Securing Digital Innovation at Network Edges with Secure SD-WAN

istock 1011819404
iStock

Large, distributed organizations continue to shift data, applications, and workflows to the cloud to support digital innovation initiatives. As a result, network edges that still rely heavily on traditional MPLS connections to backhaul traffic through the corporate network need to evolve. To achieve this, many organizations are transforming their WAN architectures with SD-WAN, which leverages dynamic path selection to deliver high application performance at the WAN Edge for even the most bandwidth-heavy applications. However, while SD-WAN provides a number of benefits to distributed organizations, many SD-WAN solutions lack one vital feature: security.

Due to digital innovation initiatives, today’s enhanced branch offices are now actively sharing resources and participating in transactions that span the distributed network. But they are often far less secure than their core networks because of the lack of security built into their traditional SD-WAN solutions. As a result, they represent a weak link in the security attack chain, which is why they are increasingly becoming a target for sophisticated cyberattacks.

Fortunately, there is another option besides deploying a basic SD-WAN solution and then trying to figure out how to deploy security across your WAN after the fact. Secure SD-WAN provides all the networking and connectivity features of the most advanced SD-WAN solutions, with one critical differentiator. It also includes a full stack of integrated, enterprise-class security features designed to minimize cyber risk at branch offices. This also includes centralized management so Secure SD-WAN can be seamlessly incorporated into the larger corporate security framework, and networking and security functions tightly woven together to simplify configuration and orchestration to reduce total cost of ownership (TCO).

Customers like those described below are turning to Secure SD-WAN to improve the performance of their business-critical applications as well as fortify their defenses.

Fortune 500 Company Future-Proofs 10,000 Network Edges with Secure SD-WAN

When the contract with their existing vendor came to an end, one large, distributed enterprise company in the Fortune 500 saw an opportunity to transform their entire WAN infrastructure. Numerous device failures with their existing solution highlighted the need to select a vendor that could effectively future-proof their branch offices and provide robust security without negatively impacting connectivity and application performance.

The company outlined three key requirements any new solution had to meet. First, it had to be quick and easy to deploy and manage. With one security team managing their entire distributed environment, it was critical to find a solution that could help reallocate their security team’s time and attention back to other critical tasks. Next, the solution needed to reduce bandwidth requirements at the branch to support continued connectivity. And finally, this solution had to scale across their data center, 10,000 branch locations, and their multi-cloud environment.

The Secure SD-WAN solution they chose was able to successfully meet, and even exceed, these needs. Zero-touch Provisioning capabilities allowed for quick and easy deployment and management, while split-tunneling traffic at the branch level enabled the filtering of web traffic locally, while allowing access to corporate applications through VPN to reduce bandwidth requirements. Secure SD-WAN was also able to seamlessly scale across thousands of remote locations without adding implementation or management overhead.

After implementing Secure SD-WAN, this organization also chose to leverage Secure SD-Branch to further meet their goal of future-proofing their branch offices. SD-Branch was able to extend the benefits of Secure SD-WAN into the branch LAN by adding secure switches, wireless APs, access control, and LTE support, which further helped to consolidate devices and reduce management overhead.

With this complete Secure SD-WAN solution in place, this company was able to secure their branch locations, improve application performance and user experience, and better protect the WAN Edge.

Secure SD-WAN Provides Automotive Company with Robust Security and Connectivity

Like many organizations looking to optimize branch operations, this European automotive company sought a security solution that could protect their entire distributed infrastructure—from the data center to their 100 branch locations and out to their Azure Cloud environment—while ensuring continued connectivity and high application performance. It was critical that this solution was not just a standalone solution, but part of a broader security fabric that would allow the organization to implement security solutions company-wide that could all be managed from a single console.

Secure SD-WAN was the obvious choice to help this company achieve its networking and security goals. It combines security and SD-WAN functionality into a single device to provide enhanced cloud-based application performance, advanced routing capabilities, and enterprise-class security—and all working together as a single, integrated solution. Because Secure SD-WAN is designed to automatically adapt to highly dynamic connectivity environments by leveraging application identification, multi-path control, and application steering, employees at this organization can now easily access all critical applications and resources in the cloud. And with a single-pane-of-glass management console that can scale across their entire SD-WAN deployment, the security team at this organization now saves time deploying, managing, and orchestrating policies across all security devices. Further, this company was able to leverage SD-Branch, which integrates Secure SD-WAN capabilities with access control functionality, to increasing visibility and control at each branch location without requiring additional IT staff on-site.

By taking a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity and adopting a Secure SD-WAN solution that can also functions as part of a comprehensive Security Fabric that can span the entire organization, from endpoint to cloud, this automotive company was able to minimize security gaps and gain full visibility and control over their entire network.

Digital Innovation Made Possible by Secure SD-WAN

Secure SD-WAN allows organizations to protect their entire network infrastructure from cyber threats—from the data center out to remote branch locations and across their cloud environment—without sacrificing speed or performance. This enables them to operate securely and meet compliance requirements while still operating at the speed of business. By leveraging a full, Security-Driven Networking strategy to protect their WAN Edge, where security and networking function as a single solution, the two organizations outlined above—and tens of thousands of others around the world and across every industry—are better prepared to face the security challenges presented by digital innovation and an evolving threat landscape.

Take a security-driven approach to networking to improve user experience and simplify operations at the WAN edge with Fortinet’s Secure SD-WAN solution.

Related:

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.