructure, this global company is now able to offer its users a significantly improved user experience with more consistent connectivity, including high-performance reliability in areas with unreliable connectivity options by tapping into the LTE capabilities built into the Secure SD-WAN appliances. 

A Secure SD-WAN strategy surpassed the global company’s expectations, starting from proof of concept,

by providing zero touch deployment combined with the ability to globally auto-provision SD-WAN and security configurations and business policies from a single, centralized management console located at their central HQ.

Large Enterprise

Organizations today are increasingly reliant on solutions that can help them meet the demands of digital business, and the digital innovation efforts required to support them. Many SD-WAN solutions provide basic connectivity, but they struggle to provide the full range of speed, interconnectivity, flexibility, and security that today’s branch offices require. One large enterprise needed an SD-WAN solution that could maintain high network performance and support custom application SLAs, such as processing massive amounts of threat telemetry data gathered from around the world, as well as other business-critical services. They needed their connections to be fast, reliable, and secure.

With a Secure SD-WAN solution in place, the company was able to improve the overall performance of their network infrastructure. They also realized a significant reduction in the time required to configure each new WAN deployment, as well as for ongoing WAN edge maintenance time – saving potentially thousands of staff hours due to automated load balancing and policy management across their distributed branch office networks.

And to address any security challenges resulting from providing their branch offices with direct connectivity to cloud services and the public internet, they also integrated the full stack of security solutions, all supported by custom-built security and networking processors to ensure that all traffic, whether clear-text or encrypted, is thoroughly inspected – without impacting network performance or application user experience. By implementing a Secure SD-WAN solution, the organization was able to realize a flexible, resilient, and secure network that now delivesr the rich services and flexible interconnectivity between remote SD-Branch that their digital business requires. 

Secure SD-WAN Opportunity

As cyber threats continue to evolve, organizations are quickly realizing they need to keep up with today’s cyber trends. SD-WAN plays a critical role in the transformation of networks. Unfortunately, not all SD-WAN solutions are alike – which is why organizations need to narrow down their options to  solution that can adapt to their current and future needs. For many organizations a flexible and versatile solution includes deep integration with WAN and LAN functionality, support for high-performance VPN, reliable and cost-effective connectivity, and increasingly, deeply integrated security. By combining these into a single, integrated system, organizations can quickly provision new branch offices with a single device, thereby reducing initial capital expenses as well as ongoing operational overhead.

Read more about how FortiGate Secure SD-WAN helped Fortinet optimize network performance in this case study

Read these customer case studies to see how De Heus and Burger King Brazil implemented Fortinet’s Secure SD-WAN to alleviate network complexity, increase bandwidth, and reduce security costs.


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