Guest Column | June 23, 2022

Beyond SD-WAN: What MSPs Should Look For When Offering Network Services In The Cloud Era

By Edward Qin, Algoblu

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We see it everywhere and worldwide organizations are currently experiencing it more than ever: digital transformation initiatives have accelerated the move of corporate data to the cloud. Employees have become increasingly mobile and need access to corporate data and data workflow anywhere and at any time. IT departments are very much aware of the fact that the architecture of the old enterprise IT infrastructure has to be changed to meet the requirements of the cloud era.

But what does a new IT architecture for the cloud era include? The new architecture requires cloud services, security, and networking to converge together. It creates a new model where security and networking are no longer composed of discrete appliances and devices, but it follows an integrated approach delivered as software services alongside cloud-based applications. Gartner coined this new architecture as SASE (Secure Access Service Edge).

The growing demand for SASE services continues to change the enterprise networking and security landscape, offering new opportunities for MSPs and new ways to partner with vendors. In this context, we can see why MSPs need SASE services rather than silo-style networking service and security services. The key characteristics of SASE services include:

·         Cloud-native architecture for increased performance and scalability with direct and reliable access to the cloud, covering the edge

·         Consolidation of multiple security layers (SWG, CASB, ZTNA, DLP) in one platform

·         Use of a solid, global edge network (low-latency and high-capacity network across the globe)

·         A private backbone, which is key to guaranteeing latency and optimizing network performance

·         Micro segmentation to improve visibility into data flows and restrict access to applications and data based on approved identities and roles

MSPs know that networking and security are distinct technology sectors and equally important for organizations. Today, there are not many vendors who can provide a complete SASE portfolio. The MSP search can be exhausting and knowing what to look for is essential. Choosing different vendors to provide various functional stacks with leading-edge networking and security capabilities seems to be the best way to realize the full benefits of SASE right now. That is why integration and the role of the MSPs are key to working with vendors and making the users’ transition as smooth and safe as possible. Users depend on MSPs to select vendors who have the granularity that is right for a specific environment according to the risk profile of applications.

With the right solution, MSPs and carriers can virtualize the underlying network and fine-tune the management of network resources to provide multi-tiered services with end-to-end service quality assurance that meet their users' needs. Today’s carriers want to create new revenue streams by offering application and policy-oriented services rather than just selling bandwidth. If you look at areas such as streaming games, entertainment, streaming services, online video conference, SaaS services, IoT, and Metaverse, there is an increasing market demand for high-quality network services and users are willing to pay for them.

About The Author

Edward is the chief product officer at Algoblu. He joined Algoblu from Cisco and Nortel and has extensive expertise in IP routing, SDN, SD-WAN, CDN, collaboration, and cloud computing. Under his leadership, Algoblu built its global backbone network with in-house developed technologies and launched the industry-first Network Element Virtualization chip.