What is SD-Branch and How Does It Complete Your Security Portfolio?

Highly distributed businesses such as quick service restaurants, small retail and convenience stores, gas stations, mobile sites, and even specific IoT applications, are connecting to the internet for business operations and value-added services. All have one thing in common—transforming how we conduct and leverage the internet.

Newer kiosks and digital signage solutions have started to provide additional services such as wireless access points. One example is a New York-based firm turning every phone booth next to a bus stop into a digital signage terminal that provides free Wi-Fi.

There is no question that Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) is transforming how and what we can deliver to consumers. SD-WAN networks offer small-to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) an affordable network infrastructure by offering low-cost, reliable network connectivity, while dramatically reducing operational expenses. Does SD-WAN make sense for highly distributed businesses with small site locations? This is where SD-Branch comes into play.

SD-Branch brings right-sized SD-WAN features coupled with integrated plug-and-play devices and inexpensive broadband connections to offer reliable connectivity, centralized management, and cloud-deployed network services. Customers can now deploy next-gen firewall, family-friendly Wi-Fi, switching, and cellular failover connectivity remotely anywhere, any time. By leveraging multiple virtualized SD-WAN network functions including next-gen security, an SD-Branch solution offers simple and cost-effective management, plus service deployment options. Deployment of this solution can reduce calls to the help desk and avoid truck rolls, improving customer experience.

Until now, most of the SD-WAN solutions have been addressing the replacement of expensive MPLS connectivity (Multi-Protocol Label Switching) that is typically used to connect larger branch locations to their enterprise data centers. This focus on supporting large branches has resulted in additional complexity and cost of SD-WAN solutions that are impractical for smaller branches and the service providers that support them. In many cases, multiple point solutions result in multiple under-utilized and expensive SD-WAN appliances, each one with its own expertise requirements making it harder to sell and provision by service providers.

This complexity is further compounded by the inability to offer cost-effective solutions for connecting large numbers of smaller sites, for example, thousands of small branches, kiosks, or IoT sensors. A right-sized and right-priced SD-Branch offers a way for companies to optimize the cost of the branch by consolidating multiple functions such as routing, Quality of Service (QoS), and firewall into a single solution.

Key Aspects and How SD-Branch Can Help

Small branch sites with a limited number of users and applications require WAN solutions that are simple and affordable. An SD-Branch solution should address not only the connectivity and management, but also the security and ease of deployment and use.

Low-Cost Reliable Connectivity

  • Smaller sites, especially those connected to cloud-based applications, require reliable, always-on connectivity to the data centers and the cloud-based SaaS applications. SD-Branch deployed over affordable broadband connections (cable, DSL, and 4G LTE) can offer network resilience and always-on connectivity through use of multiple redundant links. Meshing links with Auto VPN also helps guarantee high network resilience.
  • An SD-WAN edge appliance with an integrated 4G LTE modem that intelligently uses the cellular connection for automatic failover with a primary broadband link can offer cost-effective, always-on network connectivity.

Agile Management

  • Businesses with a large number of locations and minimal on-site resources struggle to maintain a consistent network architecture and visibility of remote locations resulting in frequent truck rolls.
  • SD-WAN offers complete remote management including device upgrades, service provisioning, and real-time status monitoring, available through a multi-tenant cloud-based orchestration platform that is securely accessible from anywhere.
  • Managed services from a Managed Service Provider (MSP) can further simplify and reduce the cost of management.

Security and Compliance Adoption

  • While any internet-connected site is vulnerable to cybersecurity threats, sites that perform credit card transactions or offer value added services such as guest Wi-Fi, are especially targeted for cyberattacks. These sites require additional layers of security and compliance to meet compliance standards like PCI DSS.
  • Deploying separate security infrastructure at many sites is cost prohibitive. A good SD-Branch platform should offer multifunctional edge appliances embedded firewall capabilities coupled with cloud-deployed next-generation firewalls (NGFW) that can offer additional layers of security all from the cloud.
  • The ability to meet regulatory or industry compliance requirements drives adoption.
  • SD-Branch providers deliver necessary regulatory functions and reporting related to the network and the device.
  • Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs) can also offer complete management of the network and security infrastructure along with security-related compliance management such as PCI DSS.

SD-WAN is transforming enterprise networks across industries into simplified network infrastructures while dramatically reducing operational expenses. So, what’s in it for you as a service provider? Many MSPs are seeing the benefits and simplicity of adding co-managed or fully managed network operation services to their security operations offering.

Partnering with Netsurion would open a fast and easy way to increase your services portfolio and converge security operations with network operations. The market is ripe for a refresh. Highly distributed businesses with tens, hundreds, or even thousands of small branches and kiosks are driving the value of a right-sized SD-Branch platform with network visibility, security, and control, all without breaking their budget.

Blog courtesy of Netsurion, which offers the EventTracker security platform. Read more Netsurion guest blogs here.