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The Ultimate Guide to SD-WAN for Multi-Cloud Enterprise

Enterprises strive to find simplified solutions for their cloud infrastructures to keep their remote employees and sensitive data secure. Since traditional MPLS solutions are no longer cost-effective, enterprises are looking for other security solutions. Here is how SD-WAN for multi-cloud can help gain the necessary flexibility. 

Remote workplaces increase the digital footprint of an enterprise as the underlying network needs to be exposed to the internet for remote employees. SD-WAN for multi-cloud is among the best cloud computing solutions that enhance the network speed across offices, remote users, and cloud-based resources. 

An SD-WAN solution protects cloud resources against cyberattacks by integrating the entire network and security architecture through a centralised management system. It offers visibility, control, and real-time threat intelligence to efficiently reroute network traffic through encrypted tunnels. 

Most organisations struggle while incorporating digital innovation changes, but you can get in touch with our Fortinet secure SD-WAN experts to shift your business applications to the cloud without worrying about performance issues or traffic bottlenecks. 

What Is SD-WAN For Multi-Cloud? 

Organisations use Software Defined Wide Area Network as a virtual WAN architecture to create a secure and effective connection between the users and the applications. SD-WAN assists in improving the agility and cost-effectiveness of the network because organisations can deploy better responsive and more predictable applications. 

With an SD-WAN for multi-cloud architecture, your organisation will instantly leverage all data services like MPLS or Dedicated Internet Access to reconfigure secure websites while supporting easy migration to your hybrid cloud. By implementing a policy-based virtual overlay, SD-WAN can separate your applications from the underlying network services. 

The Functionality Of An SD-WAN Architecture 

SD-WAN takes a different approach and moves away from the traditional network layer by allowing organisations to utilise a variety of connections like LTE, MPLS, and broadband interchangeably. Therefore, you improve your network’s bandwidth, performance, and redundancy by enabling centralised management. 

An SD-WAN creates a network where SD-WAN appliances connect through a secure tunnel. Every website on the network has a dedicated SD-WAN appliance that controls the entire traffic. 

Since centralised software manages all of these appliances, the organisation can implement and enforce consistent network policies. As traffic enters an appliance, it determines the type of traffic and reroutes it to the intended recipient as per existing policies and the availability or performance of network links. 

SD-WAN Evolution

SD-WAN underwent three stages of evolution before organisations started adopting it to secure their remote workplaces, which are: 

  • SD-WAN 1.0: Hungry for bandwidth
    During the first stage, organisations used SD-WAN for multi-cloud to resolve issues like availability and bandwidth. Back then, provisioning new MPLS links was expensive and difficult. Most organisations preferred using Internet backup in case of outages. Some IT teams used a link-bonding approach to combine different connections and improve their last-mile bandwidth. 
  • SD-WAN 2.0: Rise of SD-WAN startups
    Since link building only improved the last-mile performance, organisations required routing awareness to enhance their performance throughout the network. The earlier SD-WAN solutions contained virtualisation failover and application-aware rerouting, where the SD-WAN could stop relying on MPLS links and optimally reroute traffic according to the application type.  
  • SD-WAN 3.0: Reaching out
    In the latest stage of evolution, SD-WAN aims to go beyond branch locations as organisations prefer migrating towards the cloud. You can securely connect to your cloud deployments through an SD-WAN solution. 

SD-WAN Requirements For Multi-Cloud 

For an effective SD-WAN solution, your network needs to perform centralised policy management and provide comprehensive insight into the enterprise’s cloud ecosystem. To improve your chances of achieving this goal, your SD-WAN for multi-cloud solution must: 

  • Support policies that focus on business needs by giving instructions in simple language for apps, users, locations, and SLAs. You need to eliminate the need for technical translation, intermediation, and complex configuration updates for devices. 
  • Establish control throughout your cloud network to ensure seamless deliveries of applications and business policies. 
  • Provide cloud-focused workflows that facilitate network expansion without the need for additional operational overheads. Zero-touch provisioning of remote locations and connectivity expansions are essential to support remote workplaces. 
  • Automate traffic rerouting through encrypted tunnels between data centres, the cloud, remote locations, and end-users. 
  • Enforce security policies to protect the network from known vulnerabilities. The increased visibility makes it easier to identify unusual behaviour on the network. 
  • Automate secure connectivity to cloud networks by minimising operational overhead for VPN creation. 
  • Integrate with critical network services like end-to-end visibility and WAN optimisation for optimal application performance. You can also couple SD-WAN with WAN optimisation to improve infrastructure performance and efficiency. 
  • Automate path control by selecting a secure path according to the application, business priority, and path quality. SD-WAN uses available bandwidth, latency, jitter, or packet loss to determine the best path for communication. 
  • Offer security through native firewall capabilities and integrate with on-premises firewalls or third-party CASB. 

Hybrid And Multi-Cloud Networking Challenges 

Occasionally, hybrid and multi-cloud networking strategies complement each other while offering enhanced flexibility and resource control. However, IT managers need to refine their strategies continuously for smooth operations. Excessive reliance on public cloud service providers makes ensuring consistent performance difficult. 

You need to consider three common hybrid and multi-cloud networking challenges. 

  1. Lack of expertise in managing in-house hybrid cloud
    If you want to operate a hybrid or multi-cloud environment, you need a specialised skill set and the necessary experience in your IT team. Public clouds commonly offer different architecture, administrative tools, and APIs that cannot be integrated with your system without the necessary technical knowledge. 

Therefore, the team that maintains the cloud resources needs to be intimately familiar with how these tools can be integrated with your cloud. Combining different tools and adding applications to the cloud services without the right knowledge can add complications to your cloud. 

  1. Inaccurate dependency mapping across public cloud services
    Even with the right expertise, operating a cloud model can be difficult if you migrate with inaccurate dependency mapping. You must remember that public cloud services interact differently with other resources, infrastructures, and data storage. 

By rushing through the implementation or migration process, your IT can overlook critical interdependencies that can lead to unplanned downtime, disorganised infrastructure, and inconsistent service delivery. If the IT team fails to address these issues, your organisation may continue to deal with the consequences for a long time. 

  1. Lack of an effective framework that complements migration
    Some IT teams struggle to build an effective framework that assists them in structuring their management processes and remaining adaptable. End-to-end delivery of your IT services is essential if you want to develop your application and support its upscaling process. 

The migration strategy you adopt must be flexible to encourage innovation among your team members and facilitate workload optimisation. Your organisation’s motives may change over time, so you need to prevent yourself from falling for unfavourable SLAs with cloud service providers.

Your IT managers need to match your cloud applications with the appropriate services. The goal is to avoid paying for services you will never use or overpaying for the cloud infrastructure. 

How Fortinet Secure SD-WAN For Multi-Cloud Can Help 

Apart from maintaining network speed, IT teams are also responsible for ensuring that your traffic is free from malware, ransomware, and other attacks. Therefore, you need a digital transformation that helps you become resilient. Here are three reasons you need Fortinet secure SD-WAN for multi-cloud for your organisation:

Networking Becomes Flexible And Scalable

Traditional networking does not offer the flexibility organisations require for their digital transformation initiatives. An SD-WAN infrastructure provides remote employees with secure access to their organisation’s cloud resources while creating an agile network.  Here are some benefits your organisation can enjoy by implementing SD-WAN: 

  • Direct access to cloud resources
    You can use SD-WAN to eliminate backhauling requirements and enable direct access for remote employees, making it easier to access cloud resources as per their roles. 
  • Consistent application performance across applications
    Organisations can prioritise essential traffic and real-time services such as Voice over Internet Protocol. You can steer your traffic toward the most effective route while incorporating advanced WAN technologies. SD-WAN also assists in reducing packet loss and latency even when your cloud has heavy traffic. 
  • Improvement in business agility
    SD-WAN complements the scalability of the network. It can anticipate the traffic and eliminate the need to plan any network upgrades unless it becomes an absolute necessity. 
  • Costs become nominal
    An SD-WAN infrastructure reroutes traffic efficiently across numerous channels by maximising the usage of available network capacity while eliminating the need for additional MPLS bandwidth. 

Increasing Visibility For Efficiencies And Security 

Organisations need SD-WAN for multi-cloud technology to create an information freeway that combines security and efficient networking. Your IT team can also integrate SD-WAN with Next-Generation FireWall protection to enforce security policies and inspect encrypted traffic, which may not be available as physical form factors. 

If IT teams lack visibility into the network, they can overlook security gaps within their infrastructure and increase vulnerabilities due to human errors. A secure SD-WAN for multi-cloud offers centralised network and security management by including features that help in:

  • Gaining visibility
    A transparent and centralised view of your network’s security infrastructure can help reduce your organisation’s exposure to outside threats. You can use an SD-WAN solution to explore all connections between the cloud and users, making it easier to identify unusual behaviour and enforce security policies. 
  • Controlling the network
    An SD-WAN solution provides administrators with an easy method to provision capabilities, set up IPsec VPNs, define static routes, and monitor security policies from a single console. 
  • Managing the network
    IT teams can easily manage the entire network infrastructure from a single console to make it more efficient and secure. SD-WAN for multi-cloud helps organisations prioritise important network traffic and facilitate real-time threat intelligence sharing across the network. 
  • Creating policies
    Your team can also build a fully-integrated security network that enables you to define consistent policies for your remote employees, allowing secure access to cloud resources. 
  • Meeting regulatory requirements
    You can also improve regulatory compliance with a proactive, automated process with an SD-WAN solution that offers centralised visibility, control, policy management, and robust reporting. 

Using An Automated Holistic Approach With SD-WAN For Multi-Cloud

For optimal cloud operations, you need to avoid a disaggregated network and security infrastructure that can create numerous problems in the long run. SD-WAN networking tools apply IP and subnet-based security policies to reroute the network traffic through an efficient path to the desired destination. 

Security tools rely on different criteria to allow or deny access after inspecting traffic. Therefore, you need to implement SD-WAN for multi-cloud to make consistent decisions that can positively impact the performance of your application and boost the end-user experience. 

Here are some aspects you should consider before integrating your systems with a cloud service provider: 

  • Connections
    You need to make sure that all workloads and active sessions on the cloud have consistent application tags. Similarly, you also need enforceable policies to allow communication between different cloud environments and the underlying network. 
  • All-in-one solution
    SD-WAN aims for performance and simplification. For in-house infrastructures, physical security devices utilise hardware acceleration while delivering performance, while the cloud uses high-performance networking capabilities for the same purpose. Therefore, you must opt for a security solution containing native policy integration to ensure protection without sacrificing performance. 
  • Scripts automation
    Multi-cloud environments require third-party script automation to simplify the development and provisioning of resources. However, you also need an infrastructure that reacts instantly to system failures or security breaches across your cloud environments. 
  • Service integration
    Cloud infrastructure must have native integration capabilities that allow the network and security policies to integrate with the underlying network. Services like threat intelligence, cloud virtual monitoring, or managed network services are essential for increasing the strength of the cloud instance. 

Conclusion

Secure SD-WAN for multi-cloud converges traditional siloed networking practices and your organisation’s security requirements for remote workplaces. If your team manages to tailor an SD-WAN solution, you can seamlessly mitigate the networking problems due to increased traffic and the security risks that can arise from an increased digital perimeter. 

Looking to migrate to the cloud? Get in touch with our SD-WAN experts to ensure better connectivity and less downtime for your remote workplaces.

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