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Masergy, VMware spruce up SD-WAN with secure remote access

Masergy and VMware are among the latest service providers and vendors to join the secure remote access trend for SD-WAN services.

Masergy's Work From Anywhere SD-WAN service

New services from Masergy include SD-WAN Home and SD-WAN On the Go, which provide secure remote access capabilities for a mobile workforce. SD-WAN Home is generally available today and SD-WAN On the Go will be available in November.

Both SD-WAN tools provide mobile users with secure remote access to corporate and cloud applications – delivering secure access to corporate data is especially important as the home network is less secure than enterprise networks, explains Ray Watson, VP of Innovation for Masergy. He adds that SD-WAN Home and SD-WAN On the Go both address three main network connectivity concerns that customers have regarding cybersecurity, network segmentation and traffic prioritization.

SD-WAN Home was created with the "power user" in mind – top executives and employees that may work from home on a permanent basis moving forward, says Watson. Those users include C-level executives, call center representatives, video production employees, and more that need a high-level of "connection resilience" and a way to give work traffic the highest priority, he adds. SD-WAN Home comes with a Fortinet Secure SD-WAN device with firewall and routing capabilities, and users have the option to add on unified communications features such as a Wi-Fi-enabled video phone. A client dashboard is also available for IT teams to manage the SD-WAN service.

"We're trying to make it so you don't have to launch a VPN client; it's a perpetual connection that's being proactively monitored," says Watson. "Things like software updates are being managed on the device as well as other things that we lose control over when people are constantly going in and out of VPNs."

SD-WAN On the Go is a similar SD-WAN option for mobile workers, but it doesn't require an appliance. On the Go is a software-based client and VPN that uses IPsec tunnels for secure remote access to enterprises' networks. This version can also be used to securely access corporate data while working outside the home network such as in a coffee shop, for example.

"It's the same type of service except it's clientless," explains Watson. "The On the Go service will be built into the IoS so you're perpetually connected on that as well. It's the same thing but running in mobile."

As more employees permanently move to teleworking situations, "the shift to the cloud is broadening and accelerating," John Burke, principal research analyst and CIO for Nemertes Research, said in a statement. "Enterprises need scalable, distributed access from anywhere, to anywhere, with great performance. This new WAN backbone centers on SD-WAN and leverages its advantages everywhere. With 61% of organizations deploying SD-WAN today and another 14% planning to in the next 18 months, IT leaders clearly consider it critical to sustaining success in the hybrid multi-cloud and work-from-home world."

VMware Secure Access

VMware also recently jumped on board the secure remote access train by launching a zero-trust network access service dubbed VMware Secure Access, and announced security updates to the service late last month during its annual VMworld event. VMware has added a Cloud Web Security service that integrates with Menlo Security for the secure web gateway, cloud access service broker, data loss prevention and more.

In addition, VMware has expanded its partnership with Zscaler to combine VMware SD-WAN and Secure Access with Zscaler Internet Access under the secure access service edge (SASE) umbrella. The VMware NSX Firewall is also now integrated in the VMware SASE service to provide a cloud-delivered firewall.

Securing the home network for remote workers is also front-of-mind in VMware's approach to remote access services. "There's many ways that corporate information can leak out of the insecure work-from-home locations," says Sanjay Uppal, SVP and GM of the VeloCloud Business Unit for VMware. "Every one of the work from home locations could be a portal into your corporate network."

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— Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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