Businesses need a scalable network security solution to combat threats. They need to be able to detect and react quickly to attacks. A centralized platform provides better visibility and control of network protection elements. This can include NGFW, IDS/IPS, URL, or a full-blown UTM. This reduces changes and improves change management, enhancing the security posture over the entire network.
Enhanced Security Policy Enforcement
A security breach can cost an organization hefty fines and reputational damage that can halt productivity. Adding an SD-WAN solution with secure network segmentation capabilities to a network architecture increases security and reduces the impact of any threats. SD-WAN provides the ability to segment networks with different policies and application-aware routing, preventing malware from gaining access to sensitive areas of the network.
Many modern SD-WAN solutions offer a built-in firewall that protects against malware and other common attacks. This is often enough to keep most threats out of a branch, but enterprises need more comprehensive protection. A comprehensive security approach, including a full-featured UTM and threat intelligence services, is key to detecting and mitigating attacks. With a secure, robust network architecture, plant leaders can leverage an advanced SD-WAN solution to provide remote workers with access to applications and resources.
This allows them to work from anywhere without relying on costly and resource-intensive backhaul connections to central data centers or regional hubs. Secure SD-WAN enables a network to connect directly to cloud applications and services, improving performance and network security. For instance, Versa Networks Secure SD-WAN uses industry-standard IPsec tunnel encapsulation and provides a single-stack, hardware-agnostic software platform to support business applications and security functions.
Its unique, scalable design eliminates the need for multiple devices and minimizes device footprint while providing high IDS/IPS inspection performance.
A secure SD-WAN includes built-in security capabilities that provide the foundational network and security protections that enterprise networks need. These include a stateful firewall, essential threat detection and response capabilities, and IDS/IPS that monitor for unauthorized activity such as phishing attacks, virus distribution, malware and ransomware downloads, man-in-the-middle attacks, denial of service (DDOS), SQL injection, and more.
These capabilities are combined with the flexibility of network segmentation to minimize the impact of a successful attack on highly sensitive data and systems. Unlike traditional router-centric WAN architectures that require branch traffic to be sent back to a central internet security point for inspection, a secure SD-WAN can perform security inspection locally and in real-time — without sacrificing application performance.
This reduces the need for expensive and resource-consuming backhauling and allows organizations to eliminate legacy branch routers and firewalls. SD-WAN solutions with integrated IDS/IPS also improve cybersecurity by obfuscating and encrypting in-transit traffic, making it nearly impossible to decrypt or analyze for malicious activity.
This makes it harder for cyber attackers to infiltrate the network and enables IDS/IPS to detect and block malicious activity before it spreads quickly. Secure SD-WAN offers a unified, single-stack hardware and software-only solution that reduces complexity and the number of devices to manage and maintain. The IDS/IPS is integrated into the software stack and processes traffic in parallel, ensuring superior IDS/IPS performance.
Real-time Threat Detection
The flexibility and speed of the modern workplace offer new opportunities for employees and customers but also heightened security risks as more workers connect to business applications from remote locations on a mix of personal and work devices. SD-WAN technology provides many security benefits to help mitigate those risks, including unified threat management (UTM) threat detection and firewall capabilities that deliver pervasive protection from cyberattacks that can disrupt network performance or steal data.
With secure SD-WAN, IT teams can manage and apply consistent security policies at every branch office. This helps improve user experience and productivity and reduces costs by eliminating the need to backhaul traffic to a central data center. This is especially important for organizations with a distributed infrastructure, as they often use a variety of Internet connections to deliver WAN services. Traditional branch-level security typically includes point solutions, such as a separate firewall, VPN, and IDS/IPS device.
These systems can function independently but need more integrated solutions, visibility, and coordination. With a secure SD-WAN, these systems can be managed simultaneously in a single pane of glass. This helps IT teams quickly identify and flag threats, thwart attacks, and respond to potential security breaches. IDS and IPS systems detect anomalies in network traffic by monitoring patterns that define expected behavior.
Signature-based IDS systems reference a library of known attack patterns. In contrast, an IPS system takes a more proactive approach to preventing attacks by identifying a specific behavior and acting to halt it before it can cause damage.
Today’s enterprise has a large attack surface with many remote workers and cloud-based applications. IDS/IPS solutions monitor traffic in real time and flag anomalies that may indicate a breach. If a threat is detected, an alert is sent to human security personnel so they can take action.
Unlike traditional hub-and-spoke networks that route traffic through a central inspection point, SD-WAN allows business applications to access the Internet directly from branch offices. That means enterprises must implement a new security architecture that inspects traffic at the edge.
Legacy firewalls provide only rudimentary visibility and check only lower TCP/IP layers, making them ineffective for this new environment. To meet the security challenges of this evolving network, many SD-WAN solutions now include IDS/IPS functionality. This feature is delivered using a virtual image on Cisco IOS XE SD-WAN routers. It uses the Snort open-source network IPS engine to monitor and analyze traffic against a configured ruleset.
These IPS functions can identify and alert in real time when network traffic is used for illegal purposes, such as port scanning or malware. They can also detect attacks and probes and use machine learning to recognize and respond to new threats. They can also monitor network traffic and bandwidth usage, verify quality of service policies are working correctly, and identify the root cause of any issues that need to be corrected.