In a recent Tech Target Network Purchase Intention Study, business owners were asked what their networking priorities were for the next 12 months and the top answer was improving network security.
This shouldn’t come as a big surprise since at least one network security breach makes the headlines every month. Because of that, both IT technicians and business leaders wish to avoid being on the receiving end when such a breach happens again.
Unfortunately, as we can see, network security seems more and more like a lost battle. Because of that, there needs to be a critical shift in the approach to networking and online security.
The area where this shift is most noticeable so far is the wide area network (WAN) which is steadily evolving into software-defined WAN (SD-WAN). This change has had a huge impact on online security in many ways. Below you can find the top five ways in which this has been happening so far.
Secure Cloud Connectivity
The big cloud service providers such as Microsoft, Amazon, or Salesforce are working constantly on making their cloud services as secure as possible. However, if you ask any CISO or IT technician what concerns them the most, you’ll get a pretty unique answer. That is when any sensitive data has to travel the internet to reach a cloud service.
However, this is not a big concern for SD-WAN. Many leading SD-WAN vendors offer ways to steer application traffic and granular internet breakout which meet security criteria through safe gateways and top-notch firewalls located inside the branch, data, or cloud center.
Therefore, SD-WAN diminishes the usual risks associated with the cloud, IaaS, or SaaS services.
Encrypted WAN transport
In the dark times, before SD-WAN made its premiere, the companies had to choose the lesser evil from three available options when they wanted to move traffic on a private IP network. They could use expensive MPLS networks, cheap unencrypted broadband circuits, or a broadband connection based on encrypted p2p tunnels.
Each and every one of these three options have significant drawbacks. The first is insecure and too expensive, the second one is even more insecure than the first one, and the third one is too complicated to be applied on a large scale.
On the other hand, with SD-WAN, business owners and IT technicians do not have to make sacrifices by choosing one option. They finally have the solution that encompasses the best from all three options. SD-WAN allows businesses to get access to a cheap broadband with encrypted traffic in all directions while reducing the load on network administrators. They no longer have to make numerous manual configurations to the routers every time there is a change in the network.
Finally, it is important to note that an SD-WAN solution is safer than most private IP services and the data cannot be threatened even when the network is at risk.
SD-WAN Adheres to Compliance Mandates
Strictly regulated vertical businesses like retail, healthcare, or financial services have to meet very stiff rules like Sarbanes-Oxley, PCI data security, or HIPAA. SD-WAN is the perfect solution for such businesses.
SD-WAN allows for a pretty easy design of virtual overlays which can separate several types of application traffic. One example is that a hospital can create a special virtual network and use it exclusively to store patient information. This way, it will be much easier for them to meet the HIPAA standards.
Moreover, if there is a breach in the network, only one segment of the network will be under risk and not all of its layers.
Increased Branch Security
Branch offices that have direct internet access are often at a high risk of breaches. Therefore, they require especially high levels of local security. Within traditional WAN solutions, the IT team cannot deploy all of the necessary services because they need to make financial savings. Buying and then deploying physical appliances often requires IT engineers to personally and physically visit every site. This takes a lot of time and costs a lot of money.
With SD-WAN, all of these services can be deployed virtually, so there is no reason and no excuse not to do it anymore. Services such as firewalls, WAN optimization, or VPNs can be deployed quickly and at a low-cost. IT technicians just have to leverage NFV (network functions virtualizations) and deploy a service easily to any location.
SD-WAN Uses Secure Segmentation
Segmentation of a network has many benefits. Some are related to security, some are not. However, it has always sounded very appealing to IT engineers and to business owners.
Through segmentation, you can isolate one type of traffic from another and make it more secure in that way, or you can allocate higher performances to a more demanding type of network. Before the era of SD-WAN, this could only be accomplished through ACLs and VLANs. However, this was not only very time-consuming and demanding to set up but also very difficult and expensive to maintain, especially when a network environment changes.
SD-WAN offers this possibility through a software feature. This way, it is much easier to design segments that are both rough and delicate at the same time. These can be easily designed and enforced using business intent policies.
Moreover, another advantage compared to the traditional networks, these policies are not tied to any hardware. This way, they can follow a device and offer much more versatility. An example is once again a hospital which can have a clinician segment, so when a person moves from one location to another, they will be put in the right zone.
Finally, with SD-WAN segmentation can be maintained centrally. This will ensure the same standard for various configurations and consistency of best practices.
As you can see, SD-WAN has many advantages compared to legacy networks when it comes to security. It allows for a much easier deployment of different services which guarantee the safety of data transfer from one network to another and over the internet.
Moreover, another way in which SD-WAN revolutionizes online security for businesses is by making it more affordable. Now not only big businesses can afford high-security network features, but small and budding businesses can obtain the same level of data security.
If you are not satisfied with how secure your networking environment is on a traditional network, contact our team of IT experts at Spooster and let’s talk more about SD-WAN. Together, we’ll find the best way to integrate it into your current network and reap all of the benefits.