Taking Branch Networks from Fragile to Agile with SD-WAN
The Managed Service Provider (MSP) mission of delivering a better network management experience, while increasing revenue and profits, is being made possible thanks to software-defined Network Functions Virtualization (NFV). It’s a fact that NFV led to the current SD-WAN business boom that is driving distributed businesses to replace expensive MPLS links. SD-Branch takes an evolutionary step beyond SD-WAN for the branch locations and aims to not only virtualize networking and security functions, but also to integrate various hardware options into a single on-premise device and management via a single pane of glass. SD-Branch solutions provide clear visibility and total control of the branch network.
The Benefits for the MSP and the Client
Simplicity. Connecting the branch is just the first step, which can be done rather quickly and easily by non-technical staff (within hours instead of weeks). Plugging in a pre-configured multi-function edge appliance at the branch to a broadband connection is as straightforward as it can be.
Agility. The SD-WAN connection enables the MSP to perform other functions remotely without the need for a truck roll. Consequently, zero-touch provisioning of a single branch appliance becomes a time and money saver for both the MSP and the client.
Business Continuity. Network resiliency can be achieved in many ways, such as by bonding diverse carriers (DSL or cable) while meshing VPN links across the WAN, and then by enabling 4G LTE cellular failover that goes online automatically when the broadband connection fails.
Visibility and Control. Traffic segmentation, application performance and QoS is all managed remotely via a single pane of glass: a cloud-based orchestrator. By virtualizing network functions, control is achieved from anywhere at any time. You can manage a client’s SD-WAN network from a mobile phone these days.
Security. As communications are encrypted end-to-end, security is inherent. Access to cloud-based consoles is protected by two-factor authentication. Managing a next-gen firewall (NGFW), scheduling regular vulnerability scans and leveraging device logs for security information and event management (SIEM) becomes much more efficient thanks to the visibility and control offered by a single SD-Branch appliance that features deep packet inspection, traffic segmentation, content filtering, and many features that protect the perimeter of the network. Managed Security Service Providers (MSSP) would be smart to add these network security capabilities to their cybersecurity services.