What is SD-WAN Security?

The growing adoption of cloud computing and remote work has caused the traditional network perimeter to dissolve. As companies increasingly adopt cloud-hosted SaaS applications to support digital transformation efforts, they deploy software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) solutions to ensure that these SaaS applications have the high-performance, reliable network connectivity that they need. With SD-WAN, branch locations are capable of connecting directly to the public Internet without routing traffic through the corporate LAN.

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The Need of Securing SD-WAN

While SD-WAN provides significant benefits in terms of productivity and performance, it also brings significant security risks. Allowing traffic to flow directly from branch locations to the public Internet means that it is no longer inspected and secured by traditional, perimeter-focused security solutions deployed at the corporate datacenter. As a result, branch locations are more vulnerable to cyberattacks.

As companies make the move to SD-WAN, securing their SD-WAN infrastructure is essential to protecting the organization and its systems against cyber threats. Effective SD-WAN protection should include flexible deployment models, threat prevention, and scalable management solutions.

Top Challenges of Securing SD-WAN

SD-WAN solutions can provide significant benefits to an organization’s networking capabilities, but these come at the cost of significant security challenges. Some of the common challenges that organizations face when attempting to secure their SD-WAN infrastructure include:

  • Inadequate Security Services: With SD-WAN, an organization can’t rely on traffic flowing through the corporate LAN and the defenses deployed at the corporate data center. All branch locations require enterprise-grade security for secure connectivity to the public Internet.
  • Visibility: SD-WAN routes traffic through the best available route, which may not pass through an organization’s existing network monitoring tools. Security requires visibility, and SD-WAN makes distributed network monitoring and visibility essential.
  • Service Delivery: Different branch locations may have different security requirements and varying capabilities to host security solutions in-house. Software-Defined WAN makes it necessary to tailor security deployed at each branch to its unique requirements.
  • Inconsistent Policies: Consistent security policies and policy enforcement across the enterprise is essential to effective security. SD-WAN makes this more complex to accomplish due to the varying needs and capabilities of different locations.
  • Scalable Management: Security must grow with the organization and its evolving needs. Distributed security and management across many different sites is difficult to scale effectively.
  • Separation of Duties: Companies often run a separate network operations center (NOC) and security operations center (SOC). Software-Defined WAN combines network and security capabilities in a single solution, which can be difficult to reconcile with network and security teams’ differing priorities and duties.

SD-WAN Security Features

When implementing SD-WAN security, it is vital to select a solution that provides all headquarters and branch locations with the security that they require. An ideal SD-WAN security solution offers the following features:

  • Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) Inspection: A next-generation firewall integrates the functionality of a traditional firewall with an intrusion prevention system (IPS), antivirus, anti-bot, URL filtering, application control, and identity management. Securing with NGFW provides comprehensive protection against Internet-based threats.
  • Prevention-Focused Security: An SD-WAN solution should focus on threat prevention, rather than detection and response after the fact. This includes access to up-to-date threat intelligence and sandboxed analysis of suspicious content backed by artificial intelligence (AI) security engines.
  • Unified Security Monitoring, Management, and Policy Enforcement: SD-WAN monitoring and management can be complex due to the wide array of branch locations and their security needs. Unifying security monitoring, management, and policy enforcement helps to ensure that the organization can maintain consistent security across all of its sites and can scale to meet the evolving needs of the business.
  • Flexible Deployment Options: SD-WAN may be deployed in a variety of different branch locations, each with its own requirements and hosting capabilities. SD-WAN security solutions should be able to meet the unique needs of each branch location, offering Cloud Network Security as a Service, Software Virtual Network Functions (VNFs), or a Security Gateway Appliance as potential options.

Best Security and Best Networking: SD WAN should not be a choice between network performance and security. An ideal security solution combines the capabilities of a leading SD-WAN provider such as VMware, Silver Peak, Cisco, Citrix, Aruba, and Aryaka with the security capabilities of a top security provider such as Check Point.

SD-WAN Security with Check Point

SD-WAN is an essential component of many organizations’ digital transformation strategy, and ensuring the security of SD-WAN infrastructure is vital to providing branch locations with safe connectivity to the public Internet. When evaluating solutions, companies should not be forced to choose between network performance and security.

Check Point offers SD-WAN security solutions that integrate with leading Software-Defined WAN solutions, providing both the best networking and best security. To learn about what to look for in an SD-WAN solution, check out this buyer’s guide. Then, sign up to be an early adopter of Check Point’s Quantum SD-WAN.

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