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In this new environment, humans simply cannot move fast enough to add security as an afterthought, especially when edge networks are often ad hoc and increasingly temporary. If we intend to protect data, personal information, and critical infrastructures from cybercriminals in a constantly shifting environment, cybersecurity must be a fundamental feature of every product and system from the moment that it is conceived, enabling it to automatically interoperate, expand, contract, and scale in real time.
SD-WAN Paves the Way for 5G
Because traditional WAN routers were never designed for the connectivity complexities of today’s branch offices, when organizations begin considering their move to 5G, they should also consider moving to SD-WAN. In addition to already being designed to support and manage 5G connections, these solutions can automatically determine the requirements needed to establish the appropriate connection for any given application or service. No matter the number of users making connections to different services, SD-WAN solutions can provide the flexibility needed to establish and alter connections based on bandwidth requirements, connection quality, and cost. If a connection deteriorates due to latency or packet loss, these solutions should also be able to dynamically swap it out for another. And a Secure SD-WAN solution is able to maintain critical security as an integrated component of the connectivity management process. By leveraging SD-WAN, organizations can ensure all devices have the best possible connection rates at all times without compromising on flexibility, visibility, or protection.
The Need to Move Past Traditional Security
Despite the benefits it offers, SD-WAN, like any solution, is not perfect. When making the switch from a WAN router to a traditional SD-WAN solution, organizations lose the protections associated with traffic backhauled through the data center. While most SD-WAN solutions provide some very basic tools to replace the full stack of enterprise-class security, such as a VPN and a stripped-down firewall, they are simply not good enough.
To support the connectivity and bandwidth requirements of today’s organizations and their applications, They need a Secure SD-WAN solution able to effectively manage and secure continually changing environments in real time. If this cannot happen, security will be left struggling to keep up as connection and application requirements change, resulting in gaps that open the door for cybercriminals to exploit networks.
5G Adds to the Complexity of Securing SD-WAN
In addition to the usual challenges associated with securing SD-WAN, these complexities only increase when 5G is brought into the mix. To keep up with 5G speeds and avoid security becoming a critical bottleneck when performing essential tasks such as inspecting encrypted traffic, security will need to function faster than ever. In fact, faster than most purpose-built security products available today. And as the volume of encrypted traffic rises – which currently makes up more than 70% of network traffic – so does the adoption rate of TLS 1.3, the faster and more secure successor to SSL. Considering these changes, ensuring that security can support 5G speeds without interrupting business-critical communication is more essential than ever.
Achieving this level of security may be easier said than done. Inspecting encrypted traffic takes a heavy toll on next-generation firewall (NGFW) performance – so much so that many vendors refuse to even publish their performance numbers. Which means that actively inspecting the ever-increasing volume of encrypted traffic – especially when using TLS 1.3 to secure 5G connections – will have an increasingly negative impact on both the firewall and SD-WAN connectivity as performance expectations climb, ultimately threatening one of the primary reasons why 5G was initially adopted.
To meet these new performance requirements and keep pace with tasks like the inspection of encrypted traffic, organizations must adopt a purpose-built Secure SD-WAN solution designed from the ground up for performance. By leveraging purpose-built security ASICs, as opposed to commercial processors, Fortinet’s Secure SD-WAN solution is the only device designed to manage critical security functions while maintaining performance at these rates.
Security must also be seamlessly integrated with the networking side of SD-WAN to ensure that when a connection needs to be changed, both pieces respond as a single, consolidated system. Additionally, a unified management interface will ensure that any changes within the SD-WAN environment will be visible and easily managed through a single pane of glass. Fortinet is the only SD-WAN vendor to provide these essential capabilities.