A hybrid workforce is now the new norm for many businesses. Due to the recent pandemic, organizations have accelerated their digital transformation strategy to adapt to the constant changing demands of customers and COVID-19 related regulations. However, as offices begin to open, employees are given the option to either work from home or go back to their offices. As a result, to enable this new hybrid workforce approach, organizations now must ensure strong connectivity and security for all workers and branch offices, regardless of their location. A secure software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) solution is critical in providing seamless, high-performant connectivity for organizations that utilize branch offices. Combined with a comprehensive cloud-delivered security, businesses can enable a secure access service edge (SASE) solution to provide exceptional user experience and productivity throughout all their branches, for all users.
Securing SD-WAN with the SASE Architecture
A SASE solution converges both networking and network security services into one cloud-delivered platform. According to Gartner, “By 2024, at least 60% of global SASE services will be offered integrated with an optimized internet backbone to ensure performance of global internet WAN connectivity, up from less than 10% year-end 2020.”
With a single solution, organizations can ensure their branch offices have secure internet connectivity as they scale while benefiting from security services like Secure Web Gateway (SWG), Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), Firewall as a Service (FWaaS), Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASB), and more. With SASE, everything is connected and protected, not just branch offices. Endpoint devices, remote employees, branch offices and headquarters are all protected under one SASE architecture.
A SD-WAN solution is key for organizations that need to connect branch offices to corporate applications, data and other offices so user productivity is not impacted. SD-WAN helps eliminate costly Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) networks. This decreases costs and with zero touch provisioning, businesses can further reduce manual efforts required when updates are needed or new offices are established.
A next-generation SD-WAN provides further benefits with automation, machine learning and Layer 7 visibility to simplify manual operations. SD-WAN solutions with integrated artificial intelligence for IT operations (AIOps) provides anomaly detection, event correlation and root cause analysis, allowing administrators to easily pinpoint issues and speed up response times for problem remediation. By utilizing the cloud, user experience is improved as the need to backhaul traffic to centralized locations is no longer needed. But securing that connection is often overlooked, and can leave an organization vulnerable to threats.
Choosing the Right SD-WAN Solution
Gartner has released its Best Practices for SD-WAN report that summarizes the various options that organizations have when securing their SD-WAN connection. Palo Alto Networks is named as one of eight vendors that can deliver all functions of a SASE solution that include connectivity via SD-WAN and cloud-based security services via SWG, FWaaS, ZTNA and CASB. Read the full report to learn how an integrated SASE solution is the best option for businesses as they grow and continue their digital transformation.
If you would like to learn more about SASE or are curious how this strategy might help you achieve your own network and security goals this year, join us online for SASE Converge 2021 — the industry's first conference dedicated to SASE — on September 28 and 29. You’ll hear from leading voices within the networking and security industries, get details on the impact SASE technologies have made for organizations today and learn what new innovations are to come.
Gartner, Best Practices for SD-WAN, Bjarne Munch | Craig Lawson, 23 June 2021
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