IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Creating Services Combining SD-WAN and ZTNA Capabilities

MSPs and MSSPs have an opportunity to get an edge over competitors by offering customers an integrated solution for reliable, secure connections for a work-from-anywhere world. By Jon Bove

With many organizations now moving toward a work-from-anywhere (WFA) model, secure and reliable connectivity is a top priority. To maintain quality of experience (QoE) for users, access to applications and data must be unaffected by user location, whether in or out of the office. This requires finding ways to achieve reliability, flexibility, and scalability without hindering security and performance.

Two solutions that make it possible for organizations to achieve both reliable and secure connections from anywhere are SD-WAN and zero trust network access (ZTNA). Coupled with centralized management capabilities offering visibility into the entire network and security stack, the proactive WAN remediation techniques for self-healing and ZTNA protection of the entire digital attack surface help IT teams experience a significant reduction in support tickets.

For managed service providers (MSPs) and managed security service providers (MSSPs), there is a major opportunity here to build services that offer both SD-WAN and ZTNA capabilities to ensure delivery of superior QoE for customers, their employees, and their IT teams.

Where SD-WAN Fits

With the WFA model, users frequently access business-critical resources from different locations, and each resource or application may be deployed in a separate cloud environment. Effective SD-WAN solutions enable organizations to connect branch offices and remote workers to multiple cloud environments.

Reliable access to cloud-based resources requires an accelerated cloud on-ramp and broad application support. Features such as dynamic failover, SLA-based application steering, and application availability are vital parts of any SD-WAN solution. Ideally, enterprise-grade security should be part of the package as well, instead of an after-the-fact add-on, but not all SD-WAN vendors provide this.

Demand for SD-WAN will only increase, and many organizations will seek MSPs to supply it to avoid the capital expenditure burden. In addition to offering the solution itself, managed SD-WAN providers should also offer expertise obtained through ongoing investment in the latest technologies and detailed knowledge of how SD-WAN solutions integrate with other vendors’ solutions, particularly cloud infrastructure providers.

Adding in ZTNA

Users access applications from both inside and outside the corporate network and from a multitude of different devices that are often on largely undersecured home networks. This has resulted in a vastly increased threat landscape across WFA models, requiring a stronger approach to security that is underpinned by the implementation of ZTNA. 

ZTNA assumes that every user or device in every instance of an attempt to access resources over the network is potentially compromised. Access is granted only to individual applications and workflows on a per-session basis after verification – where a user is working from becomes irrelevant. The same security approach applies regardless, protecting access to business-critical applications across hybrid worker and network models.

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