The Partner Opportunity Around SD-WAN and SD-Branch Deployment

By Fortinet | June 18, 2020

This is a summary of an article written for Channel Futures. The entire article can be accessed here.

The adoption of cloud-first strategies has accelerated network evolution across organizations of all sizes. This has led to new cloud-enabled initiatives developed with connectivity in mind, including bring-your-own-device (BYOD), software as a service (SaaS), and the Internet of Things (IoT), all of which play an essential role in modern teleworker strategies. 

This is not just a trend, either. Nor is it a bump in the road. As employees adopt more digital tools and services to help stay productive and competitive, they will continue to add more traffic to the networks in which they work. Companies with outdated architectures may find they need a whole new strategy when it comes to handling this increasing volume of network traffic. Similarly, modern applications are sensitive to latency issues, and traditional strategies like multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) cannot support them for the performance that users demand. 

However, in the race to maximize the benefits of moving processes and data to the cloud, concerns around centralized control and secure oversight are often pushed down the list of priorities.

How Partners Can Leverage SD-WAN and SD-Branch to Enhance Network Evolution

As your customers expand their networks, the role of software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) and SD-Branch solutions should not be underestimated. One reason is that upgrading old MPLS systems can be expensive and, even once updated, they may do little to simplify operations or fill the security gap once satisfied with security solutions deployed at the core. At a time when your customers need an affordable way to secure and manage their growing distributed networks, while increasing visibility and control, solutions that complicate matters even further need to be off the table. This is where SD-WAN can show its true value. 

Secure SD-WAN solutions, such as those offered through Fortinet, provide partners and MSSPs with the perfect opportunity to help organizations enhance their networks and more efficiently direct traffic to remote locations and branch offices. These solutions also enable the centralization of network monitoring, resulting in a more effective way for network security teams to manage WAN architectures. And with the addition of SD-Branch solutions, organizations can further simplify their remote office infrastructures and maximize edge security.

While these solutions provide numerous benefits, partners and MSSPs must remember that not all SD-WAN offerings are designed to meet their customers’ performance requirements. In fact, many organizations have reported that their chosen solutions are difficult to manage, time-consuming, and overly complicated. By offering SD-WAN-as-a-service, partners can help these customers enhance their networks and business offerings without making compromises that could impact business continuity.  

Considerations When Offering SD-WAN and SD-Branch Solutions to Your Customers

For businesses with digital transformation on the agenda, finding a service provider to help them with their SD-WAN deployments can be a game-changer. Below are seven issues to consider when selecting a solution to standardize on, and when offering SD-WAN and SD-Branch services to your customers:

  1. Comprehensive Security: A centrally-managed system ensures maximum visibility, resulting in fewer security gaps that bring added risk. When selecting an SD-WAN solution for your customers, look for one that features next-generation firewall (NGFW) integration. Fortinet’s Secure SD-WAN offering, for example, features this integration, helping to mitigate potential risk, providing a full stack of comprehensive security solutions, while reducing both capital expenditures (CapEx) and operating expenses (OpEx).   
  2. Reduced CapEx and OpEx: When an SD-WAN or SD-Branch solution is delivered and maintained through a single appliance, your customers can save money on devices and IT-related travel between offices. And by transitioning away from multiple, non-integrated solutions, your customers can avoid having to obtain additional tools such as network firewalls, anti-malware, WAN optimizers, and intrusion prevention systems (IPS).  
  3. Enhanced App Performance: Key challenges often associated with traditional WANs include poor app performance and prolonged downtime, resulting in a negative impact on productivity and overall business objectives. SD-WAN helps address these challenges by enabling greater control over WAN operations and more efficient management of applications across the network infrastructure. Fortinet's Secure SD-WAN solution enhances enterprise application performance by providing increased visibility and the ability to rapidly shift traffic between public cloud connections and MPLS or other transport services, such as broadband or 4G/LTE/5G
  4. Improved User Experience: When traditional WANs, which are typically not cloud-friendly, get bogged down with new technologies, apps do not run properly and user experience (UX) suffers. The SD-WAN you choose should deliver optimum cloud connectivity to enterprise users and top of the line performance without causing any gaps in security.
  5. End-to-End Visibility: App awareness is vital in the digital world, especially as telework becomes the norm across most organizations. This means that in addition to SD-WAN connectivity, IT teams require an SD-Branch solution that provides full visibility across all local branch LANs to secure things like network access and installed IoT devices, while simultaneously connecting to a centralized business location. Additionally, this solution should be able to log, catalog, and prioritize all applications on the network based on bandwidth usage. 
  6. Scalability: Your customers require an SD-WAN solution that can scale along with their businesses. It must also provide built-in encryption inspection and processing capabilities to ensure maximum protection without sacrificing performance. 
  7. Compliance: Offer your customers a managed SD-Branch solution that features centralized and automated logging, auditing, and reporting capabilities designed to ensure compliance and save on resources.

Enhance Your Customers' Business Operations with Secure SD-WAN and SD-Branch

As a Fortinet Partner or MSSP, you have the chance to offer your customers an integrated Secure SD-WAN and SD-Branch solution designed to enhance and secure business operations. As customers expand their networks, such a solution creates an opportunity to deepen relationships by providing a value-added service on top of a customized solution. Fortinet makes it easy with unique SD-WAN and SD-Branch solutions you can customize for each customer.

Encourage your customers to take a security-driven approach to networking to improve user experience and simplify operations at the WAN edge with Fortinet’s Secure SD-WAN solution.

Current partners can visit the Partner Portal to find important updates from Fortinet and our partner program.

Watch this webinar on demand to learn how partners can leverage Fortinet Secure SD-WAN to secure their customers’ network edge.