Despite the positive impact this shift has had on organisations, there are limitations to simply moving more applications to the cloud, rather than hosting them within traditional corporate data centres. Multi-cloud strategies alone don’t guarantee that the underlying network will consistently deliver the highest quality of experience to employees and customers.
The rapidly evolving cybersecurity landscape is also challenging organisations during this time, which was easily overlooked by many in the frantic rush to get everything set up to support a work-from-anywhere model. More employees working from home means that more devices are connecting outside of the secured corporate network, substantially expanding the attack surface.
This exposes enterprises to potential security breaches that compromise data and result in network downtime, which defeats the very purpose of shifting to the cloud. Traditional perimeter security approaches were never designed for the cloud and fall short on delivering the agility and security required to address the requirements of digital transformation.
Modernising wide area network (WAN) or security approaches is a good starting point for organisations. But they must address both to realise the true value of cloud investments.
This is possible by combining comprehensive WAN edge and network security functions to support the secure access needs of organisations, a model that Gartner defines as secure access service edge (SASE). WAN transformation should ideally lead security transformation initiatives, underscoring the freedom of choice to select leading security vendors and technologies.
Applications are delivered in the cloud, so should security
For enterprises that have been plagued by delivering a sub-optimal user experience despite migrating to the cloud, now’s the time to embark upon a WAN transformation initiative. It’s also wise to consider adopting modern cloud-delivered security services.
The traditional use of the hub-and-spoke security architectures first backhauls cloud-destined traffic to the data centre and through the corporate firewall before reaching its destination. This is an inefficient approach that adds latency and impairs application performance.
On the other hand, chances are that early adopters of cloud-delivered security services may have failed to implement a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) previously. Therefore, it’s unlikely they’re able to apply local Internet breakout from branch sites and steer traffic directly to the cloud.
Without the SD-WAN component, traffic continues to be backhauled to the data centre, negatively impacting application performance.
Time is now for network transformation
WAN transformation allows a more efficient path and better experience between users and the cloud. In doing so, many organisations embrace SD-WAN to adopt local Internet breakout to cloud applications directly from branch locations over broadband.
SD-WAN provides application driven intelligent path selection across any combination of WAN links based on centrally defined policies that optimise available bandwidth and reduce latency. This ensures the network always delivers the highest quality of experience to application users.
Maximising returns on cloud investments
As enterprises face the constantly evolving threat landscape, they must retain the agility necessary to adopt new security solutions that complement their existing technologies. The requirements for both WAN and security transformation must be considered.
Most importantly, an advanced SD-WAN platform allows an organisation the flexibility to deploy cloud-delivered security services. It supports integrated application programmable interfaces (APIs) to bring new levels to automation and provides the ability to connect to a variety of cloud services, including security.
This ultimately gives enterprises the added advantage to transition to modern, cloud-first WAN architecture at their own pace, and offers a smooth migration to a cloud-delivered security model. All without compromising their user experience, while future-proofing their networks as they move towards a post-COVID-19 world, whatever that may be.
About the author
Dean Vaughan is vice president for Asia Pacific and Japan for Silver Peak. He is responsible for enterprise and service provider sales, including go-to-market and channel strategies to drive partner engagement and customer acquisition across the region. For more information, visit: https://www.silver-peak.com/