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To stay competitive, enterprises are embracing digital transformation (DX) in varying degrees and ways—and with good reason. Digitization drives efficiencies, lowers costs, creates new ways to engage with customers, and builds new revenue opportunities.

Digitization at the Network Edge

As part of this digitization process, enterprises are experiencing a transformation of applications and devices at the network edge. Most enterprises are becoming more distributed and the number of applications used in branch and remote offices is rapidly increasing. Business-critical requirements such as instant access to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications, video conferencing, and voice over IP (VoIP) drive more internet traffic and push bandwidth limits. This is only exasperated by the continuous wide-scale, rapid adoption of DX initiatives.

In addition to accessing fast and reliable applications, users must be able to connect to any resource or any other user—any time, from any device, in any location. Often, multiple connections are used at the same time. This requires a seemingly unlimited amount of bandwidth across private and public networks, mobile users, and multi-cloud environments.

Despite the benefits DX brings to organizations, new technologies and processes expand the attack surface and expose new vulnerabilities. To be truly successful, every DX initiative—including software-defined wide area networks (SD-WAN)—must include a security strategy.

SD-WAN as a Solution

SD-WAN has emerged as a popular solution to support the demands of DX at the WAN edge. In fact, it is forecasted that SD-WAN will experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 40% through 2022.

Driving this rapid adoption is the delivery of high-performance direct access to cloud applications and resources for branch locations to a degree previously not possible. Organizations are quickly implementing SD-WAN solutions to take advantage of the faster application performance, increased business agility, and cost savings it brings.

While the business advantages are clear, it is imperative that organizations consider security for their SD-WAN solutions both at headquarters and at the branch. Yet, the majority of SD-WAN solutions do not include a security component. Organizations are typically left to try to cobble together their own security solutions, resulting in a disparate array of point products that do not communicate and increase management complexity.

Fortinet Secure SD-WAN ASIC Breaks New Ground

One SD-WAN solution that enterprises are finding meets both their performance and security requirement is Fortinet Secure SD-WAN. Already touting the only purpose-built security processing unit, Fortinet recently announced the world’s first SD-WAN ASIC. This purpose-built processing unit enables security-driven WAN-edge networking.

The result for organizations is unrivaled security and performance. Most notably, Fortinet Secure SD-WAN delivers the fastest application identification and steering in the industry, while providing connectivity and advanced security capabilities that are 10x faster than other SD-WAN solutions.

Key capabilities organizations realize as a result of Fortinet Secure SD-WAN ASIC include:

  • High-performance connections
  • Fully integrated security
  • Application-centric controls
  • WAN optimization
  • Routing capabilities to the cloud and data center

Built-in Security Is Key

The first SD-WAN appliance to be powered by the new ASIC is the FortiGate 100F. It combines best-of-breed SD-WAN and next-generation firewall (NGFW) capabilities in one product and is the only true Secure SD-WAN solution on the market. It gives organizations the network performance and security they need while reducing complexity and streamlining management.

More specifically, the FortiGate 100F delivers:

A comprehensive suite of essential security tools. It includes NGFW security that can see and protect traffic from Layer 2 to Layer 7, intrusion detection (IDS) and intrusion protection (IPS), application awareness, web security, anti-malware and antivirus tools, data encryption, and the ability to inspect encrypted traffic with no performance impacts.

  • Natively embedded security in the SD-WAN solution. Embedded security reduces the device footprint needed to protect branch offices. The FortiGate 100F was designed to handle the processing overhead of running a full suite of security tools. In addition, security policy and SD-WAN functionality can be managed with one console.
  • Seamless integration with Fortinet and partner security solutions. Single-pane-of-glass management combined with universal threat intelligence not only raises the level of security across the entire distributed network, but also helps preserve and consolidate IT resources related to the entire deployment, integration, monitoring, and optimization lifecycle.

Enable SD-Branch Transformation

Organizations that want to extend their SD-WAN capabilities to the branch can connect their WAN connection to their internal branch LAN, creating an SD-Branch. The SD-WAN ASIC accelerates the extension of connectivity and security to wireless access points and switches to deliver SD-Branch. This ensures high-performance connectivity from end to end, enables the deployment of a single, unified security strategy that provides consistent visibility and control, and further reduces next-generation branch complexity and cost.

Fortinet Secure SD-WAN Enables the Fastest Connectivity and Comprehensive Security

Organizations need a Secure SD-WAN solution designed to meet all of the demands of the new network edge. To achieve a secure DX, they need high-performance connections, fully integrated security, application-centric controls, WAN optimization, and routing that supports seamless connection from network edge to branch locations.

Fortinet is the only vendor with security capabilities to receive the SD-WAN “Recommended” rating in the first NSS Labs Software-Defined Wide Area Networking Test Report. As such, Fortinet Secure SD-WAN transforms the WAN edge with security-driven networking to improve branch efficiency without compromising protection.