A software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) is a systematic means of migrating from databases to the Cloud. The benefits of SD-WAN are many—boosted network speeds, minimized downtime, and maximized efficiency, to name a few. Network technology is rapidly expanding to include apps, at-home devices, IoT-enabled devices, and other points of presence (PoPs). Taking the plunge with SD-WAN enables a number of business-critical capabilities—such as automation, scalability, and network availability—that allow businesses to streamline their operations.
Additionally, SD-WAN is a reliable way to manage the explosion of data streams in the past few years. Evolving approaches to security equip this novel networking approach to combat the increasing sophistication of cyber attacks. This blog will explore the emerging security tools that are broadening the technology’s success—SASE, ENI, and AI.
The key to understanding SD-WAN is right in its name. “Software-defined wide area networks” relocate data flow from traditional on-prem storage and data centers to cloud software. The cloud environment manages data, connectivity, and traffic between branches and HQ. These hubs in an SD-WAN network are called “edges” and are vital to cloud security.
According to Gartner (in association with our sister company CBTS), the drivers of SD-WAN network technology adoption are:
- Boosted network speed and agility.
- Minimized downtime.
- Reduced costs and predictable capital expenditures.
- Optimized performance for end users—both customer-facing and internally.
The evolution of SD-WAN as a network technology
As cyber attacks grow in sophistication, so too must the technologies that defend against them. Fortunately, recent innovations relating to SD-WAN do just that—monitor and attack potential threats before they become an issue.
SASE (pronounced “sassy”) stands for secure access service edge. It is a set of tools that applies a cloud-native framework and blends networking and security to streamline operations, downsize hardware requirements, and strengthen security protocols.
Less a cohesive platform and more of a set of philosophical standards for network technology, SASE is comprised of five primary technologies:
- Secure web gateways.
- Cloud access security.
- Firewall as a Service (FWaaS).
- Integrated SD-WAN.
- Zero trust network access (ZTNA).
The SASE approach is borderless, meaning that it can be deployed globally, giving modern companies maximum flexibility when staffing and managing virtual meeting spaces from abroad. SASE optimizes data trafficking through a mix of software control and storage strategies. Increasing the number of global PoPs reduces latency by reducing the distance to the geographically nearest cloud-based data center. These added PoPs are secured at each “point” by FWaaS.
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Edge network intelligence (ENI) provides greater network visibility of the “edges,” such as user and IoT-enabled devices. Through ENI, IT professionals can pinpoint issues in the network through auto-generated tickets. After problems are found, ENI engages in network self-healing. ENI integrates well with other architectures, such as Cisco’s Meraki or Juniper Mist.
AI is a truly exciting development in networking and promises to be vital to the future of SD-WAN. But current deployments of AI are also remarkable with algorithms that seek out potential cyber attacks across the entire Internet. Moreover, AI can block or eliminate these threats before an attack.
SASE, ENI, and AI-powered machine learning tools offer unprecedented security solutions via SD-WAN. But other innovations outside of the security category are also relevant to the future of SD-WAN and networking.
- Streamlining operations.
- Network reliability and accessibility.
- Flexibility in business models.
As SD-WAN continues to evolve, OnX Canada will continue to monitor the developments and advise our clients on the best path forward.
The number of PoPs and amount of data flow has multiplied exponentially for businesses over the past decade. Legacy MPLS networks are reaching their limit and the end of their lifespans. SD-WAN network technology streamlines operations and boosts business flexibility and performance at every level. SD-WAN manages data traffic flow in advanced and secure ways.
OnX is primed to help our customers migrate to SD-WAN networks. The borderless nature of SD-WAN means that OnX and our sister company CBTS can provide service in any of our 60 countries of operations. Existing network lines can be utilized to deploy SD-WAN rapidly. And the portfolio of OnX’s managed services, such as Networking as a Service (NaaS), provides valuable toolsets to relieve the burden on IT teams so they can focus on innovation.