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Not all secure SD-WAN solutions are created equal

Published: June 11th, 2019 By: Glenn Weir

Fortinet

The software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) market is expanding rapidly, with IDC predicting it will reach $4.5 billion by 2022. Global Market Insights Inc. suggests the market will hit a staggering $17 billion worldwide by 2025.

The growth is fueled by the fact that 85 per cent of businesses are considering adopting SD-WAN technology for reasons that include smart pathway control, automatic provisioning, flexible data transport, and universal security.

Regarding security: SD-WAN, which relies on direct Internet access, involves a degree of security risk, especially compared to MPLS connections. At a time of unprecedented cyber threat, this security risk should never be taken lightly — and with SD-WAN, security is not something a company should be content to leave until after deployment; rather, security should be baked in to the architecture.

Securing SD-WAN, however, is no simple matter. Many IT teams are quick to adopt it — thinking “quick evolution” at a time when agility and boldness separates leaders from also-rans — underestimating what’s required to implement tight security right down to the branch level.

“Down at branch level, security must address the SD-WAN connection itself as well as any split-tunnel challenges that come out of running cloud services, mobile devices, IoT, BYOD, and mobile users connecting remotely to branch resources,” says Nirav Shah of Fortinet. “It’s a wide range of factors, to be sure — and for that, you’re looking for a single integrated security and network solution that gives consistent performance and top-notch security.”

A major problem, according to Shah, has to do with resources — or more accurately, a lack of resources.

“Companies around the world are feeling the pinch for what is a shortage of trained and experienced security talent,” he said, citing a recent study that has the global gap of unfilled cyber-security positions at three million. “Most businesses aren’t terribly keen on the idea of having to build, deploy, manage, and monitor yet another security tools suite to protect their branch offices.”

“And yet, of all the SD-WAN vendors out there pushing their wares, precious few are offering anything beyond the most basic security. This of course leaves a huge gap where companies are literally on their own to figure out how to jam a square peg into a round hole — which in this case involves somehow leveraging their existing security in their SD-WAN tools.”

The problem is that most security devices and solutions deployed centrally were not intended to also provide branch support.

“They can’t see far enough, can’t track data that moves between network domains, and can’t share and correlate threat intelligence to identify and stop today’s highly sophisticated attacks,” said Shah. “About the best you can hope for in this instance is to encrypt traffic and apply a security filter the network’s edge — to shut down a connection if it detects something unusual or potentially dangerous going on.” Unfortunately, in today’s digital economy, this approach simply isn’t good enough.

Fortinet’s Secure SD-WAN solution is gathering buzz in the industry because it delivers what many are calling the most comprehensively secure SD-WAN solution on the market today. This is in addition to its robust suite of advanced routing and WAN optimization functions.

Fortinet’s Secure SD-WAN solution includes best-of-breed next-gen firewall (NGFW) security, SD-WAN, advanced routing, and WAN optimization capabilities — delivering a security-driven networking WAN edge transformation in a unified offering.

More about Fortinet’s new SD-WAN ASIC chip

Read these customer case studies to see how Warrior Invictus Holding Co., Inc. and the District School Board of Niagara implemented Fortinet’s Secure SD-WAN to alleviate network complexity, increase bandwidth, and reduce security costs.