With the network (and its deficiencies) now in the spotlight, executives are revisiting their IT modernization plans with more appreciation and more seriousness. For example:
What does this mean for SD-WAN? It means a brighter outlook, for starters. Adoption is rising, because IT leaders are evolving from just doing remote work fast to now doing it right. The quick-fixes of moving applications to the cloud and adding more Cisco Webex or Microsoft Teams licenses is largely behind us. Today, the focus is on making those rapidly deployed solutions sustainable and reliable for the long haul. For most, that means addressing the bandwidth demands of video conferencing, evaluating VPNs versus other options, and reevaluating security for internet connectivity, untrusted devices, and more cloud applications. This is where SD-WAN comes in hand. Recognized as a solution that addresses network reliability, internet connectivity, agility, and remote access security, IT leaders and industry analysts alike are getting more bullish about SD-WAN:
ZK Research 2020 Global SD-WAN Forecast
With every remote user now acting as the WAN edge, security must move in sync with the network. Before the pandemic, cloud firewalls were the primary security tool used with any SD-WAN deployment, but today they are not enough. While firewalls are still necessary for securely connecting to the internet, additional security functions are also critical when data must be protected in the cloud and everywhere. Take for instance, Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB), endpoint security, identity-based WAN analytics, and 24/7 security threat monitoring and response services. Typically these security functions fall outside the traditional scope of SD-WAN services, which explains why a new generation of solutions are resonating with those struggling in 2020.
Gartner’s new secure access service edge (SASE) model is putting pressure on SD-WAN providers to bring security and network services together in one cloud platform. This way, businesses can more easily deploy SD-WAN and manage a work-from-home environment with a constellation of security tools and services from one SD-WAN provider. SASE is still considered an emerging market, but the interest is strong. According to IDG’s 2020 SD-WAN Market Trends Survey, 91% of IT professionals are interested in SASE. Key benefits include:
The pandemic is also driving the need for SD-WAN specifically designed for at-home users. As such, SD-Branch strategies and solutions are being transitioned into “SD-Home” or “SD-Remote” solutions. The benefits here are similar in that SD-Home is a single platform addressing all remote network access and security needs.
Employees connect an SD-WAN appliance to their home network router, and built-in secure gigabit routing and WiFi 5 are turned on by default. This allows remote employees to have their work laptop, cell phone, and personal devices all seamlessly connected to the corporate WAN via their home internet, while their spouse and children are segmented and use only their home internet service. Other benefits include:
As the pandemic continues, SD-Home and SASE solutions will only become more critical business enablers for working from anywhere and protecting data everywhere.
Learn more about Masergy’s work-from-anywhere SD-WAN solutions.
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