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Versa Meets WFH Challenges with Secure SD-WAN

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Someone logging on to a remote network at home
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At this point, the picture of the new normal for enterprise IT has become clear — robust remote working solutions and the ability to turn on and scale SaaS applications at the drop of a hat. And just as the “new normal” label implies, these changes aren’t a temporary fix for just working through COVID-19, but rather a rethink of IT strategy that allows for flexibility regardless of the situation.
 
“The new normal is multicloud and hybrid and more SaaS applications,” said Mike Wood, CMO of Versa Networks, during a No Jitter briefing. And that has more enterprises giving a critical eye to more modern cloud-centric technologies, like SD-WAN, he added. The current need to support a distributed workforce at scale puts the on-premises vs. cloud application debate into focus and throws into question the viability of traditional VPN, hardware-centric models designed to handle access to applications when only a fraction of employees work remotely.
 
And with the work-from-home (WFH) shift, IT’s security pain point has followed behind, as well. “The home office is really becoming a bit of a hacker’s paradise because it's really the weakest link for the enterprise,” Wood said. Employees using personal devices and public Internet can expose confidential work information to attacks, and phishing scams are on the rise, according to Wood.
 
The speed at which IT spun up WFH support might have introduced risks, too. To respond quickly to WFH, many enterprises bypassed the typical process of measuring and analyzing a given solution, instead of proceeding directly to deployment, Wood said. Similarly, some enterprises are hesitant to update software in this environment over fears that they might create other security issues in the process, he added.
 
Versa Launches SASE Solution
With a goal of helping enterprises meet these IT challenges head-on, Versa Networks yesterday launched Versa Secure Access (VSA), a secure SD-WAN solution that’s part of its Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) portfolio.
 
With VSA, IT can provide WFH users with optimized access to applications running on-prem or in the cloud. First, it must remotely install the VSA client on user devices and register a VSA account for them. VSA optimizes access via application segmentation, directing traffic to the Internet or a specific cloud gateway and monitors network degradation, responding to packet loss in real-time, switching to a different cloud gateway, and moving to different WAN connectivity (from WiFi to cellular, for example). SASE security functions such as firewalls, denial-of-service protection, intrusion prevention, and URL filtering apply too.
 
The VSA dashboard provides IT managers with visibility into network issues, and gives them insight into application performance metrics, Wood said. For more granularity, IT managers can see what specific applications users are accessing, and if they are having any associated bandwidth issues, Wood said. With this information, enterprises can change networking and security policies to better address their users’ needs, he added.
 
VSA is generally available today in North America, EMEA, and select countries in the APAC region. Pricing starts at $7.50 per user, per month, with no limitation on devices per user, Versa shared in a press release.

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