In the current era of cloud transformations, enterprises’ connectivity requirements continue to grow rapidly to keep up with the demands of their customers, employees, and market. But, in this environment, navigating data security has quickly become a critical concern. While the cost savings, flexibility, and scalability benefits brought by cloud communications are undeniable, they have also introduced new security risks, such as cyber attacks, data breaches, and unauthorized access.
This is especially true for global enterprises that have a main office in one place, and branches spread across different locations, and countries. Their connectivity and security systems need to be reliable, fast, and interconnect their different points of presence without risking data breaches. WANs and, more specifically, SD-WANs have emerged as a solution to meet these increasingly complex connectivity needs.
The term WAN (wide area network) edge refers to the network and security systems that connect various locations of a business, such as shops, branch offices, and factories, to other sites and to applications, analytics, or other relevant services from cloud platforms.
The “SD” in SD-WAN edge refers to “software-defined”. SD-WAN edge uses intelligence to identify where each applications’ traffic should route to for the best user experience (UX). So what does this mean for your business?
In short, an SD-WAN edge enables a much-improved user experience for your SaaS, cloud, web and mobile applications, whilst protecting your organization with the highest security. This includes a combination of services – from web filtering and built-in intrusion detection systems to prevent threats from entering and spreading across the different branches, to SASE (secure access service edge) models. The latter has grown exponentially since the pandemic, as it addresses the specific limitations of SD-WANs for enterprises with remote or hybrid models.
SD-WAN edge and SASE as evolving trends in enterprise connectivity
Unsurprisingly, the pandemic changed the way we view remote and hybrid work, with 70% of employees now insisting that companies have flexible work policies. This has forced businesses to adapt, accelerating their digital transformation and boosting cloud adoption. The rise of cloud connectivity has, in turn, made it mission-critical for businesses to have reliable and secure access to these resources from anywhere in the world.
With SD-WAN edge, enterprises can benefit from a smart, cost-efficient connectivity that acts based on the rules set by themselves, and without being limited to a single network provider. However, SD-WAN alone may not be sufficient for businesses with hybrid and remote models because traffic must pass through the headquarters (HQ) to ensure security, which could impact Quality of Service (QoS). This is where SASE comes into play. SASE combines a set of security cloud-based applications and technologies, such as secure web gateway and firewall-as-a-service, into a single, integrated service. For enterprises, this means they can move the security validation away from the HQ and into the cloud, so that anybody can connect to the enterprise resources without requiring connectivity to HQ, and without any security risks.
The combination of SD-WAN edge with SASE models therefore meets this, and many other needs, of enterprises. Their value has caused the industry to grow, and the SD-WAN market’s size is estimated to reach $30,907.6 million by 2023.
Secure SD–WAN for maximized enterprise value
Secure SD-WAN adds a robust set of security functions that will be deployed in the cloud (SASE). We’ve looked into how SASE completes SD-WAN’s offering for hybrid and remote enterprises, which is one of the reasons their combination is growing in popularity among international businesses. But it isn’t the only way it’s benefitting them – this new connectivity trend brings three main advantages to enterprises:
- Maximum security for maximum agility: SASE’s integrated security features provide a more secure, direct access to cloud applications and data, from anywhere in the world. In doing so, they not only improve remote and hybrid models, they also increase flexibility by enabling enterprises to quickly adapt to changing requirements – such as fast deployments of new applications, services, or locations.
- Optimized network performance: SD-WAN and SASE use advanced networking technologies to improve the network QoS, and reduce latency – for an ultimately better UX. By guaranteeing security when enabling direct cloud connectivity, traffic routes and speed can be optimized.
- Lower costs: By eliminating the need for expensive Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) connections. and reducing bandwidth requirements, choosing SD-WAN edge with a SASE model will save funds. Network management costs can also be optimized as you can typically self manage your traffic from a portal or platform.
SD-WAN and SASE for the Internet of Things (IoT) industry
For IoT businesses, it’s essential to establish secure and dependable connections between their applications across different locations and networks. However, with the increase in data generated by IoT devices, this task is becoming more challenging as it can result in problems related to performance, delay, and network congestion.
SD-WAN and SASE can address these challenges. Their more efficient and flexible architecture allows for better IoT network performance and security, through:
- Automation: Prioritizing critical data flows so that IoT data volumes don’t affect network performance.
- Network segmentation: Intelligently creating these segments, and safely routing traffic between them.
- Flexibility: Allowing for diverse technologies to connect IoT devices to the network, from broadband to LTE, with centralized management.
- SASE: Applying their advanced security features to IoT, to increase the devices’ protection against attacks
Therefore, an SD-WAN and SASE solution is becoming increasingly important for IoT businesses to future-proof their operations. It provides enhanced security, optimized traffic flows, and greater scalability, ensuring that IoT networks can adapt to evolving demands and threats.
Global enterprises who have not yet included the combination of SD-WAN and SASE in their roadmap should consider doing so for three reasons:
- Flexibility: These solutions are network agnostic, which means they provide more buying power, and therefore eliminate lock-in effects, whilst increasing scalability.
- Quality of service: Get improved QoS due to the integration with hyperscalers, resource management tools, and increased control.
- Cost saving: Lower network, hardware, and management costs; and prevent losses due to security breaches.
Finally, the emergence of SD-WAN edge and SASE solutions is not an isolated case. Nowadays, there are new technologies being released daily to help businesses in their digital transformation. At BICS, we are on a mission to make emerging technology accessible to enterprises – and this is at the core of everything that we offer.
Get in touch today to find out more about BICS’ solutions.