Industry Trends

Speeding Along on the Digital Superhighway

By Michael Xie | November 18, 2019

This is a summary of an article written for Forbes by Fortinet’s Founder, President, and CTO, Michael Xie. The article appeared on August 27, 2019, and can be accessed here.

Despite innovation, insight, and expertise, today’s digital infrastructures are still subject to the performance limitations of the conditions in which they operate. And those conditions can limit them dramatically. It can be like trying to drive a race car in rush hour traffic.

Companies invest in digital infrastructure looking for clear return on investment (ROI), such as increased efficiencies and greater productivity. So it can be quite frustrating when external conditions cause it to not perform as designed. For example, SaaS applications that perform as expected with a direct connection from the core network often experience serious functionality and security challenges at when they have to be routed through the data center to the branch and edge — reducing efficiency, impacting productivity, and increasing risk.

The problem is that the routers deployed at remote WAN locations are often incapable of intelligently prioritizing business applications, slowing down applications designed for optimum performance. And when branch employees can’t work at the speed of business, not only does their productivity suffer, but so does the perception of the value they provide to the organization.

At the same time, because these branch offices rarely include a fraction of the security deployed in the central network, they are also a prime target for cybercriminals. Branch offices are easier to penetrate, generally have lower levels of visibility that conceal the movements of criminals, and provide a direct connection to valuable sources of data.

Leveraging SD-WAN to address the inherent performance issues of the branch only addresses half of the problem. Far too often, SD-WAN security is weak, and additional protections need to be bolted on after the fact. The result is a piecemeal solution that further increases inefficiencies and overhead, resulting in higher total costs of ownership, reduced visibility, and increased risk.

To ensure that an SD-WAN solution provides the actual benefits organizations are hoping for, it must deliver two critical features: First, the ability to prioritize business-critical applications through direct access to the internet. And second, built-in security that provides the full range of security that businesses require. Without those two critical elements built into a single Secure SD-WAN console, “organizations will struggle to achieve the full potential of their distributed network.”

A fully integrated Secure SD-WAN solution not only provides greater, more consistent speeds as well as a full range of security, it also is far more cost-effective and easier to manage.

“That efficiency is reflected in both cost and scalability: Organizations switching from MPLS to using broadband via SD-WAN can often experience operating expense reductions. And while adding another branch with MPLS connectivity can take months to establish and configure, with an SD-WAN solution that also offers SD-Branch, this can be done in minutes — with direct internet access and strong security across the network.” —Michael Xie, Stuck In Traffic On The Way To The Cloud, Forbes

Driving a roadster in rush hour traffic will never unleash its true potential. The same is true when trying to deliver business-critical applications through traditional WAN connections never designed for the volumes of traffic, levels of performance, or depth of security they require. Combining next-generation security with SD-WAN provides the functionality, performance, and protection that only direct connectivity to broadband public networks can provide – and that traditional routers were simply never designed to deliver.

This is a summary of an article written for Forbes by Fortinet’s Founder, President, and CTO, Michael Xie. The article appeared on August 27, 2019, and can be accessed here.

Learn how Fortinet’s Secure SD-WAN Solution uses a security-driven networking approach to improve user experience and simplify operations at the WAN Edge.