Enterprises continue to embrace digital transformation with the intent to increase efficiency, enhance customer satisfaction, pursue new market opportunities, boost profitability and maintain a competitive edge. The cloud is integral to any successful digital transformation initiative. Why? Today, there are more applications running in the cloud than in traditional enterprise data centers, and the majority of these applications are being consumed as software-as-a-service (SaaS).
Moreover, in the cloud-first world enterprises must ensure that applications are directly and securely accessible at any time, from any location using any device. They also want to ensure that the network consistently delivers the highest quality of experience to employees and customers. Finally, the explosion of mobile and IoT devices in the enterprise has dramatically increased the attack surface, exposing enterprises to security breaches that can compromise data and result in network downtime.
Today’s corporate networks were never designed for the cloud and fall well short on delivering the agility and security required to address the requirements of digital transformation. It is critical that enterprises not only secure applications in the cloud but also protect users connecting to these applications across the network. At the same time, today’s competitive business environment demands that enterprises deliver the highest quality of experience to customers through a network that maintains the performance and availability required to keep their business up and running.
Securing enterprise IoT with SD-WAN
The proliferation of IoT across the enterprise network increases the attack surface, adding a new dimension of complexity. IoT devices are agentless and therefore are not able to utilize ZTNA architectures to protect them from vulnerabilities. As shown in Figure 4, by deploying an advanced SD-WAN platform at branch locations, enterprises can configure unique policies and granularly segment the network to enforce security for IoT endpoints. This ensures the network can operate without interruption while mitigating risks associated with breaches.
An advanced SD-WAN platform also provides enterprises with additional flexibility to run thirdparty probes specifically for IoT security within the platform. By doing so, enterprises can use best-ofbreed IoT security and network solutions without incurring the incremental cost or management complexity associated with operating separate dedicated appliances.
With the constantly evolving approaches to delivering network security and the intricacy of building complex networking solutions, it is important to evaluate bestin-class security and network solutions from vendors that have proven experience and focus. It is unrealistic to find a single vendor that can deliver best-in-class capabilities across both domains and enterprises shouldn’t be forced to compromise with basic capabilities on either side.
Network transformation is critical for digital transformation success
In addition to all the benefits of migrating to a modern cloud-delivered security architecture, there is tremendous value in transforming the network for a cloudfirst enterprise. The traditional, router-centric WAN was never designed for the cloud. Enterprises must modernize their WAN architecture and rethink how to best architect their branch networks to improve the performance and security of cloud-based applications. Enterprises are increasing the use of cloud and SaaS, with a focus on delivering the highest quality of experience to users.
Network transformation encompasses providing a more efficient path and better experience between users and the cloud. As described previously, adoption of local internet breakout to cloud-hosted and SaaS applications directly from branch locations not only optimizes available bandwidth but also reduces any latency that can negatively impact user productivity.
To realise the full promise of the cloud and digital transformation, enterprises will need to transform both their WAN and security architectures — not just one or the other. A company may start with just one project, but it’s important to make decisions knowing that to realise the true value of cloud investments, both aspects eventually must be addressed.