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Thursday, May 23rd, 2019


Security top concern for organizations transitioning to SD-WAN

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 onsecuritytopics surrounding WAN connectivity and SD-WAN as a solution to their Wide Area Networks. This post will look at some highlights of the APAC 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 have an overview ofSD-WAN and advanced security for SD-WAN in our videos below:

SD-WAN overview video

SD-WAN advanced security video

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. 

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

Globally, 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%

The top three security challenges are the same for APAC respondents at 76%, 56% and 50% respectively.

Top security challenges

Protecting against cyber threats is very much a top security concern everywhere. In Singapore, in line with the push towards Smart Nation, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong shared at the inaugural Stack 2018 Developer Conference the Government’s plans to migrate to reduce bureaucracy and simplify processes. However, PM Lee also highlighted the resulting security concerns, including protecting against cyber threats and cited the SingHealth data breach incident as a reminder of the risks involved. 

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. Other challenges such as performance to the cloud, secure remote access, and performance between locations, were cited as significant concerns by more than 50% of the global respondents. 

Depending on how these challenges are addressed, IT professionals may find themselves with a complex network to deploy and manage. 

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, looking at the global results, 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.

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.

James Forbes-May is the VP of Sales for APAC at Barracuda Networks.