Different security approaches may fit different-sized customers.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

May 9, 2018

5 Min Read

**Editor’s Note: Read our list of 20 top SD-WAN providers offering products and services via channel partners.**

Aryaka and Cato Networks are often lumped into the same category of SD-WAN vendors that want to replace MPLS with internet.

But they are by no means identical.

Today we examine perhaps the most significant differentiating factor between the two upstart companies: their approach to security.

Check Point Software co-founder Shlomo Kramer built Cato on the premise of providing a built-in security platform, while Aryaka recently announced security partnerships with Radware, Palo Alto Networks and Zscaler.


Aryaka’s Gary Sevounts

Gary Sevounts, Aryaka’s chief marketing officer, tells Channel Partners that legacy enterprise WAN connectivity enjoyed the private, secure connectivity of MPLS. But SD-WAN introduced some uncertainty.

“From a security perspective, the traffic is moving away from a safe and secure private network environment to an internet environment, which by definition is not secure,” Sevounts said. “Internet traffic — you can’t control the half of it. It goes through multiple hubs that are not owned by the same company. It’s owned by people or companies we don’t know. It could be individuals, it could be companies, universities, governments and so on and so forth.”

Customers came to SD-WAN vendors asking for additional security measures to help navigate traffic through the new hubs.

Sevounts says vendors approach this demand with two broad categories. The first, which includes companies like VeloCloud, Silver Peak, Viptela and Aryaka, uses multiple technology partners to address different layers of security.

Cato is the probably the most well-known member of the second category, which does the security on its own and prevents the customer from needing to partner with other vendors. This presents an obvious cost advantage, but Sevounts says the first approach better addresses the various “layers” of security.

He says if a threat makes it through the appliance level, the other layers – be they at the cloud level or firewall level – will catch it.

Sevounts says Cato is trying to do more than one company can do, even though it has a “huge pedigree of security.”

“They want to be a combination of Cisco, Palo Alto Networks, Symantec, Radware, Zscaler,” he said. “With tiny resources, it’s really hard to have a security level as one of those companies, let alone all the companies.”

But Cato’s approach might fit very well with companies of a particular size. This is where the all-encompassing idea of the use case comes into play again.

“Small businesses may not have the same level of assets to protect, so their risk appetite may be quite a bit higher than large enterprises. They deploy this kind of model because it’s cheaper. Usually it provides better integration between different layers, and it doesn’t require as many resources,” Sevounts said. “There’s some cost and some simplicity benefit that for small businesses may be very appealing, while for large businesses, the risks that model brings are absolute show-stoppers.”

Aryaka has more than 800 enterprise deployments, and Sevounts says there is a correlation between vendors that adopted the ecosystem security strategy and vendors that …

… play well with midmarket and large businesses.

“At VeloCloud you see some large enterprises, albeit regional ones. You look at Silver Peak and Viptela; you see large businesses — again, albeit regional ones,” he said. “In our cases, it’s over 800 global and large enterprises embracing that model that is a best practice for enterprises.”

Expect a counterargument from Cato in the following months. The company recently announced the results of a new enterprise WAN study. The report concluded that businesses see SD-WAN as a means of simplifying both network architecture and security architecture.


I spent a few days with SD-WAN competitor Riverbed at its annual partner summit. Keynotes and executive interviews gave a clearer sense of how the San Francisco-based company is positioning itself in the market.

Bridget Bisnette, vice president of global channels and commercial sales, emphasized to me that Riverbed wants to shed the label of just being a WAN optimization company.

“We have the largest install base of WAN-Op in the world, but WAN-Op alone will not get your network modernized to allow you to implement digital-transformation initiatives,” she said in an interview. For Bisnette and Riverbed, the more powerful modernizer is SD-WAN.

Our previous SD-WAN column voiced MetTel’s sentiment that WAN optimization alone doesn’t qualify as SD-WAN. Riverbed spent much of its partner summit showing that it offers more than that.

Chief Technology Officer Hansang Bae demoed the combination of the company’s SteelHead WAN optimization technology and its SteelConnect SD-WAN product. Bae argued that those offerings together provide a marriage of network visibility and control.

Martello and Elfiq

We haven’t written much about Elfiq Networks, which has been around since 2003. The company says it was offering SD-WAN before the technology was even called that.

Martello Technologies officially merged with Elfiq in January. Martello is known for its software that manages and monitors unified-communications networks and has a long-standing relationship with Mitel. It’s this insight into unified communications that CEO John Proctors says makes a strong pairing with SD-WAN.

It’s been a busy year so far for Martello and its subsidiary Elfiq. The company is prepping for a public launch, hiring a new chief financial officer this week. Elfiq last month launched a new as-a-service offering for managed service providers.

Quick Hits
  • SD-WAN continues to grow as an important piece in Windstream‘s revenue strategy. Edward Gately has the write-up on the company’s quarterly earnings report.

  • IHS Markit released a report that shows that the majority of enterprises have conducted a trial for SD-WAN. Read our article about the study.

  • We sat down for an interview with Comcast Business about its SD-WAN offering. Comcast, which partners with Versa Networks, says it is the only cable provider offering the technology.

  • Several companies announced SD-WAN offerings at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo. XRoads Networks, Zero Outages, WCS, GeoLinks and Access Point all made announcements.

  • BCM One partnered with Talari Networks to offer its product to agents. Read their announcement.

  • Our “Channel Chief Curmudgeon” column has a colorful anecdote about managed SD-WAN.

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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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