June 14, 2024

Next-Generation Firewall Integrated SDWAN Deployment vs Separate Firewall and SDWAN Deployment

9 min read
Discover the benefits and drawbacks of deploying a next-generation firewall integrated SDWAN versus a separate firewall and SDWAN deployment.
Two networks

Two networks

As companies move towards modernizing their networks, SD-WAN has become an increasingly popular solution. Simplified connectivity, automated network management and cost-reductions have made SD-WAN a preferred choice for many IT departments. Additionally, implementing a next-generation firewall (NGFW) on top of a traditional SD-WAN solution is also an option for organizations looking for added security and control, but is it the best choice? In this article, we’ll dive into the differences between an integrated NGFW and SD-WAN deployment versus a separate NGFW and SD-WAN deployment and explore the benefits and challenges of both.

Understanding the basics of SD-WAN deployment

Software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) is a software-based approach to managing and optimizing a company’s WAN. This technology uses software to automate network connectivity across the organization, regardless of location. Unlike traditional WAN, SD-WAN uses a set of intelligent tools to automate route and software configuration. This makes it easier and faster to manage and support remote locations. The technology works by abstracting the network hardware, creating a virtual overlay federation for transportation over any kind of network- independent of the underlying physical infrastructure. Benefits of SD-WAN deployment include increased security, reduced cost, simplified management and network performance optimization.

One of the key advantages of SD-WAN deployment is its ability to provide greater flexibility and scalability. With SD-WAN, organizations can easily add or remove network resources as needed, without having to worry about the underlying physical infrastructure. This makes it easier to adapt to changing business needs and to scale the network up or down as required.

Another benefit of SD-WAN deployment is its ability to improve application performance. By using intelligent routing and traffic management techniques, SD-WAN can ensure that critical applications receive the bandwidth and resources they need to perform optimally. This can help to reduce latency, improve response times, and enhance overall user experience.

Benefits of integrating next-generation firewall with SD-WAN

Integrating an NGFW with SD-WAN combines advanced security with the flexibility and performance of SD-WAN. This combination offers benefits such as increased visibility, granular control of application usage and data flow, and threat protection capabilities. The NGFW and SD-WAN integration can be an ideal solution for organizations with multiple locations that require secure and optimized access to the internet and their applications. Integrated deployments can offer easier management and lower total cost of ownership (TCO) than separate deployments.

Furthermore, the integration of NGFW with SD-WAN can also improve network performance by reducing latency and improving application response times. This is achieved through the ability of SD-WAN to dynamically route traffic based on application requirements and network conditions. Additionally, the NGFW can prioritize and optimize traffic based on security policies, ensuring that critical applications receive the necessary bandwidth and resources. Overall, the integration of NGFW with SD-WAN can provide organizations with a secure, flexible, and high-performing network infrastructure that can adapt to their evolving business needs.

Advantages of separate firewall and SD-WAN deployment

Separate deployments of NGFW and SD-WAN can provide organizations with flexibility and control over their security and network infrastructure. Separate solutions can provide tailored security posture, customizable policies and multitiered gateway security. Deployments can offer better network performance, scalability and improved management. Organizations can also have the freedom to choose vendors that are specialized in their respective fields, providing the latest features and functionality available on the market.

Another advantage of separate firewall and SD-WAN deployment is the ability to easily upgrade or replace one solution without affecting the other. For example, if an organization wants to upgrade their firewall to a newer model, they can do so without disrupting their SD-WAN deployment. This can save time and resources, as well as minimize downtime and potential security risks.

Additionally, separate deployments can provide better visibility and control over network traffic. With separate solutions, organizations can monitor and manage network traffic separately, allowing for more granular control over security policies and network performance. This can be especially beneficial for organizations with complex network architectures or those that require strict compliance with industry regulations.

Security considerations when deploying a firewall and SD-WAN separately

When implementing NGFW and SD-WAN separately, organizations need to consider the added complexity and security risks. Deployments require managing multiple vendors, potentially leading to integration and management challenges. In this case, security policies and configurations have to be managed separately, which can add complexity and confusion to the management process. Organizations must also ensure integration compatibility and coordinate security policies between NGFW and SD-WAN for effective security posture.

Cost comparison between integrated and separate firewall and SD-WAN deployment

Cost is a significant factor in any deployment decision, including an integrated NGFW and SD-WAN versus a separate deployment. The factors to consider include upfront costs, operational costs, management costs, and ongoing costs. Integrated deployments can offer lower TCO and revenue savings on hardware and maintenance costs, and can also provide a more straightforward procurement process. Separate deployments can be more expensive in upfront costs, as multiple vendors have to be considered alongside added management expenses, but can offer more customization options.

It is important to note that the cost comparison between integrated and separate firewall and SD-WAN deployment can vary depending on the specific needs and requirements of the organization. For example, if the organization requires a high level of customization and flexibility, a separate deployment may be the better option despite the higher upfront costs. On the other hand, if the organization values simplicity and ease of management, an integrated deployment may be the more cost-effective choice in the long run.

Performance comparison between integrated and separate firewall and SD-WAN deployment

In terms of performance comparison between integrated and separate NGFW and SD-WAN deployments, organizations should consider bandwidth usage, application performance, network latency and availability, and failover times. Integrated deployments have fewer endpoints, which lead to a simpler network topology, reducing vulnerabilities and simplifying the security policy management. On the other hand, separate deployments can offer more control on gateway security layers for web filtering, data loss prevention (DLP) and intrusion prevention systems (IPS).

Another factor to consider when comparing integrated and separate firewall and SD-WAN deployments is the cost. Integrated deployments may have a higher upfront cost due to the need for specialized hardware and software, but they can also provide cost savings in the long run by reducing the need for multiple devices and simplifying management. Separate deployments may have a lower upfront cost, but can result in higher ongoing costs due to the need for additional hardware and software licenses, as well as increased management complexity.

Scalability factors to consider when choosing between integrated and separate deployment models

As businesses adapt and grow, it’s vital to consider the scalability factor of the deployment model. Integrated deployments are easier to scale as they have a simpler network topology, reducing the complexity of scaling policies and configurations. However, organizations have to consider future scalability needs before deciding on an integrated solution. Separate deployments can be more flexible when it comes to scalability, with added features and customization options, but adds significant complexity in their management process when scaling up.

Another important factor to consider when choosing between integrated and separate deployment models is the cost of scaling. Integrated deployments may have lower upfront costs, but as the organization grows, the cost of scaling can increase significantly due to the need for additional hardware and software licenses. On the other hand, separate deployments may have higher upfront costs, but the cost of scaling is more predictable and can be managed more effectively. It’s important to weigh the upfront and long-term costs of each deployment model when making a decision.

Best practices for deploying next-generation firewall with SD-WAN

Deploying NGFW with SD-WAN requires the right expertise and skill set. Some best practices include selecting an NGFW that has SD-WAN functionality built-in, choosing a vendor that offers SD-WAN and NGFW as a service, ensuring integration compatibility before deployment, and considering the deployment models’ benefits and challenges. Organizations should also ensure proper security measures, including access to critical areas and monitoring logs for unusual behavior.

Another important consideration when deploying NGFW with SD-WAN is the network’s scalability. Organizations should ensure that the solution can scale to meet their growing business needs. It is also essential to have a clear understanding of the network’s traffic patterns and bandwidth requirements to ensure that the SD-WAN solution can handle the traffic load. Additionally, organizations should consider the impact of latency on their applications and ensure that the SD-WAN solution can optimize traffic to minimize latency. By taking these factors into account, organizations can ensure that their NGFW with SD-WAN deployment is successful and meets their business needs.

Case studies on successful integrated and separate deployments

Case studies can provide insight into successful deployments of an NGFW and SD-WAN. Successful integrated deployments have led to better performance and more secure network infrastructure, while separate deployments can provide tailored security posture and granularity control of policies. Two recent success stories include a dental practice that integrated NGFW with SD-WAN, leading to better application performance and data protection and a private real estate investment company that deployed separate NGFW and SD-WAN, providing better management, visibility, and customization.

Future trends in next-generation firewall integrated SDWAN deployment

The future of NGFW integrated SD-WAN deployment shows significant growth potential, with trends such as 5G adoption, edge computing, and network automation. Organizations are expected to implement NGFW and SD-WAN for increased security, a higher return on investment (ROI), and reduced operational costs. NGFW and SD-WAN solutions are expected to be integrated as part of the major network infrastructures, providing a unified approach for network management, monitoring, performance optimization, and security.

Key differences between traditional firewalls and next-generation firewalls in an SDWAN environment

Traditional firewalls rely on port numbers and protocols to monitor and control traffic flow, whereas NGFW uses deep packet inspection (DPI) and application-aware policy rules. NGFWs can granularly control access based on the user identity, time of day, and application risks. In an SD-WAN environment, NGFW with built-in SD-WAN functionality is optimized to provide secure and accelerated access to applications and cloud services with lower latencies and network errors than the traditional firewall.

Choosing the right vendor for your next-generation firewall integrated SDWAN deployment

Choosing the right vendor for an integrated NGFW and SD-WAN deployment can impact deployment success. Key considerations include evaluating vendors that provide security and SD-WAN as a unified solution, vendors with proven track records, and high-performance solutions that offer seamless integration. Other considerations include evaluating the vendor’s support services, licensing options, management, and TCO. Organizations are encouraged to get hands-on experience with vendor equipment before making a buying decision.

Addressing common challenges in deploying a next-generation firewall with SDWAN.

Deploying NGFW and SDWAN can be challenging, organizations can face challenges in managing the security posture, the learning curve for administration, integration with legacy infrastructure, and the interruption of the existing network while migrating. There can also be challenges in deciding which deployment model is best for a business, the added management complexity of separate solutions, and the cost consideration of a unified solution. Addressing these challenges requires a holistic approach, including evaluating the existing infrastructure, having the right personnel, and a well-defined deployment and migration plan.

Tips for ensuring a smooth migration from separate to integrated deployment models

Moving from separate deployments to integrated deployments requires careful planning and execution. Organizations can ensure a smooth transition by evaluating their current infrastructure, defining the goals and outcomes of the migration, selecting the right solution based on their business needs, extensive testing, and ensuring that users are properly trained on the new system.

In conclusion, deploying an NGFW and SD-WAN requires an understanding of the benefits and challenges that each deployment model offers. Integrated NGFW and SD-WAN solutions provide a simpler deployment process, lower management overhead, and potentially lower TCO. However, separate NGFW and SD-WAN deployments provide more customization options, greater control, and flexibility. To ensure successful deployment, organizations should evaluate their business needs, industry trends, and the right vendor when choosing which deployment model to adopt.

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