With the acceleration of digital transformation, cloud adoption, and workforce mobility, the traditional approach of enabling access and backhauling all traffic to a centralized data center can no longer meet the fast-changing business needs of today’s cloud-ready enterprises. The ever-increasing network traffic and the use of WAN routers and multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) connections to route all traffic through central networks in a hub-and-spoke design impacts the overall network performance hence, resulting in significant performance issues, operational complexity, and costs. Additionally, to secure branches, users, and applications, legacy networks are forced to add security as a bolt-on solution, creating disparate products and interfaces and leading to risky security gaps. To overcome these challenges, organizations need to transform their network and security architecture to improve business agility, consistent connectivity, and secure access for users, devices, and applications.
In today’s world, users and applications are distributed more than ever. To provide consistent and secure connectivity to all applications, organizations will continue to replace the traditional networking technology and multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) with software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN). According to the US SD-WAN End User Survey conducted by Frost & Sullivan in 2021, 21% of the respondents confirm that they will deploy SD-WAN in the next 24 months. While some solutions may appear to simplify the creation of traditional VPNs and traffic intelligence, they have fallen short in delivering on the transformative promise of SD-WAN. They cannot deliver true application service level agreements (SLAs) and offer limited visibility, resulting in a poor user experience for all applications. Legacy SD-WAN solutions do not scale well and require manual intervention, creating substantial operational complexity for networking and infrastructure teams. To improve application performance and availability, businesses require a robust SD-WAN solution that eliminates the challenges of traditional packet-based systems that enforce complex routing functions.
Palo Alto Networks supports organizations in moving to a user-centric, cloud-delivered architecture through its next-generation SD-WAN product called Prisma SD-WAN. Prisma SD-WAN delivers an exceptional user experience while simplifying operations and improving security outcomes.
To ensure collaborative productivity, Prisma SD-WAN provides the best performance for all apps, including software-as-a-service (SaaS), unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS), and business-critical applications. By measuring application performance in real time, Prisma SD-WAN controls application performance with accurate traffic engineering and prioritization. The solution’s advanced SD-WAN analytics is further enhanced with integrated autonomous digital experience management (ADEM), providing complete visibility, from users to applications and anywhere in between. As a result, it becomes a seamless process to ensure SLA objectives while eliminating the complexity of traditional routing configurations, topology, and access list modifications.
With branch simplicity at the top of mind for businesses, reducing operational overhead means IT staff can invest time for future projects and enhancements. Leveraging machine learning-based capabilities and artificial intelligence for IT operations (AIOps), Prisma SD-WAN significantly reduces operational complexity, with the proven result of helping customers reduce the number of trouble tickets by 99% for the WAN. With its revolutionary API-based CloudBlades platform, Palo Alto Networks simplifies the integration of branch services, such as security, public cloud, and IT operations, with zero service disruptions and at scale. The company purposely built the Prisma SD-WAN Instant-On Network (ION) family of appliances to provide customers with integrated capabilities, such as 5G and backup LTE, thus catering to various business use cases by offering SD-WAN appliances of different form factors to suit any branch size, from small branches such as kiosks to large data center-scale branches.
From a security perspective, the rapid digital transformation, rising demand for high-performance applications, and increasing user-experience standards indicate the importance of converging both networking and security as businesses scale. Many organizations realize that they cannot consider security as an afterthought when transforming their network infrastructure. When security and networking are converged into a single system, networks can evolve and transform to meet rapidly changing business needs, without compromising on security.
To create a holistic approach that offers visibility into the network traffic between users, remote employees, applications, and devices across locations (e.g., data center, cloud, and branch office), Palo Alto Networks integrates networking and security into a cloud-delivered model called Secure Access Service Edge (SASE). The company’s Prisma SD-WAN is a key component of its Prisma SASE solution and can connect to Prisma Access to deliver a combination of cloud-delivered networking and security solutions. Through this connection, customers can instantly enable cloud-delivered security services to the branch, including cloud firewall, secure web gateway (SWG), cloud access security broker (CASB), zero trust network access (ZTNA), and threat prevention.
Traditional hub-and-spoke architectures that backhaul all traffic to organizations’ data centers cannot keep up with rapid cloud adoption and the ever-increasing remote workforce. Optimizing business continuity and addressing evolving security challenges require organizations to transform their networking and security architecture to allow secure access and optimal connectivity for users, devices, and applications. Frost & Sullivan commends the comprehensiveness of Palo Alto Networks’ cloud-delivered security services and the native integration of its SD-WAN appliances that allow the company to support organizations in modernizing their environments at their own pace and with their preference for improved scalability and agility.