Simplifying Security Across Hybrid Clouds, Multi-clouds and for the Cloud On-ramp with Secure SD-WAN

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Today’s enterprises know the advantages of leveraging multi- and hybrid cloud environments. In fact, more than 90% now have multi-cloud and hybrid (public/private) cloud environments included as a critical component of their network and business strategy. This model enables organizations to allow critical data and essential applications to reside anywhere, on-premises, on campuses, at branch offices, in the data center, or the cloud. And wherever these applications reside need to be transparent to the user.

How Secure SD-WAN Can Secure and Connect Cloud Environments

In these digitally dispersed times, anyone on any device in any location should be able to access the applications and data that they need to be productive in their jobs. And the user experience (UX) should be consistent, regardless of the data or application they need to access. So on-demand scalability and swift, reliable connectivity are essential—which means that the applications and data need to be seamlessly interconnected across all clouds, data centers, and locations.

SD-WAN solutions have been so rapidly adopted as a result, because they are purpose built to address these critical functions. An effective SD-WAN delivers applications seamlessly and securely, with superior quality of experience (QoE) for its users. The problem is that many SD-WAN solutions lack the scalability, reliability, and performance to ensure the best-possible user experience. And without quick, reliable, and secure access to critical data and applications, digital transformation can be thwarted. Customers need the best simplified SD-WAN and cloud on-ramp (access to the cloud) while achieving the freedom and flexibility to pursue their digital innovations. However, the need to constantly meet performance requirements and maintain networks often results in putting security on the back-burner. This results in patched-on fixes from various vendors, and can end up breaking the bank.

How to choose the right SD-WAN solution

Yes, there are many, many solutions to choose from. So organizations considering upgrading their SD-WAN or adopting it for the first time need to have a clear idea and strategy about what they want out of their solution now and what they think they might need it to handle in the future. Does the solution need to support a largely remote workforce? If yes, then the SD-WAN should work seamlessly with secure access service edge (SASE). What kind of performance are you looking for? Given that applications will probably continue to become more complex and users will continue to demand rich media, the SD-WAN solution should not slow things down. Every function should be able to operate at 5G speeds, including security.

Given the current rate of digital innovation, network expansion, and resulting business transformations, organizations should consider these five essential SD-WAN features and functions to support their cloud journey:

  1. Cloud on-ramp for the best-possible user experience: SD-WAN solutions need to quickly recognize applications and then steer them into the shortest path and most optimized route to where it resides. Any SD-WAN solution should be able to dynamically choose application traffic path. Most SD-WAN solutions do perform some variation of this, but how they do it can make a big difference.
  1. Support for a variety of cloud use cases: SD-WAN is more than just connecting remote workers to applications and workloads running in cloud environments, it should also provide secure connections between clouds, for the secure transfer of data across multi- and hybrid cloud environments. This ensures the superior QoE of application experiences being delivered. And because applications and workload live primarily in the cloud, it should provide secure connections between all resources within the cloud, whether they are public or private.
  2. Integrated security is essential: Organizations that conduct their business over an SD-WAN connection to the cloud must not rely on just home-grown firewalls and VPN—there is too much to lose. Remote workers require the same fully integrated security to protect all of their day-to-day activities. Even if the data they use is not considered confidential, a WAN is still part of the network, and a network is only as secure as its weakest link. Traditional MPLS-based WAN connections rely on the enterprise-grade security that the core network provides, but all of that disappears when you transition to SD-WAN. SD-WAN security should also be enterprise-grade, tested and validated by third parties, and include open APIs so it can be integrated with any other security solutions. And it should most definitely have the ability to conduct swift, deep inspection on all application traffic, even streaming video.
  3. Networking and security in a single solution: One of the biggest challenges in securing a highly adaptive, dynamic SD-WAN deployment is that the connections and applications change so fast that the security can’t keep up. This creates security gaps that can be exploited in seconds. This is one of the main reasons why building effective patched-on security solutions for SD-WAN is nearly impossible—especially if everything is operating at 5G speeds. Security-driven networking is built around an enterprise-grade security platform that intrinsically supports SD-WAN and combines security and networking into a single, unified solution. This way, security and connectivity adapt simultaneously to events (like application connection degradation), ensuring consistent security and not leaving gaps in quickly changing environments.

Harness superior, secure cloud experiences

Keeping your business humming and remote workers productive requires a superior user experience—all application access and use need to be both seamless as well as secure. SD-WAN is the best solution for remote users who need to connect with applications and workloads running on all types of clouds. It effectively interconnects with applications and workloads running on cloud providers with the rest of their hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. The result is an even more simplified, automated, and operationally efficient cloud on-ramp and SD-WAN experience.

SD-WAN empowers organizations to deliver applications with a seamless, secure, and superior QoE to its users and customers. Together with Adaptive Cloud Security, Fortinet provides the industry’s broadest coverage of use cases to secure any application on any cloud. This provides customers with the best possible protection, through the cloud on-ramp and into the cloud, between clouds, and within the cloud.

Learn how Fortinet’s adaptive cloud security solutions provide increased visibility and control across cloud infrastructures, enabling secure applications and connectivity from data center to cloud. 

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