Security top concern for organizations transitioning to SD-WAN

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We're excited to announce that we've recently completed a global study on SD-WAN adoption in business, and the results are now available to the public.  As we've often done in the past, Barracuda commissioned Vanson Bourne to conduct the study and compile the stats that informed our conclusions.  This particular survey polled IT leaders and network and security professionals on topics surrounding WAN connectivity and SD-WAN as a solution to their Wide Area Networks.  Klaus Gheri has blogged about the EMEA region results here, and the global and regional white papers are available here.    This blog post will look at some of the US and global results.  For complete results, visit our website here to download a white paper.

First let's start with some background.  Secure SD-WAN is an area of strong interest for Barracuda.  While we do not offer a pure-play SD-WAN solution, the Barracuda CloudGen Firewall provides Secure SD-WAN capabilities.  In a pure-play scenario, the SD-WAN solution provides some traffic optimization and link and load balancing, and in most cases it requires a separate security solution.  This can increase complexity and costs, and often prevents any type of centralized management and policy enforcement.

Secure SD-WAN provided by Barracuda CloudGen Firewall performs the SD-WAN capabilities and provides the customer with network-wide security.  Advanced Threat Protection, public cloud integration, centralized management, routing, and other capabilities are all built into this type of security solution.  You can learn more about SD-WAN in our overview video below:

For more details, visit our SD-WAN corporate page here.

The research that we've just released shows how a Secure SD-WAN solution could be a great fit for many companies looking to solve their challenges with expanding networks and remote users.  We'll get back to this point later.

The Barracuda study examined five specific areas of interest related to SD-WAN:

  • IT challenges and priorities
  • SD-WAN deployment
  • Benefits and barriers of SD-WAN
  • Secure SD-WAN
  • Future of SD-WAN

We'll review some of the results here, and for full results and conclusions, check out our whitepaper here.

Most respondents identified the following as their top three security challenges:

  • Protecting against cyber threats (e.g. advanced persistent threats and ransomware) – 74%
  • Protecting an ever-expanding network (e.g. over new locations, IoT, cloud, etc) – 64%
  • Integrating and securing cloud data centers – 53%

 

New SD-WAN research: 64% of US technology professionals consider 'security of an ever-expanding network' as a top concern. Only 56% EMEA and APAC counterparts say the same.Click To Tweet

Looking specifically at the second result, “protecting an ever-expanding network,” it's interesting to note that the United States leads the pack in this concern.  While 64% of the US respondents cited this as a top three challenge, only 56% in EMEA and 56% in APAC cited the same.   Later in the survey, we also found that US respondents were less likely to believe that an SD-WAN solution contained everything they need to keep their network secure.  EMEA and APAC results indicated a significantly larger number believed that SD-WAN secured the network.  Regardless of any correlation, or lack thereof, it's an interesting contrast between regions.

As you can see from the above graphic, other top concerns included secure direct internet for branch offices, government compliance, and policy enforcement for remote users.   You can see all of the details in the white paper.  

Almost all US respondents say that they are facing WAN networking challenges, with 54% of them finding the management of the complex network to be the biggest problem in that area.   Other challenges such as performance to the cloud, secure remote access, and performance between locations, were cited as significant concerns for more than 50% of respondents. 

Depending on how these challenges are addressed, IT professionals may find themselves with a complex network to deploy and manage.  Although a Secure SD-WAN deployment could address many of these challenges, only 26% of the US respondents identified “Secure SD-WAN” as an important security measure for their companies.  Less than 20% identified Secure SD-WAN as a recent investment, although that increases to 23% when considering investments coming up in the next 12 months.

Download the white paper

Security, Connectivity and control: The challenges and opportunities of SD-WAN

We did have many respondents who have already deployed SD-WAN, and we were able to find some interesting results with this group.  For example, 36% of current SD-WAN users are likely to have a pure-play SD-WAN in place with some additional security overlaid.  30% of those without SD-WAN in place today, but considering it in the future, are most likely to want a single solution.  This seems to indicate that as SD-WAN comes of age and businesses continue to adopt, more IT professionals are aware of the benefits of Secure SD-WAN solutions.  However, Secure SD-WAN still has to earn their trust.  Although almost all respondents said security should be the primary concern when deploying SD-WAN, only a little more than half of them said they would take the increased pricing and management overhead of multi-box deployments in order to make sure they had the best feature set in terms of security and network optimization.  56% of the US respondents said this, while 40% of EMEA and 49% of APAC respondents said the same.  However, in looking at the full context of these results, it appears that the security focus is still there.  The difference between choosing multi-box and single-box solutions may not a security issue, but an opinion on WAN optimization capabilities.

There are too many results to go through here, so definitely check out the white papers here if you find this interesting

If you're in the market for a solution that offers a full feature set of SD-WAN capabilities, next-generation firewalling, native integration with the public cloud, and complete centralized management and policy enforcement, then check out the Barracuda CloudGen Firewall.  You can learn more about our SD-WAN capabilities here, and request your free 30-day trial here.  If you're interested in learning more about our recent research, visit this page to get the white papers.

Check out this video on advanced security for your SD-WAN - http://cuda.co/ytpbd4Click To Tweet

Security, Connectivity and control: The challenges and opportunities of SD-WAN

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