Digital transformation initiatives have fallen well within the realm of the traditional wide-area network (WAN). Complications with emerging market trends, shifting consumer demands, and increased competition are primary reasons why one enterprise after another has made the jump to software-defined WAN (SD-WAN). And for those that haven't, well, they most likely (or should) have this on their list of IT investment objectives. If not, there will be compromised business-critical services and network performance.Transition to SD-WAN Must Include Security
We know that SD-WAN is a viable solution to reduce overhead and support the new applications and services that result from digital transformation. As an IT leader, however, you must also ask this question: Does my SD-WAN strategy feature robust capabilities, especially with built-in security? This goes a long way to ensuring a high-performing distributed network.
Direct connections to cloud and internet resources bypass the antiquated hub-and-spoke security features often seen in traditional network architecture. This exposure, as a result, requires strong security that many SD-WAN networking solutions do not offer, unfortunately. Consistent protection will eliminate security and performance tradeoffs, thus leading to less headaches for IT leaders. Here's a quick rundown of what robust built-in security features can achieve:
- Critical Application Prioritization: Most SD-WAN solutions cannot support a large number of application signatures or application performance optimization. Ultimately, this creates a poor end user experience.
- Reduced Attack Surface: As great as SD-WAN is, it is still a connectivity offering that enables open season for threats to attack the network. Advanced security solutions must be embedded into each SD-WAN device so all networking, connectivity and security items all function as a single solution.
- Comprehensive Analytics and Reporting: Total visibility of your network and application performance is a must! Improve end user experience with real-time analytics that help businesses identify networking and security policies that require fine-tuning.
Five ways SD-WAN can boost the bottom line
Here are five different ways the experts at Fortinet have identified that SD-WAN can boost your bottom line and save IT headaches.
1. SD-WAN improves performance
Not all network traffic is created equally. SD-WAN can be configured to prioritize business-critical traffic and real-time services and steer it over the most efficient route. By facilitating critical applications through these connections, IT teams can help reduce packet loss and latency issues – improving employee productivity and boosting morale.
2. SD-WAN boosts security
Digital transformation is a double-edged sword. While it can improve customer satisfaction and extend market reach, it can also expose an organization to significant security risks. The good news is SD-WAN solutions offer built-in security features such as NGFW, IPS, encryption, AV, and sandboxing capabilities that help prevent data loss, downtime, regulatory violations, and legal liabilities.
3. SD-WAN lowers complexity
Digital transformation initiatives can add layers of complexity to a network. The result is not only a risk of poor network performance, but over-taxed IT teams and the need for locating onsite personnel at remote sites to manage the local IT infrastructure. Fortunately, SD-WAN can ease IT’s burden by simplifying WAN infrastructure – using broadband to offload non-critical business apps, automating monitoring tasks, and managing traffic through a centralized controller.
4. SD-WAN enables cloud usage
Organizations are increasingly adopting cloud services. SD-WAN enables direct cloud access at the remote branch, eliminating backhauling traffic and allowing users to directly access cloud applications regardless of location without burdening the core network with additional traffic to manage and secure. Additionally, SD-WAN improves cloud application performance by prioritizing business critical applications and enabling branches to directly communicate via internet.
5. SD-WAN reduces costs
As enterprises deploy an ever-increasing array of cloud-based applications, the amount of data traveling over a WAN increases exponentially, which increases operating costs. Fortunately, SD-WAN can reduce this price tag by leveraging low cost local internet access, providing direct cloud access, and reducing the amount of traffic over the backbone WAN. According to an IDC survey, nearly a quarter of respondents expect SD-WAN cost savings of upwards of 39 percent.
Talk with WEI about Fortinet’s Secure SD-WAN solution
As the SD-WAN market continues to grow and organizations transition to a modernized WAN infrastructure, it’s more important than ever that organizations remain aware of the importance of security. Fortinet’s Secure SD-WAN solution is the first to fully integrate security and networking – including routing, SD-WAN, a full security suite, WAN optimization, and integrated management – into a single SD-WAN solution designed to meet the actual demands of the growing WAN Edge market. Contact WEI today to learn more about Fortinet’s solution, and how your enterprise can benefit.