Digital Transformation with Cisco SD-WAN

Digital Transformation helps companies delight customers and gain a competitive advantage by offering new, faster, and more satisfying ways to do business. It also helps companies enable their employees to be more efficient and productive. Secure networks are the “wind beneath the wings” of the Digital Transformation journey. When deployed with expert skill and a trusted partner, networking is unseen and seamless yet empowers businesses to extend across the internet safely and at great speed.

Some organizations find that they are being pulled into Digital Transformation through external demands, and others are actively pushing into the frontiers in order to gain competitive advantage. Here are some trends which are impacting organizations’ Digital Transformation journeys:

Increasing use of cloud-hosted applications and a hybrid multi-cloud environment

Forrester predicted that in 2018 the total global public cloud market will total $178B, up from $146B in 2017, and forecasted a continued compound annual growth rate of 22%. Cloud-hosted applications and test-dev platforms are a main driver of this growth. Forrester predicted that by the end of 2018, for the first time, over half of global enterprises will use at least one public cloud platform as part of their digital transformation efforts.

Multiple uplink choices

Organizations can use MPLS, Broadband, Fiber, LTE, or a mix of these as a hybrid deployment.  Each have their pros and cons for connectivity internally, to branch locations, and to public cloud services. Managing the complexity of these connections without a virtualized solution is difficult. SD-WAN virtualization uses multiple underlying connectivity technologies ie: MPLS, Broadband, Fiber, LTE, or a mix at the same time and presents this connectivity to users and applications as a single direct to Internet or secure site to site connection.

Increasing use of mobile devices, and the growth of video traffic

Customers and employees are making increasing use of smart devices to connect to company services. Mobile devices can introduce additional security risks to networks. The use of video is growing, both live and recorded. The capability to manage quality of service at a granular level is increasingly necessary in order to prevent bandwidth-intensive video streaming from disrupting other users.

Increasing security threats

Malware is increasingly more sophisticated and phishing continues to be a significant threat vector for organizations. Unauthorized cryptocurrency mining robs organizations of compute and network resources. Cisco’s 2018 Annual Cybersecurity Report finds that as of October 2017 over half of global web traffic was encrypted. Though encryption enhances security, encrypted malicious traffic is more difficult to detect. Advanced security solutions which analyze data for anomalies continuously are required for thorough protection from this type of attack.

These trends challenge modern organizations to adapt to a complex landscape. Managing multi-cloud environments, higher bandwidth requirements, multiple uplinks, and security threats that can take down networks is demanding. Cisco can be trusted to provide a buffet of new technologies to help organizations manage these complexities and prepare networks for a successful future.

Simplifying multi-cloud environments with SD-WAN

SD-WAN enables the management of a WAN through software. Many organizations have adopted SD-WAN to simplify the management of relatively straightforward WANs. As hybrid cloud has become the new normal, SD-WAN is becoming a necessity. As the numbers of endpoints, transport options, and clouds increase, managing the WAN using traditional methods is cumbersome and error-prone. Cisco SD-WAN brings centralized, cloud-based control and consistent policy enforcement across endpoints.

Cisco SD-WAN is trusted by over 15,000 organizations worldwide. Users appreciate not only its agility and flexibility, but also how it enables consistent quality-of-service and integrated security. Routing internet-bound traffic from remote branches through a central data center or centralized gateway is inefficient and introduces latency, causing a poor user experience. SD-WAN enables organizations to use less expensive broadband internet services to connect users at the branch to SaaS applications. Cisco SD-WAN fabric gives network administrators unprecedented visibility into network performance and control.

Cisco Cloud onRamp for SaaS continuously monitors the quality of experience for a designated cloud application through all permitted paths from a branch and dynamically routes the traffic through the best-performing path. Permitted paths can include direct cloud access from a remote branch, cloud access through the most optimal regional hub, or direct cloud access through Secure Web Gateways, depending on the security requirements of the organization for access to each application.

Securing multi-cloud environments

Cisco’s 2018 Annual Cybersecurity Report reveals that security personnel cite security as the most common benefit of hosting networks in the cloud. Public cloud providers typically operate via a ‘shared responsibility’ model when it comes to security. Depending on the particular public cloud service, the bulk of responsibility for security falls to the customer rather than the public cloud provider.

Cisco has a portfolio of solutions which secure connections to and within the public cloud.  

Customers running or migrating IT services to an Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) may be interested in vEdge or vMX, a virtual appliance which provides the same SD-WAN capabilities as a physical Meraki or Viptela appliance.

Securing networks with a layered defense

Another major finding of Cisco’s 2018 Annual Cybersecurity Report is that nearly half of the security risk that organizations face stems from having multiple security vendors and products. Cisco’s security portfolio has been developed to work together, creating a layered defense. A complete security suite will have a large preventative component. Because threats are changing constantly, it is also important to be able to detect attacks as they occur. Should a breach take place despite precautions and monitoring, having the capability to analyze retrospectively is key to closing security gaps to prevent further intrusions.

Certified, trustworthy hardware

SD-WAN brings such visibility, flexibility, and control to the network that it’s easy to forget about the hardware underneath, especially when it operates consistently day after day. Cisco’s networking hardware is unmatched for reliability and trustworthiness.

Enterprise quality for businesses of all sizes

Digital Transformation empowers small businesses to enterprises and everything in between. The flexibility and accessibility of public cloud services and cloud-hosted SaaS mean that small businesses can have access to the same technologies that the largest enterprises do. There is no reason for their network hardware, network software, and security to lag behind. Businesses of all sizes, with any size I.T. department, trust Cisco for network hardware, SD-WAN and security solutions.

Securing the promise of Digital Transformation

Digital transformation promises to change the way we do business in many exciting ways. To successfully manage this transition requires technology that embodies the qualities of digital transformation itself; agile, dependable, innovative, experience-focused. Cisco SD-WAN and security solutions layered over Cisco hardware help organizations of all sizes achieve the promise of digital transformation.



Author's Bio

Patrick Vitalone and David van Schravendijk