Ease IoT Complexity at the Branch with SD-WAN
February 08, 2018

Shamus McGillicuddy
EMA

Share this

Software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) solutions will play an important role in enabling enterprise Internet of Things (IoT) initiatives. Most enterprises are experiencing growth in the number of endpoints connecting to the network in branch offices and remote sites. According to recent Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) research, 59% of enterprises say that IoT devices are a significant source of that growth, contributing more than smartphones and tablets.

IoT devices in remote sites will present challenges around bandwidth, security, policy management, and more. These challenges will be exacerbated by the fact that most remote sites lack onsite IT personnel who can ensure that IoT devices are safely connected to the network. SD-WAN solutions have the potential to address many of these challenges.

SD-WAN Addresses IoT Bandwidth Demands, QoS Complexity

Nearly half (47%) of network professionals involved in an IoT initiative are delivering IoT connectivity via their existing WAN services, according to EMA research. Additionally, 77% of network teams expect their IoT ecosystems to add “significant” or “very significant” traffic to the network by next year. And many IoT applications receive a high priority on the network.

Our research has found that 27% of network pros assign IoT traffic a high quality of service (QoS) setting, and only 12% dump IoT traffic into a best-effort QoS tier. Thus, IoT devices not only demand bandwidth. They may bump other applications out of the way. Enterprises are going to need more bandwidth and more sophisticated QoS technology.

Fortunately, SD-WAN solutions deliver added bandwidth and granular, easy-to-use QoS controls. SD-WAN solutions are highly programmable via a graphical user interface, allowing engineers to assign and adjust QoS settings for applications on a global basis. SD-WAN solutions also enable hybrid connectivity, allowing enterprises to supplement MPLS connectivity with cheaper broadband links. This drives down the cost per bit at remote sites without sacrificing network service reliability.

SD-WAN Will Help Secure IoT at the Branch

The very same programmatic controls that facilitate QoS management in SD-WAN technology will also help enterprises segment the network and secure IoT connectivity. From a central location, network engineers can use a SD-WAN’s graphical user interface to create global VLANs dedicated to IoT, ensuring that thermostats and factory robots are never able to ping a financial records database, for instance. This is critical because IoT presents myriad security problems for the network team.

IoT devices often lack the power and computing resources necessary to support channel-based security techniques like TLS. These same constraints also make it difficult for network managers to discover IoT devices with traditional network management tools, which challenges their ability to find rogue devices. Strict LAN segmentation that maps onto SD-WAN segments ensures that isolation is maintained throughout the network.

SD-WAN solutions also typically offer native or third-party integrated security services, like firewall and malware detection. These security services can be deployed in a distributed architecture, allowing granular security controls at every branch. As EMA research has shown that nearly half of network teams (47%) have determined that their existing network security infrastructure cannot cope with the scale of their IoT ecosystems, these security controls will prove especially valuable to enterprises. The distributed security model of an SD-WAN solution will ease this scaling issue.

If you are supporting IoT on your WAN, ask your SD-WAN vendor if they can help.

Shamus McGillicuddy is Senior Analyst, Network Management at Enterprise Management Associates (EMA)
Share this

The Latest

August 21, 2018

High availability's (HA) primary objective has historically been focused on ensuring continuous operations and performance. HA was built on a foundation of redundancy and failover technologies and methodologies to ensure business continuity in the event of workload spikes, planned maintenance, and unplanned downtime. Today, HA methodologies have been superseded by intelligent workload routing automation (i.e., intelligent availability), in that data and their processing are consistently directed to the proper place at the right time ...

August 20, 2018

You need insight to maximize performance — not inefficient troubleshooting, longer time to resolution, and an overall lack of application intelligence. Steps 5 through 10 will help you maximize the performance of your applications and underlying network infrastructure ...

August 17, 2018

As a Network Operations professional, you know how hard it is to ensure optimal network performance when you’re unsure of how end-user devices, application code, and infrastructure affect performance. Identifying your important applications and prioritizing their performance is more difficult than ever, especially when much of an organization’s web-based traffic appears the same to the network. You need insight to maximize performance — not inefficient troubleshooting, longer time to resolution, and an overall lack of application intelligence. But you can stay ahead. Follow these 10 steps to maximize the performance of your applications and underlying network infrastructure ...

August 16, 2018

IT organizations are constantly trying to optimize operations and troubleshooting activities and for good reason. Let's look at one example for the medical industry. Networked applications, such as electronic medical records (EMR), are vital for hospitals to provide outstanding service to their patients and physicians. However, a networking team can often not be aware of slow response times on the remotely hosted EMR application until a physician or someone else calls in to complain ...

August 15, 2018

In 2014, AWS Lambda introduced serverless architecture. Since then, many other cloud providers have developed serverless options. What’s behind this rapid growth? ...

August 14, 2018

This question is really two questions. The first would be: What's really going on in terms of a confusion of terms? — as we wrestle with AIOps, IT Operational Analytics, big data, AI bots, machine learning, and more generically stated "AI platforms" (… and the list is far from complete). The second might be phrased as: What's really going on in terms of real-world advanced IT analytics deployments — where are they succeeding, and where are they not? This blog will look at both questions as a way of introducing EMA's newest research with data ...

August 13, 2018

Consumers will now trade app convenience for security, according to a study commissioned by F5 Networks, The Curve of Convenience – The Trade-Off between Security and Convenience ...

August 10, 2018

Gartner unveiled the CX Pyramid, a new methodology to test organizations’ customer journeys and forge more powerful experiences that deliver greater customer loyalty and brand advocacy ...

August 09, 2018

Nearly half (48 percent) of consumers report that they currently use, or have used in the past, services of organizations that were involved in a publicly disclosed data breach and, of those, 48 percent have stopped using the services of an organization because of a breach, according to Global State of Digital Trust Survey and Index 2018, a new report from CA Technologies ...

August 08, 2018

Here's the problem: IT teams are in the dark. The only information they have available to them is based on what users decide to tell them about through calls to the help desk ...