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How to securely connect and manage the software-defined branch


Enterprise IT teams need all-in-one network solutions to accommodate constantly evolving branches

In branch locations across the world, the Digital Transformation happening in IT is stretching traditional enterprise WANs toward a breaking point. Cloud applications and IoT devices demand direct Internet access. Voice and video traffic continues to expand. Long-term and temporary branch sites are popping up everywhere, needing Internet connectivity on Day 1. Additionally, sensitive information is spread all across the WAN edge, requiring incredibly vigilant security practices.

With the rapid, ongoing adoption of technologies such as cloud, IoT, and Software-Defined Networking (SDN), meeting the needs of today’s highly connected branches — while managing an organization’s hundreds or even thousands of distributed sites —  is no small task. In industries such as retail, restaurants, healthcare, education, public safety, and financial services, organizations today need a flexible, scalable Network’s Edge that can expand, contract, adapt, move, and evolve as business needs dictate.

Many enterprises are embracing cloud-managed, software-defined solutions that address the gamut of branch network necessities:

Providing Wireless Flexibility for Primary & Failover WAN

The flexibility, performance, and cost-effectiveness of 4G LTE have made it a vital WAN option for primary and/or failover connectivity in branch networks. This trend will only continue as the future benefits of transformative Gigabit LTE and 5G draw closer.

Enabling Software-Defined Branches

With companies setting their sights on the all-wireless and software-defined branch, Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN) is increasingly important. Next-generation SD-WAN functionality optimizes path selection and traffic steering across primary and hybrid LTE WAN sources — including metered links such as LTE.

The ability to easily add access points, IoT Edge Computing, security features, and other tools and applications — and to manage it all remotely through the cloud — makes branch networks more flexible and scalable than ever.

Managing Various Branches From Anywhere

For IT teams at organizations with many branch locations, managing network traffic is about much more than ensuring uptime. They are looking for advanced analytics that provide insight into branch application and WAN, cellular, and LAN activity and utilization. Further, they need Out-of-Band Management (OOBM) features that enable remote troubleshooting.

Cradlepoint’s NetCloud Manager provides a single pane of glass through which enterprises quickly deploy, manage, and monitor their networks at geographically distributed locations — allowing them to do more with fewer resources and truck rolls.

Replacing Many Boxes With One Solution

In small and medium-sized branches, many IT professionals are being asked to ramp up connectivity and applications while reducing the amount of hardware and time spent managing networks. Cloud-managed all-in-one branch solutions can streamline costs by providing everything in one platform, including WAN Diversity, SD-WAN functionality, failover, integrated WiFi, Ethernet switching, PoE support, and advanced edge security.

Improving & Simplifying Edge Security

Protecting Point-of-Sale and other sensitive data remains a key concern at the branch, along with the growing challenge of shepherding network traffic that is directed toward cloud applications, video sites, and other Internet destinations. Many organizations cannot afford the time and expense associated with backhauling such high volumes of traffic to the data center.

Enterprises that leverage hardware and software with integrated Unified Threat Management can protect direct-to-Internet data with features such as app-based control, multi-zone firewall, IPS/IDS, web content filtering, Zscaler Internet Security, and OpenDNS and SIEM integrations.

Security, Computing & Management for IoT at the Edge

Modern branches are filled with IoT devices, providing insights and ensuring new levels of operational efficiency — but also expanding the attack surface and creating new security vulnerabilities.

Cradlepoint’s NetCloud Perimeter (NCP), which uses Software-Defined Perimeter (SD-Perimeter) technology, allows IT teams to protect IoT devices at the WAN Edge by creating device-to-cloud overlay networks in just a few minutes. These perimeter-secure overlays are completely cloaked from the Internet.

Also, enterprises can use NetCloud SDK and API tools to build, deploy, connect, and secure custom Edge Computing applications on Cradlepoint routers at scale across the organization — all remotely, from a single pane of glass.

The Future of Elastic Branch Networks

Cradlepoint’s Elastic EdgeTM vision provides a blueprint for next-generation Edge Networks that deliver pervasive broadband connectivity, cloud-like agility, and software extensibility — all while ensuring enterprise-class visibility, security, and control. All-inclusive NetCloud Solution Packages for Branch Networks, based on Advanced Edge Routers (AER), are cloud-managed and deployable anywhere in days, not months.

Explore NetCloud Solution Packages for Branch Networks

Learn more about Cradlepoint NetCloud Solution Packages for Branch Networks.