Peter Elmer, Check Point Office of the CTO and Mor Ahuvia, Check Point Office of the CTO.

By 2026, 70% of enterprises will have adopted SD-WAN. The shift towards cloud-based services and infrastructure is driving organizations to rethink their networking infrastructure. At present, your organization may be experiencing some of the following challenges:

Core WAN limitations

1. Latency issues. Latency refers to the time it takes for a data packet to travel from its source to its destination. Traditional WAN infrastructure often leads to extremely high latency, as all traffic, including internet-bound traffic, is routed through the headquarters or data center for security inspection. This can result in sluggish application performance, slow file transfers and reduced responsiveness, ultimately hindering business efficiency.

2. High MPLS costs. While MPLS offers security and reliability, it comes with a substantial price tag. These costs can become a financial burden, especially for organizations with multiple branches or remote locations. Nowadays, there are much more cost-effective alternatives to MPLS, such as broadband and 5G wireless internet connections.

3. Challenges with adding new branches. Traditional WAN architectures often lack the flexibility and speed needed to keep up with the addition of new branches. Adding new sites typically requires the physical installation of new private lines by the service provider, a time-consuming and complex process.

Further, integrating new sites into the existing WAN infrastructure can be challenging. This can make it difficult to accommodate expanded global operations and/or to execute mergers and acquisitions. Typically, adding new branches with WAN requires specialized hardware and manual configurations at each branch. This increases overhead for already burdened admin teams.

4. WAN as a single point of failure. Traditional WANs can easily become a single point of failure. If your Internet Service Provider (ISP) experiences an outage for any reason, your branch, office or remote site loses internet connectivity. This affects your ability to support customers, employees or automated operations. By enabling failover to a secondary or even tertiary link connecting to different service providers, you can ensure greater business resilience, regardless of circumstances.

Leveraging your current investment

Some security gateways enable you to implement SD-WAN easily, via a simple software update. This prevents you from having to install yet another point product. As a result, there’s no need for you to ‘rip-and-replace’ your current investment. This saves time, money and spares everyone from potential disruptions. For example, see Check Point’s SD-WAN solutions.

Improving WAN resilience

Here are a series of items to consider when evaluating your current security gateways for improved WAN resilience.

1. Preventing vs. detecting advanced threats. Ensure that your network is protected against the latest cyber threats, including zero-days, ransomware and DNS attacks. Check your solution’s catch rate to assess how well it can protect your business from known and unknown attacks, ideally using AI and machine learning technology.

2. Shorten the learning curve. Transitioning to new technology can be intimidating. By utilizing a familiar user interface, IT teams can quickly adapt to the new infrastructure, requiring fewer staff hours to learn and operate the network. Also, with an all-in-one solution, your team doesn’t have to operate and maintain a separate SD-WAN appliance.

3. Support for different types of connections. Shifting from traditional MPLS to broadband internet and 5G cellular connections can significantly reduce costs without compromising network performance. Check on which types of links your organization would need to stay connected, such as 5G wireless for rural, remote and even maritime sites. Consider embedded Wi-Fi if you’re looking for an all-in-one branch solution.

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