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There is a way to manage your entire network from a centralised dashboard, quickly deploy new branches with any transport, and automate operational workflows. Introducing Software-Defined WAN Access – a game-changer for the digital business.
In the wake of the UK's mass remote-working experiment, companies are now looking to harness these new ways of working for the long term.
As a result a lot of companies are assessing the market for the right technology to keep their users connected and secure, which is probably how you've found our ultimate guide to SD-WAN.
Below is all the information you will need to understand the technology; its benefits, capabilities and the right implementation to help you decide whether its right solution for your organisation.
Let’s start from the beginning - software-defined networking (SDN) was conceptualised in 2009 at Stanford University, as a way of reimagining what connectivity methodology, operation and infrastructure looks like for this digital age.
This software defined model breaks free from rigid systems that are difficult to manage, maintain and upgrade, and instead enables a flexible, intelligent and future-proof infrastructure. SDN encompasses all network technologies, including functional separation, network virtualisation and enhanced network automation and programmability. SDN has enabled both enterprise and service providers to reimagine how networks are designed and used. Traditional enterprise network architecture and security design models are being replaced with more flexible, software-defined network perimeters providing secure access to enterprise data and services where ever they are located.
SD-WAN therefore, was born out of this SDN model, and is a key element to the new SDN 'world'.
It is a whole new WAN architecture, where the an enterprise network is no longer defined by physical hardware/ device based boundaries.
SD-WAN is a cloud-delivered overlay that enables application-aware routing. This intelligent overlay is programmed to optimise the network based on your business intent, so you no longer need someone to re-route traffic when the bandwidth is stretched, the SD-WAN will find the best path based on each application’s needs/ your business requirements.
It measures real-time latency. so if your prioritised applications take the most optimal routes at any given time.
Because the WAN routes traffic based on what the application requires and not what the legacy infrastructure designed, this allows your organisation to adopt more cloud services. Your network will no longer pass users through your DC into the internet, it will go straight to the source. And because it still has end-to-end encryption, your information is secure.
With most WAN traffic destined to the cloud, there’s a chasm developing between what existing wide area networks can deliver, and what the business actually needs. As new applications emerge, whether hosted on-premise or in the cloud, demands on WAN throughput, efficiency and reliability increase. Traditional wide area network architectures weren’t created to support these new digital ecosystems, so instead of accelerating the adoption of bandwidth-heavy applications, some WANs are preventing the business from moving forward at pace.
Transform the end-user experience with a predictable SLA and no app outages due to networking. Not only is application performance more reliable, but applications will also run faster and can be deployed in minutes.
20 years ago MPLS represented “the wave of the future”. However, consider how our commercial dependency on the internet and our use of apps has evolved and changed in the last 10 years alone. The internet, and the ability for people to work and interconnect from anywhere with anyone or with any application, is is still growing in terms of content, bandwidth, and performance. Even the recent sudden need for many to pivot their lives to remote and home-based working has, the odd report notwithstanding, not impacted the overall internet performance. It will drive the need for remote collaboration capacity higher and faster. Our applications and data use the cloud by default, and video calls have become just another part of our personal and professional life.
With this in mind we believe there is a place for hybrid network infrastructures where SD-WAN solutions utlilise existing infrastructure technologies, such as MPLS, until major structural changes can be invested.
So, what exactly is Secure Access Service Edge (SASE)?
“The Zero Trust Model of information security basically kicks to the curb the old castle-and-moat mentality that had organizations focused on defending their perimeters while assuming everything already inside didn’t pose a threat and therefore was cleared for access.” - CSO, UK
SASE is the convergence of WAN and network security services, such as CASB, FWaaS and Zero Trust, into a single, cloud-delivered service model. A SASE architecture identifies users and devices, applies policy-based security, and delivers secure access to the appropriate application or data. This approach allows organisations to apply secure access no matter where their users, applications or devices are located.
According to Gartner, “SASE capabilities are delivered as a service based upon the identity of the entity, real-time context, enterprise security/compliance policies and continuous assessment of risk/trust throughout the sessions. Identities of entities can be associated with people, groups of people (branch offices), devices, applications, services, IoT systems or edge computing locations.”
Reference 1: Gartner - The Future of Network Security Is in the Cloud
Asses your network traffic to understand:
What traffic is running across your network?
What bandwidth is being used?
What applications are running on your network?
Where are your applications located? Are they Saas, data centre or Iaas?
Scope your security requirements and decide whether want edge security at the user device, SD-WAN device or Firewall.
Evaluate your current infrastructure to:
What elements can be reused or repurposed?
What current contracts are in place? And how long do they have left?
What service providers are you using and can they provide the SD-WAN solution you need?
Find the right partner for your organisation, solution and goals.
Work with your technology partner to implement your new solution.
Now you can enjoy a centrally managed, intelligent routing network overlay, delivering flexibility and bringing the network closer than ever to business intent and traffic flow requirements.
Is your business crying out for more flexibility, agility and performance from your creaking network?