Managing network security in a modern business presents a unique set of challenges. From monitoring your corporate networks across multiple locations to maintaining security within an ever-growing and remote end-user workforce, managing your network infrastructure has become increasingly complex.
Additionally, end-users no longer rely on traditional IT systems to do their work. Many businesses now utilise a range of cloud-based solutions to manage workloads, and it's predicted that 45% of of IT spending on infrastructure, software, and applications will shift from traditional solutions to cloud by 2024. To manage this, 53% of employers plan to implement better security policies in the near future, to support applications that enable remote working in their business.
However, the pathway to achieving better security to meet the new demands of modern networks can be unclear. Especially when organisations must revisit the security and business continuity controls across their network infrastructure and end-users too. How can SD-WAN help?
What is SD-WAN?
A software-defined wide area network, or SD-WAN for short, provides your business with greater control of your network architecture. It works by creating a virtual network overlay that sits on top of your existing WAN, without using any hardware. This lets you move connectivity across circuits when suitable. All this can be managed from a centralised software application – making network management more flexible compared to hardware-based MPLS or VPN-based WAN. We go more in-depth in our blog, What is SD-WAN?
The greatest benefit of a SD-WAN solution is that it removes expensive hardware and routing costs, saving time and money for your internal teams. Additionally, it unifies your entire network into one, centralised system - enabling greater control across multi-cloud environments and the employees that use them. Network changes can be managed in real-time and you'll benefit from improved visibility across performance, traffic, and security.
The 4 Security Benefits of SD-WAN
A SD-WAN provider can help your business build stronger security perimeters and keep up with the challenges of modern networks. Here are a few benefits of implementing SD-WAN.
1. End-to-end Encryption
Security measures are built-in to SD-WAN, not simply bolted-on. SD-WAN lets you deploy an end-to-end encrypted 'tunnel' over broadband, using MPLS routing. This makes it easy to securely connect traffic from multiple, different locations. For example, between your homeworkers' locations, office headquarters, or a remote worker who is on-the-go. As this is achieved via end-to-end encryption, it ensures the security of your data both in-flight and in cloud-based applications. Whether employees are working from home or the office, your business critical data is securely managed.
2. Centralised Network Monitoring
With a large and disparate network, security risks can be easy to miss. End-users can unknowingly fall victim to a phishing attack which compromises your network, or sensitive data could be transferred to a remote, unsecured location without your IT teams knowing it. As networks grow, these problems can become significant security risks over time.
To overcome this, an SD-WAN solution gives you access to a centralised system that monitors traffic and application performance across your entire network infrastructure. An integrated security suite allows IT teams to spot issues in real-time, using an easy-to-use interface. This reduces the complexity managing network infrastructure health for your internal IT teams, and improves network visibility with real-time alerting.
3. Next-generation Firewalls
Traditional firewalls will protect data centers and other physical locations from unwanted traffic flow. However, they cannot provide the security needed for remote users who connect directly to cloud-based resources. Or, if you do have networks in place to support your remote workers – there is no centralised way of easily maintaining security across multiple networks, especially if your teams are using third-party applications.
A next-generation firewall (NGFW) provides security that goes beyond standard network firewalls. It combines SD-WAN capabilities with advanced, multi-layered security technologies into a single system. Letting you strengthen network security with extra firewall protection, in addition to the built-in security capabilities of an SD-WAN solution. So, no matter what software or applications your employees are using your data is protected. When choosing an SD-WAN provider, check that they deploy a NGFW as standard when implementing their solutions.
4. Comprehensive Support
A single view of your network infrastructure is essential to maintain and monitor network security. However, this can become complicated in large businesses – where networks can span across multiple locations. If your business has multiple IT departments in each separate location, or only one to manage them all, troubleshooting network security issues in real-time can become a considerable waste of internal resources and time.
Not only does SD-WAN strengthen your security, but if you choose a SD-WAN provider to help you manage your network – you'll benefit from 365 days a year support, 24 hours a day. Expert teams will relieve your IT teams from the burden of network security – or can work hand-in-hand with your IT department to provide helpful advice and support. This improves business continuity controls, and provides the reassurance that you'll have full network security support across all your locations.
Sharpen-up Your Network Security with SD-WAN
As the world continues to rapidly change, your business needs to stay on the pulse of the latest network security innovations. This keeps your business data secure and will enable internal teams to work more efficiently. If you'd like to learn more about how SD-WAN can benefit your business and how Intercity can help, download our free SD-WAN datasheet.