Blog » Improving Network Security with SD-WAN
Effectively handling the ever-growing security threats is the biggest challenge faced by Information Technology (IT) decision-makers today. There has been a surge in the number of data breach incidents and security threats in the last few years, and this is only going to increase in the coming years.
Data breaches increased by as much as 54% in the first half of 2019 according to RiskBased Security, vulnerability intelligence, breach data, and risk ratings. The frequency and the cost of a data breach and cyber-attacks are increasing. According to the Ponemon Institute’s 2019 Cost of Data Breach Study, the average total cost of a breach rose from $3.6 million to $3.92 million. The enterprises, big or small, have to make efforts to secure their data and IT infrastructure. Unsurprisingly, there is a growing concern among enterprises to safeguard their IT infrastructure.
The IT teams face several challenges. The growing use of cloud, internet, and devices have made security a nightmare for enterprise IT departments. The cloud brings significant benefits for enterprises which includes improved efficiency and better cost economics. However, the security threat is a massive concern area.
Increasingly, a growing number of businesses are realizing that adoption of Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) helps in addressing several security concerns. SD-WAN opens up a world of possibilities by simplifying the networks and by providing secure cloud connectivity. The businesses are moving from traditional MPLS to SD-WAN to add agility, flexibility, and scalability to the network.
Beyond these business benefits, SD-WAN empowers enterprises to enhance security. It introduces several new security features that are not present in the legacy networks and make it easier to manage and secure network traffic.
Typically, enterprises use VPNs to connect remote locations or to add new applications cost-effectively. However, with the widespread adoption of mobility, big data, social media, cloud and the Internet of Things, VPNs are more vulnerable to security threats. Each location has its security requirements with multiple devices and different device configurations, making it increasingly complex to turn up a new site on a VPN.
Multiple touchpoints in VPN for security configurations increase the system to security risks. The traditional security approaches are no longer enough to address heightened security issues. This essentially means that the remote locations of the distributed enterprise are the weak links in the overall security design and strategy of the company.
On the other hand, SD-WAN is designed to address these challenges. With SD-WAN, the firms don’t need to install firewalls for VPNs or encrypting the network traffic for security. SD-WAN comes with a controller that automatically builds a VPN that ensures efficient handling of the network traffic. SD-WAN controller builds a full mesh that can communicate with all the sites without having to go back to the datacentre. This feature enables secure site-to-site traffic. A key advantage of SD-WAN is that all site-to-site traffic is encrypted, which makes it much easier to manage security.
Encryption and firewalls are no longer enough to ensure data protection. SD-WAN enables segmentation, which allows organizations to better control access to devices, users and applications. This is key to limiting the damage to a manageable area in case of a cybersecurity event. Segmentation also plays a crucial role in securing the end-points, improving monitoring and enhancing performance.
SD-WANs can segment traffic at the edge of the network and maintain separation through all relevant points in the network. Segmentation is crucial to address the growing sophistication and unpredictability of today’s cyberattacks.
The SD-WAN approach ensures consistency in security measures across all locations, including remote areas. The traditional networks demand configuration changes to individual devices. Sometimes over a period of time, it might lead to errors or gaps in network security in different locations. SD-WAN makes it easier to implement security policies, which can be enforced by a central orchestrator and don’t require manual configuration.
Security components are an integral component of SD-WAN, which goes a long way in reducing cost and complexity in the security platform. Possibly the argument in favor of SD-WAN is that it comes with industrial-grade, standards-based authentication, and encryption that secures the network traffic end-to-end. It comes with in-built firewalls and encryption. It allows the enterprises to leverage cloud without being bothered about the security concerns.
One of the most significant advantages of SD-WAN is that it provides end-to-end network visibility into application performance and network flows. This provides IT teams with crucial intelligence and insights into the users and devices connected to the network. These network insights allow them to effectively plan and manage applications and infrastructure. Regular monitoring and visibility enables the network administrators to detect outages and discover cyberattacks quickly and easily, helping them to proactively address them.
Enterprises across the globe are benefitting by upgrading their legacy MPLS infrastructure to SD-WAN. Typically, the reasons are to digitally transform the networks by leveraging SD-WAN enabled intelligence, agility, programmability, and scalability. It also allows the organizations to benefit from cloud services while at the same time helping them to bring down the cost of managing the network.
However, SD-WAN also helps the enterprises to address the several security concerns of VPN. It’s security features are becoming a key to enterprises to secure cloud connectivity. It comes with several security options which make it easier to protect network traffic and prevent data breaches and cyberattacks.
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