Why a single-vendor approach needs next-gen SD-WAN

By Richard Knowles, freelance writer.

Securely connecting branch offices has always been a journey for companies. Now that we are returning to normal after two years with the pandemic, branch offices are back up and businesses need tools to connect while keeping those branches secure.

Modern and cloud-native security frameworks such as SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) leverage SD-WAN and security services to provide security and connectivity to branch offices and remote workers worldwide. Remote work is still popular, so edge-to-edge security is a must regardless of location. Next-gen SD-WAN can be the solution if you’re using a single-vendor SASE solution to connect your branch offices. So let’s see why you need one.

What is Next Generation SD-WAN?

Traditional SD-WAN solutions fall short in today’s digital world, where cloud computing is normal and the need for expensive hardware and manual configuration is often seen as “too complicated”. It’s clear that with the recent developments in cloud computing, enterprise wide area networking should be less complicated, easier to deploy and more affordable.

This is what next-generation SD-WAN is all about. With a next-generation SD-WAN solution, you can deploy branch offices almost instantly, scale at will, and get high-performing broadband at affordable prices. These solutions are also cloud-native and can be deployed in minutes instead of months as traditional SD-WAN would take.

Coming from the cloud, modern SD-WAN solutions are proving to be more affordable, easier to adopt, and easier to maintain. Because these cloud-based solutions implement automation wherever possible, organizations also experience simplified network security and monitoring.

What is Security Service Edge (SSE)?

Organizations are always looking for ways to streamline and simplify their network security structures, especially as they move to the cloud and have remote employees. These two conditions would mean that; First, they need edge-to-edge security throughout the cloud environment, as data is not stored in a physical data center and that security should not be constrained geologically.

So what is Security Service Edge (SSE)? You can think of it as the security side of a SASE framework, which consists of two components; an SD-WAN solution as we mentioned above and a security aspect called SSE.

Security Service Edge uses cloud-based security solutions such as Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), Firewall as a Service (FWaaS), and Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB). These security solutions are deployed using SD-WAN provided network connectivity, which means that SSE works with SD-WAN to ensure security across the network.

Why is Next Generation SD-WAN needed?

Now that we understand both the capabilities of an SD-WAN in a SASE environment and the SSE, the security side of things, we should have an idea of ​​why next-gen SD-WAN is a crucial part of a single vendor approach is.

The single-vendor approach means that the company purchases all cloud security solutions from a single vendor. This is especially beneficial when you think of reduced costs, easier maintenance and reduced complexity.

Most modern security infrastructures take this approach to simplify management, secure their remote work environment with the help of a trusted provider, and ensure a straightforward and highly functional architecture. Let’s look at some of the benefits of a next-gen SD-WAN in such an architecture to understand why a single-vendor approach needs one.

1-) Reduce operational complexity

Legacy SD-WAN solutions initiate a tunnel to any of the security services mentioned above, such as ZTNA, CASB, or FWaaS. Over time, this adds up and increases operational complexity, while one of the first goals of any SASE fabric is to simplify network security.

Next-generation SD-WAN solutions can easily consolidate these solutions into a cloud-native environment, ensuring edge-to-edge connectivity. This in turn reduces operational complexity and makes it easier for IT security teams to manage security services and user access.

2-) Minimizing manual tasks

Automation is everywhere, and cloud-based services provide automation for the most repetitive tasks that just waste manual labor. A next-generation SD-WAN solution can help IT security teams automate tasks with APIs and integrations. This is unlike legacy SD-WANs, where automation is kept to a minimum and a significant amount of manual work diverts your team from tasks that require more attention.

3-) Enable cloud-native structure

Legacy enterprise WANs require hardware routers to be deployed and these must be manually configured to function properly. One of the best features of an advanced SD-WAN solution is the ability to create a cloud-native fabric.

This means that costs are drastically reduced as expensive hardware is no longer required, you can literally deploy anywhere, anytime, and the scope of service is not constrained by the limitations of any hardware. Next-generation SD-WANs can be deployed in minutes, and moving to the cloud could be a secure one thanks to this solution.

Final Thoughts

Traditional enterprise SD-WANs are disappearing due to increasing complexity, higher operational costs and challenging deployment processes. Next generation SD-WAN solutions help with the ability to run in the cloud and connect to security services found in a SASE environment such as ZTNA, CASB or FWaaS.

With the help of an advanced SD-WAN solution, you can reinforce a single-vendor approach and unlock the true potential of SASE. These tools help significantly when it comes to securely connecting branch offices and remote workers to the main network without restrictions.

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