Scared of The Cloud?
You aren’t alone. Accessing cloud applications is a top priority for several of our clients at CTC Technologies. But after using MPLS-based networks for years and keeping apps in-house in the data center, many business owners are wary of connecting to something as obscure as “the cloud” and switching over to SD-WAN technology.
No matter your precautions about it, more and more cloud apps are being accessed via Internet and companies are moving from or augmenting their MPLS with SD-WAN capabilities.
What has been a concentrated market, ruled by only a few key players for years, is diversifying and gaining speed, with some projections estimating that the “SD-WAN technology and services market [is] poised to reach $6 billion by 2020,” (IDC.com).
For many companies, MPLS-based WANs alone are no longer efficient for this new way of connecting. They are looking for alternatives in the form of total SD-WAN consolidation or a mix-and-match Hybrid WAN solution that makes use of both MPLS and the Internet.
Common problems our clients have with MPLS include:
- The high cost
- Slow traffic across network
- Not well-suited for accessing apps in the cloud
- Less bandwidth than SD- or Hybrid WAN architectures
- Not as flexible as the virtual overlay of SD-WAN
- Not as much visibility into the WAN
The issues listed above are typically why our clients seek us out for network solutions in the first place. However, despite their MPLS frustrations, many of them are concerned about decreased security when it comes to a Software-Defined WAN. Sometimes, they’re just not quite ready to make the leap over to a completely new network infrastructure.
If your IT team is worried about switching because of security concerns, we’ve got some good news. SD-WAN can actually increase your network security, and you can still use MPLS for some functions if you don’t want to make a complete move.
SD-WAN and Your Security
With a large-scale hack in the news every few months, it’s no wonder why business owners are nervous about the security of their WAN.
The increase in Internet technology and mobile connectedness has opened up the possibility for attacks at more points across a network than ever before. This is a major obstacle for many business leaders who are concerned with securing their data in this expanding and evolving landscape, all while keeping up with consumer demands.
Here’s where that good news comes into play. SD-WAN will actually increase your network security while meeting demand and cutting your operational and capital expenses. Sounds a little like a caped avenger coming to save the day, does it not? SD-WAN Man to the rescue!
It’s not too good to be true.
SD-WAN can increase your network security by:
1. Encrypting network traffic.
Because all of your data will be traveling back-and-forth to the cloud, all of your data must be encrypted for protection. Many SD-WAN vendors provide encryption software that is easy to configure and immediately starts working to encrypt your data while it’s in flight. With encryption, you can rest easy knowing that your sensitive data, as well as that of your clients, is protected.
2. Segmenting the network.
There is never going to be a guarantee that your WAN will always be fully secured. Hacks happen. And when they do, you want to be sure that your network doesn’t completely fall under attack. By segmenting your WAN, SD technology makes it possible to limit the damage done by an attack to a manageable area, immediately alerting you to the problem so that your team can fix it and get back on track. With built-in fail-overs, a lot of network snafoos can be fixed without your consumers ever noticing something went wrong.
3. Having a central provisioning system.
Let’s take a look at traditional WAN architecture.
Let’s say for example’s sake, that this is a bank system, each node accounting for a corporate office or bank branch. As you can see, control only goes up and down between the corporate offices and the branches.
Bank branches cannot control each other, and only one corporate office can communicate with one bank branch at a time. This is a hugely inefficient and limits the control of communication.
Now, look at the architecture of an SD-WAN VPN.
Looking at the SD-WAN architecture, you can see that there is a “Controller” at the top. This controller is a piece of software (or a program) that runs as sort of a main panel – almost like a breaker box that you would find in a house. That’s where the name Software-Defined WAN comes from, because instead of corporate offices controlling the bank branches, you now have a piece of software that can control ALL of the nodes interdependently.
This central provisioning system allows for better communication and connection between all facets of your network and cuts your operational expenses.
4. Increasing visibility and control into your WAN.
Just like the increase in efficient communication, visibility into and control of your network will expand with SD-WAN. Software will allow you to see what is going on inside your WAN so that you can recognize problem points, see how your consumers are interacting with your apps and how traffic is travelling across your network.
Along with all of this visibility comes control. You can build, restructure and manipulate your network to suit all of your company’s specific needs and be sure that all lines of communication and traffic are traveling as quickly and safely as possible.
5. Optimizing performance.
Many of our clients worry that switching to an Internet-based network will decrease performance, but the opposite is actually true. We have much proof that ensures that an SD-WAN solution (whether you move to it completely or simply augment your MPLS with it) will actually increase your network performance more so than if you rely on MPLS alone.
SD-WAN Options: Find the Best Solution for Your Company
Increased security is just one of the many benefits you’ll get with SD-WAN. You can also enjoy savings on bandwidth, operational costs and capital expenditures while increasing network performance and communication.
Think you’re ready to explore some solutions? There are several big players in the SD-WAN game currently. You can shop around, read reviews and/or question companies that have made the switch to learn more about which vendor is right for you.
Before you buy, it’s important to do some research. It’s also a good idea to meet with your company’s decision-makers to come up with network priorities that you need to focus on moving forward. Some example questions you might want to answer before making the switch are:
- What are your network’s problem areas?
- What are your fears, frustrations or concerns with SD-WAN architecture?
- How much IT knowledge do you have on your team?
- How much do you want to implement SD-WAN with your current MPLS setup?
If you’d like to get started on your WAN window shopping, check out our recent blog post, “SD-WAN Vendor Reviews: CTC’s Top 5 Choices for 2016” to see a ranked list of our favorite vendors and their solution benefits.
Let us Help You
At CTC Technologies, our WAN experts would be happy to help you find the right network solution for your company. Feel free to get in touch with us.
Helpful resources to get you started on your journey to SD-WAN: