Security will be the next big concern for SD-WAN
Big Interview

Security will be the next big concern for SD-WAN

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Capacity talks to Aryaka SVP and GM of EMEA Ian McEwan about the importance of security in SD-WAN deployments

As the scale and complexity of security threats continues to grow year-by-year, the need for enterprises to protect themselves at a network level increases accordingly. Yet the move to SD-WAN has left a question mark around security – what are the implications of more flexible networking when it comes to protecting the WAN?

As SD-WAN competition intensifies, enterprises will need more than just security add-ons. That means the ability to encrypt data in transit and the guarantee that the physical device has been vetted by top third-party security firms.

This is part of the reason behind Aryaka, an SD-WAN-as-a-Service prodiver, and its decision to launch a security Passport service, partnering with a number of key security vendors to offer a comprehensive security platform.

In November, Aryaka announced Symantec as the latest technology partner on its Passport ecosystem, joining the likes of Palo Alto Networks, Zscaler, and Radware.

Ian McEwan, Aryaka’s SVP and GM for EMEA, says that it has seen more and more WAN managers and even CIOs looking at the role of security in SD-WAN.

“Where we’re seeing the security element is that it is one of the key elements that customers – particularly CISOs – look at,” he explains. “The big driver is that as we see more and more industry’s moving towards the internet of things being deployed in everyday processes, you’ll find a lot more AI and big data analytics relationships. Longer term, that’s where we would like to go and that is being driven by what our customers ask of us. “

This is being driven by concern around security threats, he added. So Aryaka launched Passport in March. Passport offers a multi-layered security platform and ecosystem. It is made up of Aryaka’s own global private network, with each company’s traffic traversing through dedicated (not shared) layer 2 links with end-to-end encryption.

It also offers fortified industrial-grade security measures such as DDoS attack prevention, using tech from Radware. Aryaka also provides a layer of advanced cloud security for Internet and cloud-bound traffic via partnerships with Palo Alto Networks GlobalProtect Cloud Services and Zscaler Cloud Security.

“In today’s cloud-centric world, global organizations are looking to SD-WAN to deliver solutions that offer reliable global connectivity, fast and consistent application performance anywhere in the world, and enhanced network visibility in an environment that assures the highest level of enterprise-grade security,” said Gary Sevounts, CMO at Aryaka said when it launched. “Working closely with industry leaders like Palo Alto Networks, Zscaler, and Radware, Aryaka delivers a platform with unified, best-of-breed global SD-WAN and security solutions that are affordable and accessible to all global enterprises.”

With Symantec added, Aryaka will be able to leverage an open ecosystem that includes a complete API framework, as well as integration with the Symantec Integrated Cyber Defense Platform. Aryaka and Symantec will explore and strive to offer API-based integrated solutions that best service customers and help protect them from security threats.

McEwan adds: “The underlying factor is concern around security threats. If you look at some of the newer, flexible security players in this field, you’ll probably see more partnerships. We’ll see several others come to play. Passport for us will become like the marketplace for Microsoft with lots of technology partners there. If customers pick Aryaka for SD-WAN they are able to plug in part of their ecosystem into their connectivity partner.”

McEwan has been with Aryaka for around a year, but prior to this, he worked in digital transformation, having held roles at numerous companies ranging from IBM to Gigamon and, most recently, Binary Tree, where he was MD and VP of sales for EMEA and APAC. There, he was tasked with transforming enterprises – a role that helped prime him for joining Aryaka, he says.

“I joined at the start of the year and came into the SD-WAN space from the digital transformation side, having worked for cloud service providers,” McEwan adds. “The biggest challenge I saw was performance, scalability and flexibility of networks on that side. So I made the move across to SD-WAN. In essence, the CFO and COO had worked with me in the past at Gigamon. Part of the journey is about helping to get Aryaka to the point where we can get an IPO out to market.”

Key to the future of Aryaka is partnerships, which will help drive real benefits for its enterprise customers as well as the carrier market.

Says McEwan: “The key thing for Aryaka when we look at partnerships is that we’ve got some good seed investments which have helped us to drive growth but it is in technology partnerships where we are beginning to see real benefits. When I talk about the communication dilemma you’ve got a cloud friendly architecture and complexity, but you’ve also got fragmented security. Under the umbrella of the Aryaka Passport is working with companies like Palo Alto, ZScaler, Microsoft Azure, the plan is to have a stronger offering customers who are making the journey to the cloud but are very conscious about security.”

Another factor is its relationship with carriers and operators – what McEwan calls “co-opetition”. Notable operator partners who leverage their own brand but use Aryaka’s global private network include the likes of KDDI, SK Telecom, and China Mobile Internation.

He adds: “Some of the traditional telcos are now beginning to partner with Aryaka and the reason for this is it allows them to offer customers the ability to have an infrastructure that is going through to the next level. Everyone is talking about digital transformation – according to IDC by 2020 80% of revenue growth will depend on digital operations. So that will need more cloud activity and more flexibility to jump on a network as quickly and seamlessly as possible.

“As company’s move towards digital, they need more flexibility in their networks. And that is why partnerships are going to be key to us.”