How to Improve Network Security with SD-WAN

Software-defined wide area networks (SD-WANs) are increasingly being used by geographically distributed organisations due to its efficiency and dramatic cost saving prospects. They help to improve the responsiveness and agility of businesses.

So, how does an SD-WAN solution do this? By enabling companies to use multiple forms of connectivity, it can deliver CAPEX and OPEX savings while improving performance across the WAN. Traditional WAN, on the other hand, can take weeks or even months to spin up, and SD-WAN that includes broadband can be online within hours.

It takes the right SD-WAN solution to allow for secure broadband internet services. And here’s how you can improve your network security with SD-WAN:

 

#1 Safely use broadband internet services for cost effective transport

The Internet has historically been too insecure for enterprise WAN use. Consequently, cloud-based application traffic is often backhauled from the branch across expansive multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) which can be an expensive and also performance compromising scenario.

However, the right SD-WAN solution would use encrypted tunnels between every site in the SD-WAN to ensure internet connections are secure and reliable. With edge-to-edge, encrypted tunnels and a stateful firewall, a secure SD-WAN solution can prevent unauthorized outside traffic from entering the branch.

 

#2 Apply micro-segmentation for highly granular security

Micro-segmentation is the segmenting of traffic based on application characteristics, performance requirements and security policies. It is a best practice approach to security, but it can be hard to apply in WAN environments.

However, with the right SD-WAN solution, you can deploy a fine-grained segmentation approach which extends beyond micro-segmentation to produce a zero-trust architecture.  With this, you can improve security by:

  • Segmenting and applying distinct policies for each application or group applications
  • Responding quickly to threats to contain and isolate them from other segments
  • Automating policy enforcement
  • Reducing the attack surface by isolating applications
  • Gaining greater control and manageability

 

#3 Make zero-touch provisioning secure

Zero-touch provisioning is the ability to bring a new branch, or remote location, online within a matter of minutes with no specialised IT expert needed at the branch. Zero-touch provisioning also minimizes the risk of human error due to the established policies which are then automatically distributed to all devices in the SD-WAN.

The right SD-WAN solution should offer you:

  • A chain of trust enforced through a controller, orchestrator, or certificate authority to authenticate branch devices
  • Strong encryption that creates a secure channel to enforce the chain of trust
  • Two-factor authentication for greater protection

The ability to take unauthorized or rogue devices out of the network by dropping all traffic and preventing the download of configuration information