Almost all SD-WAN solutions include a simple, stateful firewall, but these are limited by their ability to simply distinguish legitimate network packets from different types of connections. It’s far more valuable to almost any large enterprise to implement a next-generation firewall for deep packet inspection, intrusion prevention, web filtering, and malware protection.

Furthermore, with SD-WAN enabling greater connectivity between branch offices, the amount of data transmitted from site to site grows considerably. However, more data in motion means an increased risk of data interception.

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End-to-end encryption to protect the traffic flow of data seems obvious but upskilling secure deployment policy management is another critical security element and should be factored into any SD-WAN solution.

A Cultural Shift and a Technical One
While adding proven IT security solutions is a reliable way to tighten up security, organizations must, at the same time, drive adoption of a company-wide security posture to align with new methods. For example, zero-trust is regularly cited as best practice for SD-WAN security, and it does exactly what it says on the tin. This method, key to network segmentation, encourages organizations to verify and assess anything and everything attempting to access a given network, refining context down to users, locations, and applications.

Coupled with adopting the culture shift is the need for organizations and IT pros to remember SD-WAN doesn’t eliminate the need for other wide-area networking security and resilience. In many cases, the rollout of SD-WAN doesn’t eliminate the need for MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) networks—and in fact, it’s expected MPLS will be in play for years to come.
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