IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Setting Up a Secure Network

VPNs and SD-WANs offer different benefits for branch and remote office networks, so understand your customers’ needs. By Dirk Morris

A NETWORK IS ONLY AS SECURE as its weakest link, which often is at the network edge. Without a proper solution in place, remote and branch offices are vulnerable to threats and hackers. Plus, with the rise of attacks on mobile devices, and increased connectivity with Internet of Things hardware, securing both networks and endpoints is more critical than ever.

Here are a few of the best options available to protect your customers’ networks.

VPN Basics

Virtual private networks (VPNs) create a secure, private connection that bridges multiple networks and remote users to a single network, creating full-tunnel filtering of all traffic. By forcing every device to utilize a VPN, companies can mitigate the risks associated with unknown or unsecure devices connecting to the network.

It’s also a cost-effective way to ensure network security and enforce policies for remote and branch offices. And once VPNs are set up, they require minimal management. Organizations should evaluate VPN protocols like L2TP/IPsec or OpenVPN, as they offer more security and speed.

SD-WAN Simplifies

Traditional wide-area network (WAN) solutions usually entail private connections, via MPLS, and backhauling traffic for the corporate networks to talk to each other. This creates latency and congestion, and increases costs for organizations trying to maintain performance and bandwidth at each location.

In contrast, a software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) is a cost-effective, reliable, and innovative way to simplify your customers’ networks. With dynamic, policy-based application delivery across hybrid WAN, LAN/WLAN, and cloud networks, organizations can increase performance and communication between offices, no matter the distance.

It’s important to understand the needs of your customers and put in place a thorough, end-to-end solution that leaves no room for vulnerabilities.

SD-WAN solutions offer many benefits to managing branch and remote office networks, including:

  • Cost savings: Centralizing the IT infrastructure allows you to use only one firewall, email server, or other service, instead of one at each location. This saves money on hardware, additional services, and IT resources.
  • Security: All WAN traffic is encrypted, no matter what location the traffic is coming from. Because the network is segmented, if a breach were to occur, the damage is minimized.
  • Reliability: SD-WAN solutions allow companies to utilize multiple, high-bandwidth, inexpensive internet connections simultaneously, resulting in faster internet speeds at lower costs.
  • Performance: Because SD-WAN ensures high-performance internet connections, organizations can deliver business-critical applications cost-effectively while optimizing performance of software as a service and other cloud-based services. This also improves performance at branch offices.
  • Flexibility: SD-WAN provides organizations the flexibility to use a variety of services to increase bandwidth and performance, through multiple WAN connections, cloud services, cellular, or fixed-line connections.
  • Visibility: Consolidating resources and apps under SD-WAN provides better visibility, so problems can be mitigated more quickly and gaps can easily be addressed to ensure security is maintained.
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