What is SD-WAN Security?
SD-WAN Security Defined
Software-defined Wide Area Networking, or SD-WAN, is a technology that allows organizations to connect remote users with applications and IT resources using a variety of connections and software-defined networking. SD-WANs reduce networking costs and improve performance by routing traffic more efficiently and allowing users to connect directly to cloud applications.
However, enabling direct-to-cloud connections introduces new risks since traditional gateway defenses no longer protect the traffic. Organizations need new technology to follow network traffic to ensure SD-WAN Security, moving security functions closer to users and sites. Security-focused SD-WAN products prevent intrusion in branch networks, block malware at remote locations, and control which cloud apps remote users can access.
With appropriate SD-WAN Security solutions, organizations can allow effortless connection to cloud resources while protecting users, data, and IT environments from attack.
What is SD-WAN?
Wide Area Networks (WANs) enable users at branch locations to connect to applications and resources within an organization’s data center, typically over MPLS lines. To ensure security, WAN traffic must be backhauled to a central point for security inspection as networks become more distributed and complex; backhauling traffic limits bandwidth and add latency.
To achieve better performance and security while reducing costs, software-defined wide-area networking enables organizations to augment MPLS connections with low-cost, commodity internet connectivity. SD-WAN provides a centralized control function that optimally routes traffic throughout the WAN using the most efficient connections.
SD-WAN enables organizations to:
- Minimize network costs. SD-WAN allows organizations to replace expensive MPLS lines with commodity internet links via DSL, cable or fiber, and Virtual Private Network (VPN) software.
- Enhance productivity. By enabling direct-to-cloud connectivity, SD-WAN technology makes it easier to deliver faster performance, allowing users at remote sites to access the cloud-based resources they need to stay productive easily.
- Reduce operational costs. Offering centralized management, comprehensive visibility, and greater control, SD-WAN solutions reduce costs by allowing IT teams to manage networking more efficiently and avoid maintaining a patchwork of different solutions.
Types of SD-WAN Security
Because SD-WANs do not backhaul traffic through a central data center for security inspection, organizations can no longer rely on the same security stack to inspect traffic and block attacks. Additionally, the distributed nature of SD-WANs makes it harder to enforce policies consistently throughout the network, as various locations have different needs and security capabilities.
Most SD-WAN services provide encryption technology to protect traffic between remote sites and the cloud. While encryption solutions ensure privacy and prevent traffic from being spied on, this technology can’t protect branch networks from intruders, prevent malware from being introduced via webpages or downloaded content, or manage user access to cloud applications. Organizations need additional inspection and filtering defenses at the network edge to ensure SD-WAN Security rather than solely in centralized data centers.
To address these SD-WAN Security issues, organizations need three levels of security solutions:
Network security has traditionally relied on firewalls as a first line of defense. Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFWs) advanced intrusion prevention and anti-malware defenses. However, many solutions rely on separate SD-WAN firewalls deployed at each location, making managing SD-WAN Security more complex. Ideally, organizations should choose an SD-WAN that contains NGFW security in a single solution, eliminating the need to manage two separate technology stacks.
Secure Web Gateways (SWGs) can augment SD-WAN Security by preventing users from accessing inappropriate sites, enforcing acceptable use policies, scanning files to detect and block malware, and applying data loss prevention policies to prevent malicious or inadvertent leaks.
Cloud access security
As more users connect directly to the cloud via SD-WAN technology, organizations need Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASBs) that can monitor which cloud apps users are accessing and automatically take action to encrypt or quarantine sensitive data when appropriate.
Important Features of an SD-WAN Security Solution
There are several essential features that organizations are wise to look for when choosing an SD-WAN company.
Integrated security architecture
Many SD-WAN providers do not provide an integrated solution – they merely offer networking technology and expect customers to integrate their security architecture. However, security integration is often the most complex part of SD-WAN implementation. Solutions that integrate NGFWs and unified threat management can significantly reduce the burden on IT teams.
Real-time access control and network scanning
Because SD-WAN moves security functions to the network edge, SD-WAN Security solutions must provide access control and intrusion prevention tools at each location, in addition to real-time scanning that can detect advanced threats.
Protection of cloud service data
Many SD-WAN services must enable security teams to control how users store and share data in cloud services. Yet, direct-to-cloud connectivity is among the most common factors in data breaches. To ensure security, organizations need solutions to safeguard access to cloud apps and manage data protection policies.
Monitoring for unauthorized cloud service
Over half of the employees use cloud services not sanctioned by IT, preventing the organization from having any control over the data stored and shared on these platforms. Superior SD-WAN solutions will offer visibility into all network activity, making it easy to track unauthorized use of cloud services.
SD-WAN Security with Forcepoint
Enterprises and government agencies worldwide rely on Forcepoint to connect and protect their highly distributed offices, stores, and branches. Forcepoint has pioneered solutions that deliver central management of multiple network connections combined with strong security and was the industry’s first provider to identify and defend against advanced evasion techniques that attackers use to sneak malicious code through most network defenses.
Forcepoint FlexEdge Secure SD-WAN enables organizations to connect people, places, and IoT networks securely. Forcepoint keeps hybrid workforces connected with networking that automatically balances loads and proactively identifies performance issues before interrupting productivity.
SD-WAN Security at branch offices and remote sites around the globe can be easily managed from a single console. Forcepoint simplifies the setup and management of SD-WAN at scale, enabling updates and upgrades without requiring staff to be on site.
Forcepoint enables organizations to:
- Reduce risk. With Forcepoint SD-WAN Security, organizations experience fewer gaps in security, ultimately leading to fewer breaches.
- Streamline compliance. Unified control, greater visibility, and faster incident response enable IT teams to demonstrate compliance and respond more efficiently to auditors’ requests.
- Improve productivity. Forcepoint solutions deliver higher availability, faster app performance, and richer connectivity, including multi-cloud and site-to-site connections.
- Reduce costs. Forcepoint helps reduce the cost of managing SD-WAN technology and security by providing a single-vendor solution and enabling teams to manage SD-WAN implementations from a single console.