Trying to figure out how to secure your network and provide reliable connectivity to your employees can be hard enough as it is, and businesses now face the challenge of trying to position their networks to facilitate more remote work.
However, SD-WAN and VPNs can provide an easy way to extend the protections and policies of your corporate network to remote sites.
The different types of networking technologies can be a bit confusing, and there’s some overlap between them, considering that SD-WAN can even connect sites together via VPN. But you may come across different solutions on the market that are either branded as SD-WAN or VPN services, so it can be useful to look at these technologies in the following ways:
- SD-WAN, or software-defined networking, offers centralized, software-based control and visibility to a wide-area network. Its cloud-friendly functionality allows it to support applications and activity hosted in the cloud, and its intelligence allows it to prioritize bandwidth, making room for mission-critical functionality. It can also apply uniform security policies across its network to tighten security. SD-WAN can pair with a VPN for increased security as well.
- VPN services encrypt traffic through a virtual tunnel, and this technology is often used to extend the protections of a corporate network to remote workers who log in from their personal devices at home.
What Are the Advantages of Managed SD-WAN Services?
Managed SD-WAN can be looked at as a suite of services that ultimately help optimize bandwidth, improve security and reduce connectivity costs, particularly as you scale across sites. Cisco Meraki MX devices are popular choices for businesses establishing SD-WAN, and they can be particularly useful for dispersed setups, where employees work in multiple branches rather than one corporate office.
For example, part of your company’s operating plan due to COVID-19 may involve more focus on building out multiple, small branches, rather than expanding one large headquarters. In that case, SD-WAN could be a great option, and the Meraki SD-WAN solution can be used to significantly lower existing WAN costs.
With managed SD-WAN, you don’t have to handle everything on your own. Working with an IT consultant or service provider means that they can help implement and oversee your SD-WAN in a way that optimizes your network, saves money and frees up resources for your IT team.
What Are the Advantages of Managed VPN Services?
While a VPN can be part of managed SD-WAN solutions to securely connect branches, you might want to use a managed VPN service separate from SD-WAN to connect remote employees to your corporate network.
For example, if you only have one corporate office, but your employees are working from home more often now, you may want to use a VPN solution like Cisco AnyConnect. Using this type of VPN can help remote workers securely access your corporate network from any device, anywhere.
AnyConnect also integrates well with other solutions like Duo, which can be used for multi-factor authentication and to assess device security. That way, if your employees access sensitive corporate data from home, you can be more confident that the right user is accessing that information and that they’re doing so securely.
Like with managed SD-WAN services, managed VPN services can involve an IT consultant or service provider taking on the heavy lifting of managing a solution like AnyConnect.
Choosing the Right Managed SD-WAN or VPN Services
Both managed SD-WAN services and managed VPN services can help your organization secure your network as your remote setup grows.
Extreme Integration can help you choose the right managed SD-WAN or VPN services for your needs, and we can provide ongoing support for whichever solution you choose.
To learn more about securing your remote setup, download our new guide, Remote VPN and Firewall Management.