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Mobile devices and the move to server virtualization and cloud services are in part driving the need for nimble architecture like software-defined networking (SDN). This is more than buzz; it is a watershed phenomenon. Analyst firm International Data Corporation (IDC) predicted that SDN as a global market will grow to $12.5 billion by 2020

For many businesses, the virtualization of networks is simply a next logical step after virtualizing desktops and applications. And technology has evolved so that enterprise data centers can now have what their larger counterparts (e.g. large-scale data centers) have: flexibility, agility, and programmability.

By definition, SDN separates a network’s data plane from its control plane, making a network programmable. This is good. Not so good is that, compared to traditional networks, SDNs introduce more new security risks.


So, despite their strengths, SDNs have weaknesses. What then does a secure SDN look like? Start with the acknowledgement that as data centers become more agile and dynamic, the security solution deployed to protect it must be equally agile and dynamic. After all, the SDN sprung out of a need for greater agility and dynamism for the network itself. That stated, a secure SDN security solution should be:

  •   Scalable: Compared to their predecessors during the last decade, today’s SDNs create dynamic networks with incredibly high traffic levels. Firewalls must have high speed, high capacity and low latency to scale alongside growing network traffic levels.
  •   Segmented: SDN is causing physical servers and data centers to consolidate and become virtually equivalent, putting sensitive data at greater risk. To then isolate data as a security best practice, organizations are segmenting networks and firewalls. They must then support physical and virtual segmentation through high port density and logical abstraction.
  •   Simple: Because SDN makes it far easier for IT to manage network and application performance, its security system must too be simple. No longer can security sit on the edge of a network. It must be fully ingrained throughout the network, consolidated and enabled to perform multiple and complex functions. A single control panel, known as a single pane of glass, manages everything.


Fortinet, one of VLCM’s premiere security partners, knows exactly what a secure SDN looks like. It has developed an adaptive and agile, consolidated solution — a “security fabric” — to extend security across physical and virtual network environments and drive threat intelligence sharing in real time. Based on open API standards, the security fabric can scale to protect more workloads and data in fast-changing SDN environments.

A partner of Fortinet, VLCM can help you bring your cyber security solution up to speed with your SDN-driven network environment. We are the largest technology provider in Utah, with additional offices in Idaho, Colorado, and New Mexico. Contact us to find out more.

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