January 12, 2021

SD-WAN or SASE: Choose a platform rather than a product

As enterprises set out to modernize their networks, SD-WAN has become a key networking technology for connecting offices. But with COVID-19, users transitioned to work at home, not in the office.

What’s the alternative? Buy more VPN servers? That’s short-term thinking, and only effective until enterprises need to change again, and users move back to the office. Then IT’s left with an infrastructure investment sitting underutilized.

No, to support the new requirements of the post-pandemic era, enterprises need a new strategy, one that addresses the needs of an uncertain working environment.

A Platform Rather than a Product

The biggest challenge for this new strategy is that it’s not clear as to what those needs will be. Yes, we need to have large scale, high performance remote access today, but that was a problem for IT back in January and March last year. What are tomorrow’s challenges? That’s harder to foresee. And since you don’t yet know what problems will arise, you can’t possibly buy a product to prepare for tomorrow – unless, of course, you’re prepared to gamble with your budget.

What you can do, though, is put in place a solution that has ALL the capabilities you’ll need but only activate those needed today. When new work conditions present themselves, the right platform can adapt quickly. Such a platform should be agnostic of the last-mile technologies. It should be lean enough to run anywhere on any device, connecting any kind of location – a branch, datacenter, or cloud resource. And it should have the geographical footprint, security capabilities, and optimization technologies to securely connect users across the globe without comprising the user experience.

A decade ago, such a comprehensive, global platform wasn’t possible. Today, though, the necessary networking and security technologies have matured to the point that they can be converged together. The Internet is everywhere. Processing resources are ubiquitous in the cloud. And 90 percent of the capabilities of routers, firewalls, and now, SD-WAN are common across vendors. The real value then comes not in any one product but in the convergence of those capabilities together.

Yes, SD-WAN is one of the capabilities in such a platform, but SD-WAN alone is not the answer. SD-WAN appliances are products aimed at addressing a very particular problem – the limitations of MPLS and legacy networks. They won’t connect your mobile users or solve your long-term remote access challenges because SD-WAN solutions are built for the branch. They also don’t secure users or sites against malware. SD-WAN solutions also fail to provide the backbone for predictable, global performance. To address these and other gaps, you’ll need yet more hardware or software limiting IT agility, fragmenting visibility, and increasing costs.

Comprehensive Visibility and Management Remain Critical

As we tackle new challenges with point solutions, we risk creating greater management problems for ourselves. Add a new security solution – new type of firewall, a SWG, or IPS – and you have yet another product to manage and maintain. Your visibility into the network becomes fragmented if you have one console for SD-WAN and another for the firewall, or global backbone provider. And once your view is fragmented, troubleshooting becomes dramatically more complex.

Having all technologies in one platform allows for a single-pane-of-glass. IT managers can see networking and security events in one interface for all users – at home or in the office – accessing any resource – in the cloud or in a private datacenter. Such holistic insight improves all facets of network and security operations from planning to provisioning new resources to troubleshooting.

And management delivery should be flexible enough to meet enterprise requirements. With self-service, enterprises configure and troubleshoot the networks themselves, doing in seconds what otherwise required hours or days with legacy telcos. For additional assistance, co-management should be available allowing customers to rely on ongoing support from the provider or its partners without relinquishing control for overall management. Fully managed offloads responsibility for moves, adds, and changes onto provider.

Support Well, Run Fast

A company’s network is critical infrastructure. It is the lifeblood of the organization’s communications and, quite often, its operations. Therefore, the customer/provider relationship should be viewed by both sides as a true partnership where each one can only succeed with full support from the other.

Such a partnership can be hard to establish when a vendor just wants to sell a product and move on to the next opportunity. It requires companies to not only support customers well but also innovate fast. By owning the platform, providers can deliver new features independent of any supplier. It’s the kind of innovation we’ve seen in cloud services but not telcos and legacy carriers. It’s up to you, though, to find providers that live up to this vision.

Making the Technology Transition to SASE

SD-WAN is a sophisticated technology, but it’s meant for meeting the challenges of yesterday not to tomorrow. The Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) is a comprehensive platform that blends SD-WAN with security and remote access many other capabilities to meet whatever challenges you face today and, tomorrow.

Have time for a coffee?

Face to face or over Zoom, we are here to help you.
Sharing insights and solving IT challenges.
We make "IT" possible.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Read more
You might also be interested in...
SASE vs. SD-WAN: Achieving Cloud-Native WAN Security

February 8, 2021

For several years now, the network evolution spotlight has been on SD-WAN, and rightfully so. SD-WAN provides big advancements in connecting branch locations into central data centers in a cost-effective manner. It is the networking equivalent of a killer application that allows companies to use a variety of transport mechanisms besides MPLS and to steer traffic according to business priorities.
Why Remote Work and Legacy Security Architectures Don’t Mix

January 25, 2021

Last week, Cato Networks announced the results of the 5th annual IT survey, The Future of Enterprise Networking and Security: Are You Ready for the Next Leap. It was a massive undertaking that saw 2,376 participants from across the globe provide detailed insights into how their organizations responded to the COVID-19 crisis, their plans for 2021, and what they think about secure access service edge (SASE).
SD-WAN or SASE: Choose a platform rather than a product

January 12, 2021

As enterprises set out to modernize their networks, SD-WAN has become a key networking technology for connecting offices. But with COVID-19, users transitioned to work at home, not in the office.
Connecting Hybrid Clouds with SD-WAN in a Snap

December 7, 2020

How to integrate hybrid clouds and multi-clouds with SD-WAN in 5 minutes or less.
Thought SD-WAN Was What You Needed to Transform your Network? Think Again.

November 9, 2020

Since its premier over a decade ago, SD-WAN was adopted by enterprises as the go-to-technology for preparing their network for the digital transformation.
Rethinking Enterprise Remote Access VPN Solutions: Designing Scalable VPN Connectivity

November 2, 2020

The global pandemic has forced many organizations around the world to send their workers home to support social distancing mandates. The process happened suddenly – almost overnight – giving companies little time to prepare for so many people to work remotely. To keep business functioning as best as possible, enterprises need to provide secure remote connectivity to the corporate network and cloud-based resources for their remote workers.
Secure Remote Work: Deploying Zero Trust Access

October 12, 2020

The global pandemic has forced knowledge workers to move out of their offices en masse to the isolated environment of their homes. Most will return to the office at some point, even if only part-time, as companies adjust to social distancing measures meant to keep employees safe.
How much does SD-WAN cost?

October 6, 2020

Calculating the cost of SD-WAN can be complicated, especially when it comes to CAPEX vs OPEX and ambiguous ROIs. With so many vendors promising massive savings over MPLS internet connections, SD-WAN is currently been touted as one of the hottest categories in networking today. Take a closer look at the costs, considerations, potential savings and leverage the SD-WAN calculator to estimate your organisations SD-WAN cost.
Considerations for a branch office firewall

October 5, 2020

Organisations looking for a branch office firewall upgrade, refresh or deploying firewalls to new sites, need to consider multiple different elements. Let's walk through all of the major factors to consider for a branch firewall and why organisations should consider SD-WAN, and more recently Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) as part of their next-generation of branch network security.
What is STaaS?

September 22, 2020

Storage as a service (STaaS) is a managed service model for purchasing data storage based on consumption, where a company only pays for what they use, typically on a per-GB per-month basis.
What is SD-WAN?

September 21, 2020

Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN) is a networking technology that seamlessly connects branch offices, HQs cloud and data centers over broadband internet rather than MPLS leased lines.
SD-WAN vs. VPN comparison

September 15, 2020

Internet-based VPN vs MPLS was the debate for some time, WAN technology has evolved in recent years. During that time, SD-WAN has emerged as an enterprise WAN connectivity solution that provides a combination of cost efficiency, agility, and cloud-friendliness that neither MPLS nor Internet-based VPN can match.
SD-WAN vs. MPLS vs. broadband public internet

September 10, 2020

To meet the needs of a global enterprise, our network architectures need to evolve as well. Which architectural approach will best serve your needs — MPLS, public internet or cloud networks?
SD-WAN vs. MPLS: Choose the best WAN solution for you

September 9, 2020

You've probably heard about SD-WAN and its promise to transform enterprise networking as we know it. And, by enterprise networking we mean the use of MPLS at the core of enterprise networks. So, to SD-WAN or to MPLS? Here is what you need to consider.
Alternatives to MPLS internet

September 8, 2020

SD-WAN is looking to address the challenges of MPLS like cost, capacity, rigidity, and manageability.
Challenges of SD-WAN security

September 6, 2020

A good starting point in explaining why cloud-native SD-WAN is so compelling from a security perspective is the shortcomings of two older WAN solutions: MPLS and appliance-based SD-WAN.
WAN Optimization in the SD-WAN Era

September 3, 2020

WAN optimization has been with us for a long time. Born alongside expensive and capacity constrained WAN connectivity, such as MPLS, WAN optimization appliances allowed organizations to squeeze more bandwidth out of thin pipes through compression, and prioritize traffic of loss-sensitive applications such as remote desktops.
History of SD-WAN

August 28, 2020

Let's take a look at the history of WAN and as we journey from Point-to-Point, T1/T3, Frame Relay, to MPLS, and finally arrive at SD-WAN.
How to load balance multiple internet connections?

August 18, 2020

Internet load balancing or fail-over for multiple internet connections can seem like a tight rope walk, but it doesn't have to be. There are multiple ways to accomplish it, from point products to routers and firewalls. Let's take a look at the options and alternatives.
How does SD-WAN work?

August 12, 2020

SD-WAN has quickly become the go-to technology for enterprises seeking to leverage the cloud and embrace digital transformation. Yet, much confusion still exists about what exactly is an SD-WAN, and how the technology works.
WAN Optimization vs. SD-WAN

August 11, 2020

With the rising popularity of SD-WAN, there is a growing debate that WAN optimization is becoming obsolete. SD-WAN is gaining acceptance and for good reason. It creates an intelligent overlay of multiple transports on your WAN to efficiently and automatically route traffic over the most optimal path.
How to connect multiple branch offices?

August 10, 2020

How do you connect multiple offices rapidly and affordably without sacrificing performance?
Last mile constraints for SD-WAN

August 3, 2020

From pairing MPLS with a backup internet connection, to link-bonding for aggregate last-mile, SD-WAN introduces new ways to handle old problems, with policy-based routing, active/active links, packet loss mitigation, and quality of service (QoS).
Affordable MPLS Alternatives

July 28, 2020

After decades of use, enterprises are looking for MPLS alternatives. To be considered a viable alternative, a network must match MPLS’ service levels for predictability and consistency, while avoiding its pitfalls of cost, rigidity and capacity constraints.
SD-WAN vs. MPLS redundancy

July 23, 2020

How can SD-WAN deliver the same reliability and redundancy as MPLS when it uses the public Internet?
How does SD-WAN benefit digital transformation?

July 21, 2020

Digital transformation is all about agility. SD-WAN enables organisations to be more agile in multiple different ways. Such as the ability to rapidly stand-up a new site with secure internet and inter-office connectivity, without the need for additional security appliances, make policy changes across multiple sites on-the-fly, gain real-time visibility of users and connections, on-board new VPN users for remote work without worries license or connection limits.
The Trombone Effect

July 3, 2020

The “Trombone Effect” occurs in a network architecture that forces a distributed organization to use a single secure exit point to the Internet. Simply put, network traffic from remote locations and mobile users is being backhauled to the corporate datacenter where it exits to the Internet through the corporate’s security appliances stack. Network responses then flow back through the same stack and travel from the data center to the remote user.
Evolution of SD-WAN

June 2, 2020

SD-WAN has become more than just a network for connecting locations. The rise of cloud, mobile, and business agility demands has required SD-WAN to become smarter by providing security, optimization, intelligence, and better reach. These changes in SD-WAN can be broken down into three phases, reflecting the ways that SD-WAN technologies have adapted over time to the demands of business requirements.
Before you go...

Get our top 3 e-books free.

ICG Asia will help you level-up on

For the generalist to the CxO.