Network based systems

Future-proof SD-WAN to support ongoing digital innovation

SD-WAN has seen tremendous growth and adoption, in part because it has provided a PALE solution just as networks were undergoing a radical transformation. To compete effectively in today’s digital market, companies needed to provide users in remote locations with reliable, scalable, and high-performance access to critical business resources, such as cloud-based business applications.

But this transformation was only just beginning, and many SD-WAN the solutions were simply not designed to support the new use cases resulting from ongoing digital innovation. Today’s networks are increasingly complex, with new edge environments, including employee work from anywhere and multi-cloud environments, and distributed resources continue to evolve. Therefore, even though SD-WAN is a relatively new technology, many solutions have already started to fail the test of time because they cannot support most of the new use cases of digital businesses. today.

An effective SD-WAN solution must meet the demands of your organization today and in the future. And it has to do it without a lot of add-ons, overlays, or workarounds that add complexity and reduce the effectiveness of the solution. And it must provide comprehensive end-to-end security, so IT teams have transparent visibility, enforcement, and control across the network, even as environments adapt to changing needs. business and connectivity.

Five Essential Functions Every SD-WAN Solution Should Provide

Whether you are considering SD-WAN for the first time or revisiting your SD-WAN strategy to meet your evolving needs, there are five critical use cases that any SD-WAN solution should be able to address. at once.

  1. Empower the New Work From Anywhere Paradigm (WFA):The work from home model adopted during the COVID pandemic is still evolving. Most organizations should implement a hybrid work environment, where employees divide their time between home offices, on-site desktops, and mobile computing. This new Work From Anywhere (WFA) model adds another layer of complexity, as not only quality of experience and safety are a priority, but consistency as well. The user experience should remain consistent, regardless of where they access apps and collaboration tools or what device they use.

To meet this need, SD-WAN solutions must include advanced access tools, such as built-in zero trust network access (ZTNA) Access proxy function. ZTNA guarantees a superior user experience, advanced security and complete visibility to all users, applications and devices on or off the network. And because it’s integrated directly with the ZTNA platform, organizations can also eliminate device proliferation while enforcing policy at all edges to ensure consistent protection across the entire attack surface.

  1. Provide SD-WAN at any scale: Digital transformation efforts show no signs of slowing down. As organizations adopt hybrid and multi-cloud strategies and develop new intelligent edge resources, the need for SD-WAN to dynamically adapt to any environment or workload is critical. New use cases require flexible, on-demand connectivity between headquarters, branch offices and home offices, and to and between multi-cloud environments. The sustainability of today’s networks requires an SD-WAN solution that can scale to thousands of sites in various environments. And it needs a single screen management solution to simplify management at any scale. Adding AIOps to simplify troubleshooting will help identify anomalies and predict failure types based on machine learning models. And streamlined Day 0, Day 1, and Day 2+ networking operations enable businesses to scale quickly while saving time and increasing productivity.
  2. Accelerate the cloud access ramp: For businesses with a hybrid or multi-cloud strategy, an SD-WAN solution should also address the cloud, in the cloud, and between cloud connectivity challenges, including ensuring consistent security and performance across and across different cloud platforms. It is expected to simplify the rise of the cloud by establishing secure and fast connectivity and maintain high performance to the cloud, in the cloud as a native solution and between clouds by federating inter-cloud protocols in real time.
  3. Secure the WAN edge: SD-WAN connections are very dynamic. Efficient solutions monitor bandwidth and packet loss and make real-time changes to connections to maintain optimal user experience. Unfortunately, most security tools, especially when deployed as an overlay solution, were never designed to be so adaptable. As a result, security is often left to catch up with network changes, leaving security holes that can be exploited or limiting connection flexibility, impacting user experience and productivity.

Organizations should look for an SD-WAN solution designed to take a security-oriented networking approach, where advanced security and routing capabilities are designed to operate as a unified system. Such an approach improves operational efficiency and ensures the delivery of consistent protections, whether using integrated or SASE cloud-based security. But regardless of the delivery method, it’s critical to have the same security stack everywhere to provide consistent threat protection for outbound traffic and internally to stop the network from moving sideways. And they must also be managed through a single management console. Of course, the integration of such functions on a single secure platform can have negative consequences on traditional processors out of the box. This is especially true when the solution needs to inspect encrypted traffic in real time. Thus, organizations should also look for solutions designed to deliver maximum performance, even when things like deep inspection of critical traffic occur.

  1. Extend SD-WAN services to the branch network: Neither security nor connectivity ends at the edge of the branch. An effective SD-WAN solution must extend its core functions deep into the branch office network to manage and secure connectivity and transactions over the local LAN. SD-Branch and SD-WAN must work together to ensure a secure and manageable remote branch office by converging security, WAN, LAN and WLAN into a unified system in distributed locations. It is also expected to support LTE and 5G as a cellular gateway to provide better availability and resiliency for SD-WAN deployment.

Design for now but prepare for the future

Today’s network may not look like tomorrow’s network at all. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that organizations will have to constantly remove and replace critical and expensive technologies. By understanding the types of changes being made in the technology industry, solutions can be chosen based on their ability to meet current needs and support future demands. An SD-WAN solution capable of meeting the five challenges described above will meet the demands of any organization, regardless of size or shape, now and in the future.

To learn Fortinet’s secure SD-WAN The solution uses a security-focused networking approach to improve the user experience and simplify operations at the edge of the WAN.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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