How to Know a Secure SDN When You See One

Posted by Susan Sison on May 16, 2017 1:08:34 PM


Software-defined networking (SDN) isn’t just for big cloud providers and telecom companies anymore. Enterprises are beginning to hop on the SDN bandwagon, with IDC predicting the worldwide SDN market will grow to $12.5 billion by 2020. As more companies make the move, they are realizing they also need to adopt an SDN-like approach to security.

For many enterprises, the move to SDN is a no-brainer. They have already virtualized their storage, servers and desktops, and networks are just the next step. The rising adoption of hybrid clouds at many companies makes SDN even more attractive as teams keep some workloads on-premises while running others run in the public cloud and still others between environments as business needs change.

SDN’s ability to virtualize networks and automatically bring new virtual network segments up or down on-demand helps enterprises get the most from their cloud investments. There’s no better way to foster the agility, flexibility and programmability required to meet the needs of today’s anywhere, anytime, anyhow workforces.

Keeping Up With SDN

Unfortunately, few security toolsets can keep up with SDN’s level of flexibility and orchestration. As SDN environments become more fluid and agile, traditional security tools struggle to maintain the right level of visibility and control to ensure data remains secure no matter where it goes or resides. SDN enterprises need security that supports:

  • Scalability: With SDN data centers supporting ever more network traffic at ever faster speeds, critical security tools like firewalls and IDS/IPS must also be able to scale along with it, providing optimal performance, high capacity and low latency.
  • Segmentation: With SDN, enterprises can far more easily and dynamically segment network traffic and data logically based on applications, user groups, regulatory requirements, business functions, trust levels and locations. They need critical security tools with the high port-density and logical abstraction required to support such agility across both physical and virtual networks and public/private clouds.
  • Simplification: Since SDN abstracts the network control layer from the underlying physical devices within the network, it makes it far easier for IT to orchestrate the network and ensure that every application and workload gets the right level of performance and capacity exactly when and where they need it. Network security also needs to be just as simple and agile. Instead of sitting at the network edge—a concept that makes even less sense as SDN takes hold—security needs to be fully integrated into the fabric of the network. IT must be able to centrally orchestrate all security devices, apply policy on-demand and ensure it has the right level of visibility end-to-end, even as the network morphs and changes.

What Does A Security SDN Look Like?

Our partner Fortinet knows the security challenges SDN presents, and it also knows exactly what secure SDN looks like. Its FortiGate firewalls and full slate of virtual security appliances are all based on its high-performance purpose-built FortiASIC processors, ensuring security runs at the speed of SDN.

Together with the centralized management and orchestration provided by FortiManager and FortiAnalyzer optimized on a security fabric infrastructure, Fortinet provides the visibility, performance and agility required for today’s dynamic, SDN data center networks.

A partner of Fortinet, NCA can help you bring your cybersecurity solution up to speed with your SDN/NFV-driven network environment. Let's Talk.

Network Computing Architects, Inc. is a premier provider of high quality sustainable and secure networking, information security solutions and unified communications. We partner with our clients to provide answers to business initiatives where leading technologies converge.

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