Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Network Security //

SDN

1/31/2019
07:00 AM
Alan
 Zeichick
Alan Zeichick
Alan Zeichick
50%
50%

Four Security Questions You Need to Answer for SD-WAN Success

Before you select an SD-WAN vendor, read this.

Let's presume that it's time for your enterprise to choose and implement an SD-WAN solution. You've done the research, and have decided that SD-WAN makes sense, perhaps to supplement existing wide-area networks, perhaps to replace them. Maybe you'll use SD-WAN for expansion. Before you more forward, into the vendor-selection phase, here are four security questions you should think about.

But first, let me cross one specific question off your list: Encryption. Because they are fighting the (accurate) perception that traffic going over the public Internet is inherently vulnerable, SD-WAN vendors stress their strong encryption: gazillion-bit, end-to-end, military-grade, hardware-based, quantum-proof, blah blah blah. That's table stakes, my friends: Every name-brand SD-WAN encrypts traffic, and encrypts it really well. Data transiting over an Internet-based SD-WAN is encrypted in basically the same way as the traffic going over an Internet-based virtual private network (VPN) tunnel. So, don't worry about that.

1. How secure is the remote endpoint client?
With every SD-WAN, there must be some type of client on each end of the connection. In some cases, it's a hardware appliance. Often, it's pure software -- that's what you’ll find in the cloud, for example. How secure is that client against hacking, or against unauthorized remote configuration? If the SD-WAN provider can remotely manage the endpoint hardware or software, perhaps a hacker will be able to break in. Ask how well protected is that endpoint against a rogue employee at the SD-WAN provider, or the provider itself being hacked. Expect good answers to those questions, and others regarding the service provider's security practices.

2. Are you securing SD-WAN endpoints to the cloud, in the enterprise data center, or both?
This makes a huge difference. In my experience, SD-WAN excels at tying small and remote offices to cloud service providers, whether software-as-a-service (SaaS) or infrastructure or platform-as-a-service (IaaS or PaaS). Many cloud providers already support secure endpoint clients for the major SD-WAN services, just as they do for MPLS. When it comes to bringing traffic back to the enterprise data center, some solutions are pretty weak -- and only talk about their encryption strength. Be sure to research your specific use cases, and determine how well they tie into your overall WAN security requirements.

3. How much of SD-WAN security do you want to manage?
SD-WAN solutions are available just about any way you want them. If you want a turnkey solution, where the service provider handles everything for you, including provisioning raw bandwidth, setting up new endpoints, optimizing performance through compression, installing fault-tolerance, and managing security, that's available. If your existing WAN and network teams would prefer to secure the SD-WAN themselves, including full management of all access control lists (ACLs), make sure that's an option right out of the box.

4. Does the SD-WAN play well with your existing ITOps and SecOps tools?
Let's say that a bad actor tries to break into your cloud host's SD-WAN endpoint. Will that register on your security incident and event management (SIEM) console? I hope so. What if there's a DDoS attack against your SD-WAN provider's authentication middleman service? That should raise an alert as well. Even if the SD-WAN is a fully managed service, you can't outsource security -- and that means full transparency on the part of the SD-WAN provider, and appropriate integration with your IT and security operations tools, including logs, reports, trend analysis, and predictive analytics. Don't settle for anything less. If possible, test the integration, and ask to see recent outage and security-incident reports before signing the contract.

SD-WAN is real, it's mature, and it's generally secure. But like with any technology, it's not one-size-fits-all, and it's up to you to make sure that you can trust it. Be sure you know what you need before signing that contract. And again, don't simply choose the one that has the most bits in its encryption algorithms. While impressive, that's arguably the least important bullet-point in SD-WAN security.

Alan Zeichick is principal analyst at Camden Associates, a technology consultancy in Phoenix, Arizona, specializing in enterprise networking, cybersecurity, and software development. Follow him @zeichick.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 9/21/2020
Cybersecurity Bounces Back, but Talent Still Absent
Simone Petrella, Chief Executive Officer, CyberVista,  9/16/2020
Meet the Computer Scientist Who Helped Push for Paper Ballots
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  9/16/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Latest Comment: Exactly
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world -- and enterprise computing -- on end. Here's a look at how cybersecurity teams are retrenching their defense strategies, rebuilding their teams, and selecting new technologies to stop the oncoming rise of online attacks.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-24619
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-22
In mainwindow.cpp in Shotcut before 20.09.13, the upgrade check misuses TLS because of setPeerVerifyMode(QSslSocket::VerifyNone). A man-in-the-middle attacker could offer a spoofed download resource.
CVE-2020-8887
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-22
Telestream Tektronix Medius before 10.7.5 and Sentry before 10.7.5 have a SQL injection vulnerability allowing an unauthenticated attacker to dump database contents via the page parameter in a page=login request to index.php (aka the server login page).
CVE-2020-7734
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-22
All versions of package cabot are vulnerable to Cross-site Scripting (XSS) via the Endpoint column.
CVE-2020-6564
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-21
Inappropriate implementation in permissions in Google Chrome prior to 85.0.4183.83 allowed a remote attacker to spoof the contents of a permission dialog via a crafted HTML page.
CVE-2020-6565
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-21
Inappropriate implementation in Omnibox in Google Chrome on iOS prior to 85.0.4183.83 allowed a remote attacker to spoof the contents of the Omnibox (URL bar) via a crafted HTML page.