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Is an MPLS connection your security blanket?

SD-WAN means you're not just limited to an MPLS connection at every site anymore. The flexibility and cost savings of combining MPLS with Internet is great, but is it secure?

We all have security blankets: items that bring us comfort. By the time we reach adulthood, however, they usually aren't actual blankets or stuffed animals anymore -- well, barring the 35% of British adults who reportedly still sleep with a teddy bear (no judgment).  

Grown-up security blankets often take the form of beloved ratty T-shirts or chipped coffee mugs. You don't need them, but you've developed an emotional attachment to them, and the thought of having to get rid of them is frightening.  

In enterprises around the world, however, the threads are beginning to unravel in one of IT's most expensive security blankets: dependency on MPLS in the wide area network (WAN). Networking pros have grown increasingly frustrated with the high costs, inflexibility and long provisioning times for an MPLS connection. It becomes a harder pill to swallow as speeds and reliability continue to go up -- while costs go down -- on commercial Internet services. 

Although the Internet doesn't come with a service-level agreement promising five 9s uptime, the emergence of software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) is changing the equation. But what about security? How could anyone possibly be OK with sending sensitive corporate data directly over the Internet? These are some of the questions we asked in our cover story in this issue ("SD-WAN helps secure hybrid networks"). The answers -- and who they come from -- may surprise you. 

Also in this issue, find out what the ongoing battle between Cisco and Microsoft in the collaboration market means for your enterprise ("Cisco vs. Microsoft: Cloud becomes latest battlefront to UC"), as well as what you need to know about Bluetooth beacons and how they might integrate with wireless LANs ("Beacon technologies: Cool apps, but also network challenges").

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Next Steps

What software-defined WAN architecture means for the enterprise 

How WAN optimization is evolving into SD-WAN 

Riverbed edges its way into the SD-WAN market

This was last published in March 2016

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