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Security identified as key issue for enterprises at WAN Summit London

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SD-WAN can act as both a challenge to traditional enterprise networking security models, and as a solution to overcome flaws inherent in them.

That was the view of an expert panel at this year’s WAN Summit, which was held at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, London, on 17-18 October.

The panel consisted of vendors, enterprises, and integrators, discussing the topic of challenges in network security from edge to cloud. Moderator Daniel Hunt, of Wavestone Advisors, asked the panel its views on the impact of new technologies on security needs.

Marc Sollars, of vendor Teneo, said that new technology can be used to enhance security, but it was a key consideration for enterprises of all shapes and sizes.

Sollars said: “Technologies like SD-WAN can provide security enhancements, but we’re not seeing a vertical that security doesn’t affect – we’re seeing a different appetite for security across different verticals.”

This is still the case despite the changing nature of network security, meaning that it is not just companies who handle sensitive data who are concerned with having the most secure networks.

Sollars added: “It’s not about being hacked anymore but making sure your business applications are up and running – things like DDoS. If you were having a DDoS issue on SD-WAN, it can automatically reroute your traffic and you’ll have more visibility over it.”

WAN Summit events often include live polling. Prior to the security session, WAN Summit chai Greg Bryan asked the audience how most of their companies are structured when it comes to tackling security. Almost half said responsibility for security was shared between the security teams and network managers. However, almost 40% said it was outside of the remit of the WAN/ infrastructure team.

Security features still ranked relatively low when it came to the question of what SD-WAN service feature is most important when selecting a vendor. It trailed behind deployment model, pricing and monitoring features.

Laurent Zimmerli of OpenSystems was also on the panel. On firewalls, he said: “If you look at purely cloud based firewalls, there are certainly advantages. Things like scalability can be key when it’s a high priority. It can also help shift costs from capex to opex. But there are also challenges when you start. All of th traffic you want to be filtered have to go the cloud first and then be routed to where you want to go, which can cause performance related issues, so that needs to be looked at. Security needs to be a part of the entire infrastructure.”

Representing enterprises was Barclays VP of network strategy and innovation Robin Atkin. He said: “You have to make a decision – will you route to your provider over the internet or through a private route? You probably want to encrypt that data, but to do that you need a gateway to terminate it on – not a problem with the likes of Azure – but you will end up paying for the compute power for that. AWS has a more on traditional networking model. At Barclays, we’re scaling thousands of accounts.

“You also have to consider latency – how are your sites going to hit those . While we like the idea of moving to public cloud, we can’t do this completely.”

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