Organizational growth often leads to the rapid expansion of the work force and the addition of branch offices. This, combined with the transition to a teleworker environment, can place significant demands on an existing infrastructure in terms of bandwidth requirements, access control, and securing workflows and transactions that are not only multiplying, but now originating from outside the traditional network. And WAN environments that rely on dedicated MPLS connections become increasingly expensive while providing limited flexibility and functionality when it comes to things like cloud access, security, and application performance.
Large distributed enterprises in the manufacturing services industry understand more than most the need for business agility. In today’s increasingly competitive digital marketplace, they need to stay connected in order to anticipate and respond to shifting consumer demands, provide the best possible experience to their customers, and address the challenges of providing a robust work environment while maintaining reliable business continuity in a time of digital innovation and increasing cyber threats.
SD-WAN to Achieve Business Agility
One large manufacturing and services organization, with a single dedicated WAN link at every branch location, began experiencing outages that had a severe impact on their workforce and customer experience with business-critical applications. Such connectivity issues, especially in an industry that relies on continuously managing the delicate balance between supply and demand, can negatively impact customer satisfaction and business outcomes.
With over 1200 employees, and a distributed infrastructure across eastern and central Europe, this organization’s branch offices also had a wide variety of connection types in place, with some branch offices using MPLS/satellite, others using DSL, and a majority using LTE as their only available link for datacenter connectivity and internet access.
In order to sustain and accelerate growth, this organization needed continuous connectivity. In fact, it was a top priority for their digital innovation strategy. They also understood that they needed to augment their existing WAN links with LTE backup across all branches to support an active/active load balancing and failover architecture designed to maintain business-critical applications such as Point of Sale, camera feeds, and automation tools.
They were interested in adopting an SD-WAN solution best suited to their flexible deployment needs. This included a solution that combined connectivity and security together through a centralized management interface, application awareness combined with high-speed SSL inspection, and local breakout security for direct cloud access from each branch office. In addition, visibility and control needed to extend across all branch networks, combined with precise segmentation for security policy enforcement across users, applications, and devices.
Fortinet’s Secure SD-WAN Solution for Digital Innovation
With several SD-WAN vendors vying for selection as part of their proof of concept trials, this organization was quick to discover that Fortinet’s robust Secure SD-WAN solution differentiated itself by providing a fully integrated solution that combined business agility, optimal connectivity, strong security, and best user experience into a single form factor that was easy to deploy and manage.
Fortinet Secure SD-WAN offered hybrid WAN traffic steering, QoS prioritization, application acceleration, and automation combined with a robust Next-Generation Firewall that supported a full stack of enterprise-class security functions. And it was available as a consolidated, powerful desktop appliance that also included built-in LTE. As a result, this organization was able to validate that the Fortinet solution would support all use cases for their current business needs, as well as future innovations—something no other vendor was able to do.
A few of the key benefits and immediate business outcomes provided by Fortinet’s Secure SD-WAN solution include:
- Deep integration combined with product consolidation: The needs for LTE as primary (replacing satellite-based MPLS links) and secondary links were easily met with FortiGate 40F-3G4G appliance with built-in LTE and the custom-built SD-WAN ASIC chip, the SOC4. And because these appliances include a full stack of security tightly integrated with advanced SD-WAN functionality, they were able to reduce the number of devices that needed to be deployed at each branch office. And with support for active/active load balancing and failover, they could provide consistent connectivity across all branch offices to ensure the best possible performance for their business-critical applications.
- Best User Experience: Given the nature of their manufacturing business, their goal was to deploy a streaming camera video feed in the near future aimed at providing connectivity and access control at their branch locations. The Fortinet Secure SD-WAN’s ability to prioritize high bandwidth applications, and ensure better access control with its branch-to-branch VPN overlay, ensured the best user experience combined with reliable, uninterrupted service.
- Strong Security Posture with Intent-based Segmentation: The Secure SD-WAN’s ability to natively support intent-based segmentation enabled this organization to achieve better protection for direct access to cloud and internet resources, while enforcing security policies based on the roles of users, devices, and applications. This, combined with comprehensive, centralized content inspection to provide visibility into traffic, enabled the organization to limit breaches to specific network segments by preventing malicious content from passing over from one network segment to another.
- Flexible Deployment with Advanced Networking Support: By combining zero-touch deployment for ease of deployment with advanced networking functions, such as advanced dynamic routing with BGP, allowed this organization to seamlessly deploy the Fortinet solution at their datacenters, disaster recovery hubs, and many of their branches without having to redesign existing network configurations.
- Extending Security to Branch Networks with SD-Branch: For those branch offices where outages were not an option, the organization was able to quickly implement hardware redundancy with active/active FortiGate appliances, and securely extend direct internet access via LTE using FortiExtender.
- Centralized Management and Reporting: Fortinet’s unique single pane of glass management allowed this organizations to easily deploy Fortinet Secure SD-WAN at remote branch locations while maintaining a single, integrated security and networking framework. This reduced the need for additional IT staff while improving visibility and control across the entire network infrastructure.
All Objectives Met, and with Significant Cost Savings
Unlike most SD-WAN solutions, which require the deployment of multiple solutions, including a complex overlay of siloed security solutions, Fortinet’s Secure SD-WAN was able to meet all of the requirements of the multinational manufacturing organization with a single, easy to deploy and manage appliance. Not only were they able to meet their deployment goals, but they also managed to reduce their capital and operational expenses at the same time. That’s because Fortinet offers the most robust and complete SD-WAN solution in the industry.
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.
Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.