SD-WAN’s Role in Security and Network Convergence

SD-WAN’s Role in Security and Network Convergence

10 August 2020 | Lindsay Newell, Head of Marketing, Nuage Networks from Nokia

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How the cloud changed everything

Q.  How has the increasing move to the cloud accelerated the need for SD-WAN in enterprise networks?

The move to cloud, especially hybrid cloud, makes WAN traffic flows a lot more unpredictable, with branch traffic going to many destinations, not just a few corporate data centers. But legacy applications aren’t going away, so enterprises need a way to connect everything in a more dynamic and flexible way which is difficult to do with a legacy ‘hub and spoke’ network architecture that has been around for 20+ years. For these reasons, SD-WAN has become the ‘go to’ network solution for digital transformation and ‘cloud first’ or ‘cloud native’ IT strategies.

Q.  What role does SD-WAN play in network security?

With more complex traffic patterns, connections to public clouds and use of broadband for network transport, the threat surface of a typical enterprise has expanded significantly in recent years. In addition to providing secure, encrypted tunnels between all locations, SD-WAN allows centralized policy decisions to be enforced throughout the network, reducing the risk of human errors and exposure to increasingly sophisticated and persistent threats. Traditional approaches to security have focused on specific devices (e.g. firewalls at the perimeter of the network), while SD-WAN is more flexible and allows embedded security throughout the network, shifting the focus to a full-lifecycle approach to security including prevention, detection and response. SD-WAN implementations are also more flexible, with options including embedded firewalls in SD-WAN gateways, running 3rd party security functions as a VNF, service-chaining security functions in the cloud or integrating with Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASB).

Q.  How does SD-WAN enable enhanced agility and flexibility to customers?

SD-WAN offers the option to create full-mesh, partial mesh or hub-and-spoke architectures or any combination, with centralized control, abstraction and automation. This gives enterprises the flexibility to rapidly adapt to the needs of IT and the business compared to traditional networks, which historically assumed few changes would be required after installation. SD-WAN also provides network-wide application awareness, security and policy, with massive data collection built into the network to allow frequent and rapid optimization and re-configuration based on near real-time analysis of network and application performance and events.

Q.  What offerings does Nuage have to meet these needs for security, flexibility and software-defined networking?

Nuage has been a pioneer in the SDN and SD-WAN market since 2014, bringing automation and optimization to data center and cloud networking initially, then to enterprise wide area networks with its Virtual Network Services (VNS) product family and Network Services Gateway (NSG) customer premise equipment. In 2018, Nuage was the first vendor to deliver an SD-WAN 2.0 solution, expanding beyond the basic branch connectivity provided by most vendors. Nuage’s SD-WAN 2.0 solution provides centralized policy, application optimization, embedded security, public cloud integration, massive scalability and integration with legacy underlay networks to simplify network migration and expansion. An enterprise portal provides simplified dashboards and extensive reporting while managed service providers can benefit from multi-tenancy and full access to all the complex features and functions required for configuration and troubleshooting.

Q.  What value add or key differentiators does Nuage offer to its customers?

Nuage developed VNS from the ground up as an SDN platform, so it doesn’t suffer from the limitations of legacy products that have added SD-WAN as a recent capability. The Nuage OS has its foundation in the service provider IP routing market, making it ideally suited to large-scale, multi-tenant SD-WANaaS deployments and capable of handling global, complex large enterprise networks. The open-systems approach of using x86 based gateways also allows a flexible deployment model for security, 3rd party VNFs for value-add services and integration with public-cloud. Customers and smaller service providers that prefer to outsource network operations can also take advantage of Nuage’s cloud-hosted SD-WAN service. In addition to being one of the first vendors to achieve MEF 3.0 SD-WAN certification in January 2020, Nuage was the first vendor to integrate mobile and IoT users and devices with SD-WAN via a partnership with Asavie that was announced in April 2020.

Q.  Looking ahead, what are Nuage’s strategic priorities for the rest of 2020 heading into 2021?

Nuage will continue to enhance its solutions to meet global, large-scale enterprise customer needs with more complex use-cases while simplifying deployment, monitoring and troubleshooting. As part of Nokia, which is leading the move to 5G, Nuage will also integrate 5G and innovate in mobile broadband and private wireless use-cases for industry 4.0 companies as well as continuing to lead the industry with SD-WAN 2.0 solutions for mobile, IoT and home working.