One of the more significant themes to come out of yesterday’s SD-WAN Virtual Summit by Viptela was the importance of security. We touched on the security risks SD-WANs pose in our recent Network World blog where we explained the different approaches to implementing security within the SD-WAN. Security came up several times during the virtual tradeshow, perhaps nowhere more prevalent than in the research presented by Shamus McGillicuddy, senior analyst of network management at EMA.
During his presentation, Shamus pointed out that security is the biggest inhibitor to direct internet access today. Adding Direct Internet Access (DIA) at branch, significantly expands your attack surface and you need to take appropriate action to protect your organization. With most of our enterprise customers, this only represents a problem because security architecture is highly centralized. Many companies backhaul traffic across their existing MPLS backbones for placement onto the Internet through a centralized and secured portal.
At the same time, EMA’s study of SD-WAN buying trends found that the top driver for companies replacing MPLS with Internet connectivity is security. Yes, that’s right security. Nearly half of respondents (49%) thought the Internet brought with it security benefits even though as a public network the Internet is technically less secure than MPLS services. However, since MPLS is a private data service and as such is not open to the same kinds of attack on a public network, many of our MPLS customers are comfortable passing data in the clear. With the Internet, network infrastructure teams using SD-WAN automatically use encryption, which has the effect of improving the overall security of data in transit.
There is another piece of this is the interpretation of “more secure.” Respondents may have interpreted EMA’s “more secure to mean improved resilience and reliability, something quite achievable with multiple low-cost internet connections.
Security was also a prevalent at theme for moving to 4G. One of the reasons we at SD-WAN Experts like SD-WANs is because it allows companies to deploy sites very, very rapidly. No longer do you need to wait a month (or more) to provision an MPLS circuit. Direct Internet access across xDSL, for example, can be delivered in under a week. If your window is even more tight, 4G / LTE lets you get going in a matter minutes.
But there’s an even better reason to use 4G and that’s security. There are several layers of built-in security, including default encryption at the access layer. Nearly half of respondents (42%) cited improved security as the primary reason they were using wireless.
Does any of that surprise you? If so it might be a reflection of the growth of your organization’s IT budget. Organizations with moderate-growth (less than 25% annual growth) and high-growth (25% or more) IT budgets were focused on improved network security and improved application performance.
Companies with flat-to-negative budgets were less likely to focus on these benefits. Surprisingly, these cash-rich IT organizations that reported budget growth were also looking to reduce network operational costs with the technology.