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Secure SD-WAN for Successful Cloud Migration

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Many organizations continue to struggle to implement their cloud strategies successfully. Cloud migration is a challenge in itself, and then organizations must deal with network performance, security, and management problems that continue to flare up. Organizations are increasingly turning to secure SD-WAN to help them move to the cloud and successfully operate in the cloud and on-premises.
 
The cloud is flexible, scalable, cost-efficient, and with users increasingly remote and mobile, organizations need to fully support ‘anytime, anywhere, and any-device’ access for business continuity. As organizations increasingly invest in their cloud migrations and strategies, very few can leverage the cloud’s advantages. Cloud migration has introduced a whole new set of problems, including:
 
  • Slow applications with high packet loss, jitter, and latency. Delayed access to business-critical applications, choppy audio calls, jittery and dropped video calls all pose challenges for users
  • Expanded security risks, with hardware-centric WAN architecture proving to be a significant bottleneck in security enforcements because of its complexity
  • Cloud traffic management issues, as IT teams have to balance limited bandwidth capacity with a large number of users who are simultaneously accessing cloud applications from anywhere in the world
  • Increased capital expenditures due to new bandwidth demands
Migrating workloads to infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and aggressively adopting software as a service (SaaS) applications generates a significant amount of new network traffic that increases bandwidth and application performance requirements. Traditional wireless access networks (WAN) aren’t designed to handle these new demands. The three top challenges of cloud migration include:
 
  1. Internet and multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) connection: the primary mode of transport for traditional WAN networks is MPLS, which results in limited bandwidth capacity and network congestion for cloud applications since this backhauls cloud traffic to the data center, causing latency, packet loss, and jitter. This issue negatively impacts end-user experience and productivity since applications run so slowly. While broadband Internet can help with additional bandwidth, it lacks the security, deterministic nature, and reliability of an MPLS line.
  2. Consistent Security: IT organizations no longer have control, influence, and visibility with users accessing public cloud platforms and applications. As a result, the network operations team needs to understand the cloud environment’s functional complexities to implement the best possible security practices. With a traditional WAN, security policies get configured manually, box-by-box, which takes significant time and can introduce configuration errors that cause openings for security breaches. With users accessing critical business applications outside of the WAN, configuring, monitoring, and implementing the best security practices are much more complex.
  3. Cloud and On-Premises management: Cloud environments introduce non-uniform functional complexities. Cloud orchestration, including connecting to data centers and interconnection in an MPLS network, presents significant challenges for network architects. This process can take weeks or even months to complete the entire deployment. While visibility is critical to proactively preventing and containing security breaches and maintaining overall network health, traditional WAN networks have complex topologies and dedicated point devices from many vendors and can’t deliver the visibility needed. And with the complexity of multi-cloud, the lack of visibility makes managing complex traffic patterns a significant challenge for the IT team.
 
Organizations must move to modernize their network infrastructure to support today’s cloud operations and new network demands. A secure SD-WAN is an alternative that is proving successful in delivering resilient, secure, and modern networks. Organizations can resolve cloud migration issues with these three tips:
 
  1. Adopt an updated architecture for better application performance. Secure SD-WAN delivers transport link flexibility for unified multiple WAN connections to address the growing network demands of cloud applications. This modern architecture leverages passive transport links, including cheaper broadband internet and 4G LTE links, instead of relying on MPLS alone, significantly increasing bandwidth capacity. Secure SD-WAN also offers application-aware routing to automatically prioritize traffic based on business-intent policies and direct it over the most optimal transport route. Organizations with secure SD-WANs automatically implement best fail-over strategies in seconds during unpredicted downtimes to keep the business applications running. A secure SD-WAN significantly improves the end-user experience and overall network health by intelligently routing application traffic and decongesting the network.
  2. Ensure that security gets embedded into the design. Organizations need an approach that integrates full-stack security – including next-gen firewall, malware protection, sandboxing, intrusion prevention, and more – directly into their WAN architecture. As a result, organizations can instantly identify cloud application traffic and apply optimal security policies. Also, secure SD-WAN offers single-pass consistency that eliminates backhauling cloud traffic to the data center and instead routes it directly to the cloud destination. Not only does this save substantial MPLS bandwidth and increase security, but it also reduces capital expenditure. Finally, multi-tenancy security segmentation is essential for different lines of business looking to prevent lateral movement between departments, groups, and locations. Critical to addressing today’s evolving threat landscape, multi-tenancy delivered by secure SD-WAN empowers the security team with granular and layered control over the entire network.
  3. Centralize management and admin interfaces. This approach, delivered with a secure SD-WAN that monitors multiple cloud environments, rolls out policy configurations, and troubleshoots issues in a single interface. Otherwise, policies may not execute properly, and managing multiple administrative consoles is time-consuming, complex, and introduces security risks. A single management interface of a secure SD-WAN maintains consistent policies across the entire environment, and enables easy audit, and ensures regulatory compliance. Centralizing on a management console greatly streamlines and simplifies the cloud deployment process while eliminating multiple cloud complexities and improving orchestration and interconnect workflows.

 

Organizations need a network infrastructure ready to meet the demands of cloud migration and operation for a successful cloud strategy. It’s the only way to capitalize on the cloud investment, as well as achieve the business resilience that’s required to be successful in today’s complex WFH world.

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