SMOAD Networks

April 12, 2023

Maximising Network Security with SD-WAN

It is no longer a hidden fact that most multinational corporate agencies are adopting Software-Defined Wide Area Networks for efficient connectivity. The advanced features SD-WAN offers have helped businesses become more productive and efficient in their respective fields. Besides being less complex and easy to manage, SD-WAN architecture is more agile and cost-effective.

Though SD-WAN comes with built-in security features, enterprises must ask their IT team to maximise their SD-WAN security by using additional features. This post will help explain the ways to maximise network security with SD-WAN.

1) Use Broadband Internet Services for Cost-Effective Transport
Enterprises have always found internet usage to be insecure with traditional WAN. This is one of the reasons why traffic to cloud-based applications is backhauled using Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) links to a data centre before being transmitted to the Internet. This backhauling and transmission of data are not only costly but also give rise to latency and performance issues.

This can be best managed by directly connecting to SAAS and similar web applications from the base location or branch. The right SD-WAN solution will use the SSL security offered by the SAAS application for the traffic it transmits directly to the application from the base branch. For inter-branch and outside traffic, the built-in security provided by the SD-WAN solution will be at work.

2) Enhance security for Zero-touch provisioning.
One of the most essential and well-known benefits of SD-WAN is the ease of deployment. Whenever a business needs to set up a new branch in a new location, connectivity can be deployed in a matter of minutes and that too without the assistance of an IT team. In short SD-WAN solution makes zero-touch provisioning possible. Though the deployment process is easy and quick, you must ensure that the zero-touch provisioning is secure and safe. Hence, you must choose an SD-WAN solution that provides:

  • Enforcement of a chain of trust through an orchestrator, controller or a certificate of authority
  • A strong encryption
  • Remote and centralised approval, as well as cancellation of devices
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Authority and the ability to remove a bad device from the network

3) Connect Branches Directly to the Internet Applications
A highly functional SD-WAN solution can help steer internet-based application traffic from the branch directly to the Internet without giving space for backhauling. For maximum security, you must retain an SD-WAN solution that can differentiate between trustworthy SAAS and web applications that can be allowed directly to the Internet and the traffic that requires being backhauled to data centres for further security examination. SD-WAN solutions with predefined protocols to offer granular application inspection must be the first choice for multinational companies like yours. In short, choose an SD-WAN solution that prevents unauthorised outside traffic into the branch.

4) Easily Organise Application-Driven Security Policies
In order to obtain the best possible security available, the networking solution and the security technologies must complement one another. One way to achieve it is through service-chaining, wherein the SD-WAN solution is linked with the best available third-party security solution. A few service chain examples for SD-WAN are mentioned below:

Secure Web Gateway: This comes into use, especially when there are no physical or virtual firewalls being installed.

Branch Firewall: Most SD-WAN solutions come with built-in firewall features. But for Layer 7 inspection, the SD-WAN solution can be service chained with the firewall available at the branch level.

Data Center Firewall: In order to avoid the requirement for expensive firewalls at each branch location, multiple SD-WAN devices can be service chained to a firewall at the data centre or hub site.

Not all SD-WAN solutions allow the creation of service chains, and even if they do, not all solutions are easy to use and manage. Hence, it is crucial that you analyse the in-built functionalities as well as the capability of the SD-WAN solution to embrace new features. Most importantly, the SD-WAN solution you choose must be easy to deploy, arrange and manage from a remote location. It should allow zero-touch provisioning and must be able to link up with external security applications to offer the highest possible level of security for your business.