SD-WAN is a software-based approach to managing a WAN, and there are a number of reasons why your customers should consider its adoption. Once the decision to move forward with SD-WAN is made, however, it’s important to properly vet solutions and vendors. Continue reading
Enterprise tech experts believe that 2017 is going to be a big year for integrated network technologies, particularly with regard to appliances. Integrated networks are now far easier to deploy and manage than they were even a couple of years ago, and many pundits are predicting that the enterprise space will see a sharp rise in the number of network appliance deployments this year. Somewhat surprisingly, SD-WAN technology has proven to be a major driver of this shift.
When the integrated network trend first surfaced, it seemed as though NFV technologies were going to be the go-to option for network design and deployment. However, they require a significant investment of IT resources, and many enterprises don’t want to handle all their integration requirements in-house. SD-WAN solutions have stepped in to fill the void, in large part because they offer centralized control and configuration features that greatly reduce the amount of care and feeding the network needs for peak performance.
Major Factors Driving the SD-WAN Trend
In particular, there are five major reasons why SD-WAN has become the solution of choice for integrated networking:
- An application-oriented focus. Because SD-WAN is so centralized, it supports superior network adaptability and application-level reporting. By contrast, branch networks powered by multi-vendor solutions do not achieve nearly the same level of consistency.
- Flexibility and responsiveness to change. This adaptability carries over to the service, integration, and policy spheres. Generally speaking, SD-WAN networks are the least rigid and most suited to change and flexibility, making them a better fit in a constantly shifting technology landscape.
- Better processor technologies. Today’s processors have made it possible to assign a wider range of functions to hardware than ever before, without any loss of performance. SD-WAN networks exploit this to their advantage.
- The rise of cloud computing. Because the cloud has shifted a great deal of Internet traffic to links, SD-WAN has emerged as a prime solution because it vastly reduces the workload placed on other network resources.
- An “easier is better” mentality. Today, enterprises expect technologies to be easy to use without requiring a great deal of setup. SD-WAN fits the bill, and because it is so much easier to create and deploy, it is supplanting older networking techniques that are comparatively complicated and thus seen as outdated.
The connectivity and communication professionals at MicroCorp offer industry-leading expertise and a comprehensive suite of business-oriented, SD-WAN-powered integrated networking solutions. Please contact a MicroCorp client services representative to learn more.
The IT space has been abuzz with whispers that security and networking could soon be headed for a convergence, with networking taking over security needs (or vice-versa). Some pundits are predicting this shift could take place as early as this year, with SD-WAN technologies drawing particular attention due to two main factors: their popularity, and their perceived vulnerability.
As a result, IT experts are predicting SD-WAN will have a strong influence on both networking and security trends in 2017. Here are five specific ways in which this could influence the near future of enterprise IT:
SD-WAN Networks Have Heightened Security Needs
SD-WAN technologies, by their very nature, require a great deal of direct Internet access (DIA) expansion. This, in turn, brings about a major increase in the amount of digital assets that are exposed to security vulnerabilities.
Most businesses still aren’t paying enough attention to their security needs, with a recent survey sponsored by Versa Networks through Dimension Data finding that 40 percent of enterprise branch networks don’t even deploy basic firewall technologies, and that as many as half of these networks don’t use more advanced firewall security solutions.
When SD-WAN is used to power DIA, businesses open themselves up to two types of threats. SD-WAN increases the amount of attackable surface elements, while DIA means enterprises have a larger number of potential threat entry points to secure.
Vendors Are Taking Several Different Approaches to SD-WAN Security
Fortunately, experts in the SD-WAN space are fully cognizant of the security risks, and several solutions have emerged. Network segmentation and stateful firewalls are leading the charge, but there are still significant challenges at the application level. Vendors are working to meet these challenges by putting together customized mix-and-match solutions that combine as many as four security technologies.
Security Through Service Chaining
When paired with deep packet inspection (DPI), service chaining provides an effective means of securing SD-WAN networks. DPI works by collecting traffic from the edges of the network, and service chaining supports it by merging multiple security functions into a single, centralized hub that analyzes that traffic and identifies threats.
While this strategy is generally effective, it is still developing. One of its shortcomings is that security and the analytics specific to networking are separate. This can result in slower IT responses to security threats when they happen.
Because enterprises are trending towards reducing the amount of on-premises resources they maintain, a growing number of vendors are integrating SD-WAN networks with security solutions prior to implementation.
While this does offer key advantages, including improved analytics and reduced costs, it also comes with some drawbacks. One of the biggest downsides relates to industry-leading security providers, many of which aren’t fully integrated with SD-WAN networking solutions as of yet.
Security and Networking Will Converge
Even though the industry isn’t quite there yet, experts expect that security and networking will converge as the aforementioned technologies continue to mature. SD-WAN is noted for its ability to support collaboration, which bodes well for
IT teams working to secure these networks.
MicroCorp is a leading agency and distributor of advanced enterprise telecommunications solutions. Prospective partners interested in adding SD-WAN and related security technologies to their service suites are invited to contact MicroCorp to learn more.