Network security

Devices from the SD branch promise network and security benefits

IT organizations have long wanted a branch office setup that combines the various functionality required of a branch office network on a single platform. The ability to manage, control and integrate these functions is even more desirable, instead of having disparate processes for each individual function.

Branch office connectivity has evolved with the emergence of software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) and its centralized control that distributes configured policies across the network. While SD-WAN technology provides features that optimize WAN transport to branch offices, thereby improving application performance, it may lack proper integration with network functions that are vital for branch office security.

Most SD-WAN offerings still require branch offices to carry traffic to the corporate data center for them to undergo separate security measures. But this additional backhaul step is both time consuming and inefficient, especially as more and more companies rely more and more on cloud and SaaS tools. As a result, organizations have started to request offers that perform both network and security functions directly at the branch site, in the same device.

Enter the software-defined branch (SD-branch). SD-branch integrates security features that are traditionally hosted in the data center, such as caching, URL filtering, and firewall, into a device deployed at the branch site. SD-branch devices also integrate networking functions, such as SD-WAN, Wi-Fi, 4G / 5G and routing, all with a single management and orchestration platform.

SD-branch is a mature market, and its management and orchestration capabilities can still be improved. However, as companies emphasize the importance of converged networking and security capabilities, the SD branch will remain a compelling option. Use this guide to explore the integration of SD-branch devices and the technology’s goal of building a common orchestration between LAN, wireless LAN, WAN, and security.

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