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Are remote users second-class citizens?

October 10, 2016 - 3 min read

Workers outside the corporate HQ may be every bit as important as those inside, but they can sometimes feel like they take a back seat — at least when it comes to their online experience. At the branch and in remote offices, users are typically connected to the headquarters office via MPLS links, which allow data center security devices to scan incoming and outbound branch traffic. As that traffic leaves the branch and goes to HQ before being sent out to the open Internet, the user waits. And with the increase in cloud apps like Salesforce, Microsoft Office 365, and AWS — with their promises of better collaboration and productivity —branch and remote users continue to wait.

The fact is, a move to Office 365 can dramatically change the dynamics of WAN use in a branch office, increasing bandwidth requirements as well as the need to segment business-related Internet traffic (Office 365) from recreational traffic (such as YouTube). But there is good news for remote and branch users: the wait may soon be over.

Leveling the playing field with SD-WAN

Enterprises would like to route branch Internet traffic locally for a better user experience and reserve their MPLS circuits for traffic destined for the data center. Software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) is enabling just that, providing a user experience at the branch that is comparable to the HQ office. At the same time, it reduces costs by relying more on broadband and less on private (MPLS) links.

The good news for users in the branch is that the adoption of SD-WAN is on the rise. According to Gartner, “By end of 2019, 30% of enterprises will use SD-WAN technology in all their branches, up from less than 1% today.” That’s a massive adoption rate!


Bring on the security

With the advent of simple, centrally managed SD-WAN, the next logical step is a cloud-delivered security solution that enables enterprise-class protection for all users, regardless of where they connect or on what device. Zscaler makes it easy to provide efficient, cost-effective security and policy enforcement for Internet-bound traffic — without the need for backhauling and without any additional appliances. We do so by working seamlessly with the SD-WAN solution at the branch. Together, Zscaler with SD-WAN enables enterprises to transform their branch offices for reduced costs, greater security, and a better user experience for cloud apps.

Zscaler and Citrix

Today, Citrix announced its NetScaler SD-WAN Enhanced solution. Zscaler is excited to partner with Citrix SD-WAN, helping our joint customers deliver an HQ-like experience to their branch offices.

The NetScaler SD-WAN device simply forwards the Internet and cloud application traffic to the Zscaler Cloud Security Platform. The combined solution gives IT teams peace of mind knowing that they are protecting data, applications, and users in remote and branch offices. And it gives them the tools they need to prioritize business-related Internet traffic over recreational traffic.

As the need for bandwidth increases in branch offices, enterprises have had tough choices, with each option presenting tradeoffs in performance, cost, and security. SD-WAN is simplifying the choice, with significant cost savings and the kind of performance users will appreciate. Security is where Zscaler comes in. Zscaler puts the enterprise security stack in the cloud, arming each branch with a secure web gateway, cloud firewall, cloud sandbox, and other security protections. Together, Zscaler and SD-WAN provide branch and remote users with performance and security that are both first-class.

Additional information:

Citrix blog

Market Guide for Software-Defined WAN, Gartner, December 2015

Zscaler and SD-WAN




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