Blending SIEM and SD-WAN for Increased Security at the Edge

A combination of SD-WAN and SIEM power secure and agile networks that are fit to handle today’s digital transformations.

4 Min Read
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Highly distributed enterprises with many branch locations are rethinking their approach to network management and security. Software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) is a crucial technology that offers an affordable network infrastructure with greater network connectivity options combined with capabilities to protect branch devices and data. SD-WAN has been further extended to the concept of SD-Branch consisting of an SD-WAN architecture with a single multi-function edge device that replaces the need for separate routers, firewalls, cellular modems and access points. When fully rounded out with multi-layer security controls, cellular data and a cloud orchestrator, these enterprises are able to quickly deploy, secure and manage their networks with unprecedented visibility.

However, until recently, these SD-Branch solutions still lacked the ability to deliver the more immediate threat detection and effective response capabilities of cybersecurity’s proven workhorse: security information and event management (SIEM). Today’s cyber criminals seek to exploit any weakness in people, processes and technology, making advanced threat protection even more vital. Long found in the IT arsenal of larger enterprises, SIEM capabilities are rapidly being adopted within the SD-WAN edge to enhance visibility and to layer on additional cybersecurity protection. The need for SIEM capabilities at the branch level has increased greatly as more and more network traffic goes through the internet instead of being tunneled back to a corporate data center. As a result, the branch network is more likely to be vulnerable to cyber attacks.

Assessing the security posture of an organization is a key component of a SIEM solution. A SIEM system delivers comprehensive log analytics with audit-ready compliance capabilities. It identifies security threats, malware, unusual behavior and suspicious network traffic, and alerts you when you’re under attack. When coupled with a 24/7 security operations center (SOC), a SIEM system reduces complexity by combining connectivity, threat detection and compliance management into a single suite of managed network services. The synthesis of edge networking with SIEM capabilities enables better and faster security decision making.

Highly distributed organizations are looking to enhance visibility and agility while streamlining security operations and optimizing resources. In particular, network service providers are driving the value of coupling SD-WAN and SIEM through the support of managed security service providers (MSSPs). Key capabilities cited as the result of this cybersecurity convergence are:

  • Improved branch network visibility: Visibility across the entire organization is a crucial requirement in today’s “always-on” organization. A loss of visibility can lead to inefficient manual workarounds, network performance issues or, worse yet, security gaps that go undetected. IT teams of all sizes need single-pane-of-glass visibility and management to defend against advanced threats. Comprehensive 24/7 coverage from network and security experts comes with the integration of a managed SD-WAN and a managed SIEM solution.

  • Practical security operations: Collecting, correlating, monitoring and alerting on edge devices requires time and expertise that are often in short supply within distributed businesses like quick-serve restaurants (QSRs). With no additional agents or consoles to manage, the addition of SIEM capabilities to SD-WAN edge solutions like Netsurion BranchSDO ensures that you receive only the most suspicious events that require investigation and true follow-up. This one-stop-shop integration results in a higher level of cybersecurity protection with fewer tools to purchase and manage.

  • Expanded service capabilities: Many small-to-midsize (SMB) organizations and multi-location businesses lack the skills or expertise for device and log monitoring. Day-to-day operational responsibilities may limit the ability to track who has access to sensitive data, keep up with external vulnerabilities and provide early warning notice of suspicious activity. Malicious activity from both internal and external threats requires your constant vigilance. EventTracker SIEM service from Netsurion provides coverage 24/7 to sift through the volumes of log data and alert you to suspicious activity that warrants your valuable attention. This log correlation and threat detection improves your security posture and cybersecurity maturity.

SD-WAN and SIEM Use Case: Retail and Hospitality

Here’s a real-world use case where IT agility, simplicity and visibility enabled business growth for an expanding restaurant chain.

Digital transformation enhances uptime: Restaurant chain Hopdoddy Burgers is experiencing rapid growth, and resilient internet connectivity is a mission-critical requirement. Downtime means lost revenue, dissatisfied guests and employees, and potential compliance issues with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). Hopdoddy selected Netsurion’s SD-Branch and SIEM technology to gain better Wi-Fi connectivity and automatic cellular failover to better engage with guests and improve staff operations. Hopdoddy’s decision to partner with Netsurion improves cybersecurity and visibility by blending SD-Branch and SIEM to eliminate false positives of log monitoring and pinpoint high priority threats.

Multi-location businesses look to their IT service providers to drive digital transformation and customer engagement. Our comprehensive suite of solutions offers organizations of all sizes affordable, enterprise-level technology and support to improve network performance, ensure business continuity and uptime, and neutralize cyber threats.

Final Thoughts

There’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach to network security and operational security. You understand your organization best and know what gaps to fill in your security portfolio as well as the security posture of your customers. As the attack surface has expanded, so, too, has security complexity and cost. With Netsurion’s blended approach to SD-WAN and SIEM, IT service providers are able to power more secure and agile networks fit to handle today’s digital transformations.

This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

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