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News & Articles

October 30, 2020 | Jon Bove

Help Customers Reduce Multicloud Complexities with SD-WAN

A secure SD-WAN solution that spans hybrid and multicloud environments will increase cost efficiency, improve application performance, and reduce complexity.

Faced with managing remote work for the foreseeable future, organizations are adopting multicloud solutions as part of a long-term work-from-home strategy. This strategy solves a number of challenges, such as helping remote workers more easily access business-critical applications from any device or location, segmenting critical resources, and enabling IT teams to manage infrastructure and deliver new applications and rapid updates from their home offices. However, it also creates new challenges that many organizations may not be prepared to address. 

One such problem is providing consistent security in light of the added complexity that multicloud brings. Your customers are likely to find themselves out of their depth trying to handle the many resources necessary to keep their expanded multicloud networks safe from malicious outsiders. This creates a partner opportunity to assist them with a secure SD-WAN solution. 

Even with a robust cloud strategy in place, customers still need help increasing cost efficiency, improving application performance, and reducing complexity. In fact, they may need that help now more than ever. And a critical element of that simplification process includes implementing a single, integrated security strategy that can span their multicloud and hybrid cloud environments. A secure SD-WAN solution enables partners like you to help your customers achieve all these goals by empowering their IT teams to build seamless networks that support their remote work initiatives while maintaining security across even the most complex multicloud environments. 

Cloud Networking Challenges
By fully understanding the security challenges of a multicloud environment, you can design and propose security solutions that meet the unique, individual needs of your customers. Organizations face three primary challenges when adopting a multicloud strategy:

1.    A More Complex Network 
A multicloud network means that customers will have to deploy a security solution at each of their cloud environments. But the bigger challenge is that many of these solutions—even if from the same vendor—will function differently depending on the cloud platform they are installed on. This means that implementing consistent multicloud capabilities, especially those that can be centrally managed and orchestrated, can be extremely difficult. 

If organizations do not have a DevOps team with security experience handling the deployment—not just of security devices, but of any infrastructure or development platform in the cloud, especially those that span multiple cloud environments—they can expose themselves to security risks. According to Gartner, up to 95% of all cloud security issues are the result of misconfigurations. A DevOps team without a security specialist providing appropriate analysis can easily overlook such mistakes, and the problem compounds as work moves from one cloud environment to the next.

The current skills gap worsens this challenge, as many organizations are unable to hire and retain qualified security specialists, especially those who also possess cloud expertise. Without a consistent security infrastructure designed to span multiple cloud environments, be centrally managed, and ensure consistent policy orchestration and enforcement, organizations will not have the end-to-end visibility needed to secure their increasingly complex cloud networks. 

2.    Expensive, Spotty Performance
Many organizations assume that effective cloud adoption or migration requires establishing dynamic IPs with dedicated backhaul connections so network traffic can be easily routed between on-premises and different cloud environments. However, routing traffic in this way can be expensive and is often a barrier to entry for smaller customers. On top of that, if these connections are not integrated with a customer’s existing network infrastructure, they can lead to performance bottlenecks and poor user experience with critical applications. 

3.    Compliance Issues
It’s already difficult to comply with current and emerging legal requirements. And for numerous reasons, it is even more so in a multicloud environment. For starters, it can be difficult to understand the shared responsibility model. Many customers assume that once their data is in the cloud, it is the cloud providers’ responsibility to maintain compliance—which, of course, isn’t true. And while some providers may offer compliance features, it’s still the organization’s responsibility to ensure and maintain compliance with regulatory requirements. 

Multicloud environments add another dimension of complexity. Tracking data across multiple clouds can be hard. As a result, it becomes increasingly difficult to determine where data is being accessed from, where it is being stored, and who or what is making an access request. Highly mobile data, especially across dynamically scalable environments, compounds this challenge even further, making the security and preservation of things like customer personally identifiable information data extremely difficult.

SD-WAN Reduces Cloud Complexity 
Partners can help their customers overcome these and other cloud migration difficulties by using a secure SD-WAN. To start, business traffic can be easily and reliably routed from the data center to the cloud, and even between multicloud environments, using optimized and encrypted SD-WAN connections. This helps lower costs, since organizations no longer need to rely on a static network topology to route their traffic. SD-WAN also improves application performance across cloud environments by eliminating or compensating for networking bottlenecks.

In addition, because SD-WAN is integrated with existing networks, it helps centralize operations, which decreases network complexity and improves security. The increased visibility resulting from a consistent SD-WAN deployment across a complex, multicloud infrastructure helps security teams coordinate their threat management processes, thereby reducing the impact that attacks have on their network. Enhanced visibility also supports compliance efforts, as it enables organizations to easily monitor data usage across multiple clouds. 

And for organizations that are experiencing rapid growth, SD-WAN can also be dynamically scaled to support their evolving traffic requirements. This can be especially crucial for those organizations trying to manage large-scale telework programs.  

Overcoming Multicloud Challenges
If organizations lack the know-how and resources to manage a multicloud environment, the shift to a complex cloud strategy can quickly become disheartening. However, the work-from-home mandate requires cloud-based tools. Fortunately, you can demonstrate your value by ensuring that your customers can reduce the complexity of building and managing a multicloud solution, while ensuring they receive the security and the compliance they need. SD-WAN enables you to provide your customers with a network solution that does not increase complexity while still delivering improved application performance.  

JON BOVE is the vice president of channel sales at Fortinet, responsible for strategizing, promoting, and driving the channel sales strategy for partners in the United States as we seek to help them build successful—and profitable—security practices. A 17-year veteran of the technology industry, Bove has held progressively responsible sales, sales leadership, and channel leadership positions. During his time at Fortinet, he has been responsible for establishing Fortinet’s national partner program and aligning Fortinet’s regional partner strategy to allow partners to develop Fortinet security practices with the tools and programs to successfully grow their business. 

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