The 5 Biggest Mistakes in SD-WAN Security

2020 taught organizations that the traditional 9-5 office is a thing of the past.

Not only has the idea of employees’ location has changed but also the central network infrastructures and how employees are connecting has forever changed. The idea of employees connecting to a corporate network at their company’s central location worked in the past is now slowly becoming distinct due to slow network connection time to data centers.

The advancements of the corporate network have forced organizations to rethink how they are designing their network architecture. Instead, IT teams should factor in their employee’s location when deciding how their organization’s network should be implemented. With the increasing amount of employees working remotely and organizations adopting more cloud-based services, employees need quick access to company resources and data for their work environment no matter their location.

As a result, more employees are working remotely and need quicker network connections while the once-reliable static MPLS connections are not the solution for organization’s networking between their corporate network and their users. As networking technology has advanced, more organizations have started to look to SD-WAN solutions for faster, efficient, flexible and more cost-saving networking.

Five Important SD-WAN Mistakes to Avoid

When an organization decides they want to implement an SD-WAN solution they might think it’s simple to integrate into their work environment from installing the solution, encrypting the network data to sending the user from one network connection to the next. While this sounds great, actually it’s not so simple as IT teams need to prepare a networking strategy that integrates security and networking in one solution.

Instead of thinking security and networking need different products, organizations need to change their mind as both networking and security should go hand in hand when creating the strategy. Here are the 5 most common security mistakes when it comes to SD-WAN implementation and how to fix them.

 

  1. Omitting SD-WAN Security in Your Security Strategy

One of the biggest but most common SD-WAN security mistakes by organizations is that they are not considering SD-WAN security as an integral part of the organization’s security strategy. Despite many people thinking SD-WAN is a stand-alone solution and just another networking tool that provides encryption, SD-WAN must be implemented with the proper security policies that other network infrastructures are using.

To fend off other networking security risks, IT teams should strategize their networking with a more advanced security method that looks beyond WAN features and integrates a more policy-based control approach into their IT security strategy. This will allow security teams to have better visibility into monitoring data with a more flexible SDN-managed security response model.

 

  1. Managing SD-WAN With a ‘Set It and Forget It’ Approach

Another popular mistake made by IT teams when implementing new technologies like SD-WAN is that once it’s set up they will forget about it and move on. To avoid this common blunder, organizations should have a continuous monitoring and updating plan in place to ensure that everything is updated and working smoothly.

By maintaining an ongoing monitoring model when it comes to SD-WAN, the IT teams will be able to increase their organization’s network visibility and properly understand what’s going on in their network. As the networking and security space is changing by the day so should your SD-WAN solution, so stay up to date and keep monitoring your network.

 

  1. Encrypting SD-WAN Traffic

A major networking challenge that organizations tend to experience is moving from an MPLS connection to a more public broadband connection. However, this doesn’t integrate well with most organization’s cloud services and environments. This has resulted in organizations adopting SD-WAN solutions to create a private broadband connection that connects the cloud resources to the corporate network. By forcing and adding more network connections to a corporate network can be riskier as it can result in more holes in the network which will allow an easy entry point for malicious actors.

To avoid this mistake, organizations should encrypt their SD-WAN traffic to ensure their critical resources and data are secure. By enforcing an extra level of security it will allow organizations to offer secure and high-performance networking connection to their users no matter their location.

 

  1. Solution Doesn’t Fit Your Needs

It’s important to find the right SD-WAN solution that fits the organization’s networking needs. Too often organizations will adopt any solution to check the box while it might be the wrong solution for their environments. By finding the solution that is best for your organization which helps network visibility it will be clear if the solution will secure networking that is not complex to deploy.

One of the first things that the IT and security teams need to do is to clarify the flexibility of integrating the SD-WAN solution within their network and security strategy. Adopting the right solution for your organization’s networking needs will help increase the level of security awareness within the company.

 

  1. Ignoring Security Entirely

 

Possibly one of the most obvious but common mistakes organizations can make when adopting the SD-WAN solution is ignoring security. This mistake occurs because SD-WAN falls under the responsibility of the networking team and the idea of security isn’t their top priority.

To fight off these simple but easy mistakes, organizations should involve their security team when implementing and managing an SD-WAN solution to guarantee that security isn’t ignored. This mistake might be simple but it comes with the most risks. By adopting an unsecured SD-WAN solution it can help cybercriminals to exploit an organization’s network and sensitive resources.

 

Advancing SD-WAN Security

While SD-WAN technology has continued to advance over the past few years, it doesn’t ensure complete security as attacks on the network environments continue to become more sophisticated. Looking into the future of SD-WAN, organizations need to change their mindset and think about the different security features that are flexible to integrate instead of forgetting about security.

By deploying an SD-WAN solution that comes with integrated security capabilities it will allow organizations to ensure the security of their network is being protected against incoming attacks.

 

This thought leadership article was written and provided to Cyber Defense Magazine by Perimeter 81.

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