Here Are Four Good Reasons to Switch Out Your Branch Firewall for a Safe SD-WAN

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As the branch becomes increasingly important to your business’s success, so must it be protected. A branch with outdated equipment that isn’t properly managed can lead to a breach in security and expose your company to damaging cyberattacks.

The network perimeter moves to the SD-WAN solutions. The data, applications, and users are now hosted in the cloud, meaning that your branch firewall has become less relevant than ever before.

What does this mean for a branch firewall? You’re no longer protecting against threats outside of your network, which could spell disaster if you don’t have an effective way to protect against malicious traffic within your organization’s internal networks. For example:

  • If you’re using a traditional branch firewall as an edge device at your headquarters location, which is then connected via VPN to multiple offices around the world, you’ve got quite a few potential points of entry for hackers wanting to access sensitive data stored on company servers or steal critical business information from employees’ computers and mobile devices (and even those belonging to customers).
  • If each office maintains its IT infrastructure, there’s no guarantee that all branches are protected equally by today’s standard PC-based firewalls. This could leave some locations vulnerable while others remain safe from attack because they’ve implemented stronger protection mechanisms such as intrusion prevention systems/intrusion detection systems (IPS/IDS) or next-generation firewall technologies (NGFW).

New workloads, new requirements

As you begin to deploy new workloads and expand your requirements, you’ll find that many of the capabilities of your branch firewall are no longer sufficient. For example:

  • Cloud computing and IoT require the ability to connect remote devices and applications to on-premises resources, which can be done through a secure SD-WAN connection.
  • Increased security and compliance requirements are driving the need for application acceleration at branch offices by allowing them to use network traffic shaping tools such as application prioritization or QoS (quality of service).

Performance matters

With an SD-WAN, you can increase your bandwidth, reduce latency, and improve application performance to deliver a better user experience. With an SD-WAN solution like Cisco Meraki MX Security Appliances with Branch Secure Access VPNs enabled as part of the same appliance group (site), clients get dedicated capacity from their local appliance so they never have to worry about slowing down other applications in the branch office during peak times—even if those other applications happen to be sending very large files across sites at once!

It’s easy to deploy and manage

Traditional branch firewalls require you to set up a dedicated appliance in each branch location; this makes it difficult to scale or update the configuration of your security solution as your business grows. 

With an SD-WAN solution, only one device needs to be configured: the hub, which is centrally managed by IT staff in the main office. This enables you to quickly and easily respond as your business expands and contracts or new threats emerge.

Conclusion

If you’re considering replacing your branch firewall, SD-WAN solution providers are worth a look. It can help protect your branch as well as accelerate performance. That’s because SD-WAN helps secure and optimize data flow between branches and headquarters while also helping ensure that bandwidth-intensive applications receive the treatment they deserve. Given the number of threats facing today’s networks and their increasing complexity, a solution like this is an important part of any organization’s security posture.

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