Security is a business risk that has elevated to board-level discussions.
Increasing privacy regulations and compliance requirements meant that organisations were already looking for security solutions that alleviated vulnerabilities in an era where a data or security breach is almost inevitable.
When COVID-19 hit, cybercriminals also increased their activity, creating additional risks and vulnerabilities, especially for organisations that were suddenly transitioning their workforce to work remotely. The need to move fast often meant that security was overlooked. If security was prioritised, it could hinder the business’s agility. Boards are, therefore, looking for security solutions that can also act as a business enabler.
The answer could lie in software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN), said Jon McGettigan, regional director, Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands at Fortinet.
“Boards understand that security can no longer be limited to ticking compliance boxes and then looking the other way. Security must be inherent in everything an organisation does,” he said. “This is becoming more complex as organisations work across a growing number of remote locations.
According to McGettigan organisations need a solution that delivers secure connectivity alongside reduced costs, enhanced user experience, less exposure to risk, and a deeper understanding of where the business’s assets are.
SD-WAN can reduce costs by providing optimised, multipoint connectivity using distributed, private data traffic exchange and control points. This gives users secure, local access to the services they need, whether from the network or the cloud, while securing direct access to cloud and internet resources, he said.
“A secure SD-WAN solution can enhance multicloud application performance, ensuring that organisations can access everything they need in the cloud.”
This is valuable for organisations supporting remote workers, as it means workers can access the systems, data, and applications they need in the cloud without concerns around security or performance.
McGettigan said, “SD-WAN provides excellent application performance, dynamically supporting applications to ensure they receive the horsepower they require so users aren’t affected by latency or lag.”
When organisations are looking to set up new sites quickly, SD-WAN can act as a companion link to multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) links, delivering initial connectivity in a secure and reliable way that expedites the business’s ability to get up and running immediately. Then, after the MPLS link is installed, SD-WAN can remain in place to deliver ongoing benefits.
As organisations increasingly move to the cloud as part of their business transformation, they’re also seeing their edges transforming. Secure expansion from the WAN edges and access edges is essential. And, even after the COVID-19 threat recedes, enabling remote workers will continue to be non-negotiable for most organisations.
“Flexibility is essential in today’s digital networks where traffic is comprised of advanced web applications and complex workflows. However, security mustn’t be overlooked,” McGettigan said, “SD-WAN provides superior flexibility, and it’s essential to choose an SD-WAN solution that includes integrated security. Furthermore, both security and network functions need to be managed through a single, integrated management platform.”