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SASE Transformation: 6 Scenarios Demanding Modern SD-WAN

Oct 05 2023

The following is derived from the new book, Modern SD-WAN for SASE for Dummies, Netskope Special Edition. Click here to get your complimentary copy.  

For decades, computer networking has powered our businesses, our communities, and our lives. As computing and the digital world have evolved, enterprise networking has struggled to keep up. Local area networks (LANs) gave way to MPLS WANs and MPLS WANs gave way to SD-WANs. Out with the old, in with the new.

Traditional SD-WAN has reached a breaking point!

We have already entered a new era of networking, driven by enterprises becoming borderless, in which users, devices, sites, and clouds are all connected in numerous ways. This is shaping a networking landscape characterized by extensive many-to-many connectivity. As the enterprise became borderless, the perimeter transformed and expanded beyond branches to include micro branches, users’ remote locations, internet of things (IoT) devices, and multiple cloud environments. The common requirement here is that all these things need to be secured and optimized—security can’t be sacrificed for network performance, or vice versa. 

Network architects started deploying multiple point products for security and connectivity to address these newly emerged edges or perimeters. But this approach led to a network full of disparate and disjointed technologies that were forced to work together. A fragmented architecture can’t consistently apply security or quality of experience (QoE) policies across all users, devices, sites, and clouds. The result often proved overly complicated from both an end-user and IT Ops perspective. SD-WAN has, itself, reached a major turning point (some might even say breaking point) because it can’t handle a many-to-many world. 

Borderless SD-WAN is the Modern SD-WAN for SASE

The goal of the Borderless SD-WAN is to allow any person, site, device or cloud to have secure, and optimized connectivity and accelerate the path to SASE adoption. Borderless SD-WAN provides the versatility to meet various enterprise deployment requirements. For instance, within the realms of computing, networking, and security, six distinct scenarios are currently challenging conventional SD-WAN and demanding a fresh approach. Borderless SD-WAN provides:

1. Secure SD-WAN: Traditional SD-WAN augmented expensive MPLS with high-bandwidth, low-cost internet links and delivered the same level of performance over commodity broadband links with application-aware visibility and control. The evolving enterprise now needs zero trust-enabled, context-aware SD-WAN to provide fast, reliable, and secure access to any application, and any device at any location, with full visibility, and the right set of controls. This is possible using contextual policies that include understanding applications, application risks, users, user risks, devices, and device risks, all of which make network operations more intelligent and more secure.

2. Micro branch: A micro branch may have only a few users or devices, but their needs for connectivity, QoS, and security equal those of a conventional branch office. Borderless SD-WAN provides lightweight software that resides on a compact secure access service edge (SASE) gateway, a hardware device that converges capabilities, such as cellular connectivity, SD-WAN, Wi-Fi, security, and edge compute in an all-in-one fashion, all operated from one console and governed by one policy. Moreover, organizations can effortlessly achieve comprehensive security seamlessly through one-click integration with Netskope Intelligent SSE. 

3. Endpoint SD-WAN: Secure and high-performance remote access is often achieved through an SD-WAN device combined with virtual private network (VPN) software clients. The dual dependence on an SD-WAN device and VPN also means companies must juggle multiple vendors, devices, and cost centers, which is unscalable. Installing Endpoint SD-WAN on a laptop can significantly improve the user’s experience even in places where internet links are not reliable. Network operators gain full visibility into all applications and links being used, aiding in troubleshooting. Netskope’s ZTNA Next combines the award-winning Netskope Private Access ZTNA with software-only Netskope Endpoint SD-WAN, completely replacing remote access VPNs while enhancing security and optimizing application access.

4. Wireless WAN: To be able to work anywhere at any time in a many-to-many world, there is a need for more than what SD-WAN provides on the wireless front. What’s required is fast and reliable connectivity in every location, whether it’s in a perpetually mobile field vehicle or a stationary, enterprise cellular gateway on a wall that provides a strong signal from within IT closets. Traditional SD-WAN can’t do this, but Borderless SD-WAN can.

5. Multi-cloud networking: Companies are looking for a networking solution that provides secure connectivity to multi-cloud environments. However, this often results in multiple point products—one for multi-cloud connectivity and another inserting security —leading to more complexity. Borderless SD-WAN offers a multi-cloud networking solution to enable policy-driven app to app communication, automation, and a unified dashboard for streamlined management. It provides visibility and control of inter-cloud connections and offers one-click connectivity from multi-cloud environments to Netskope Secure Service Edge (SSE), enhancing security. This holistic approach addresses the complexities of multi-cloud networking, eliminating the need for multiple point products and simplifying operations.

6. IoT intelligent access: Organizations want their IoT/operational technology (OT)-enabled assets to connect and forward data to the cloud for predictive analytics. They also need to be able to take advantage of remote monitoring and troubleshooting while reducing unnecessary truck rolls. Borderless SD-WAN offers scalable Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) with built-in container services such as Azure IoT Edge runtime. Customers have the flexibility to run custom applications as well. The Borderless SD-WAN solution also features a natively-built IoT manager, offering remote help-desk teams outside-in access to high-value assets. This capability accelerates incident resolution, reducing downtime and enhancing operational efficiency.

Unlocking the Future of Networking and Security with Netskope SASE 

Build a powerful single-vendor SASE architecture with the seamless integration of Netskope Borderless SD-WAN with Intelligent SSE. Netskope SASE is powered by the NewEdge network, which converges networking and security at scale. It offers extensive global coverage across 70+ regions and low-latency on-ramps, ensuring optimal connectivity for cloud, web, SaaS, and private applications. Simplify your network and security with this seamless single-vendor architecture.

To read more about these six scenarios—and how Borderless SD-WAN can help overcome the challenges they present—download your copy of Modern SD-WAN for SASE For Dummies, Netskope Special Edition.

We are excited to launch the Borderless SD-WAN workshop, please register for a virtualized hands-on training session here.

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Parag Thakore
Parag Thakore is Senior Vice President of the Borderless WAN Business Unit at Netskope, following the acquisition of Infiot by Netskope in May 2022.
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Muhammad Abid
Muhammad Abid, Senior Director of Marketing for Borderless SD-WAN at Netskope, brings over two decades of leadership experience in networking, security, and collaboration.

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