The market consideration and adoption of software-defined WAN represents the largest WAN transformation in recent history. Organizations are turning to SD-WAN to improve connectivity, reduce costs, and simplify management at their branch locations. In fact, a recent research study from the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG)  found that 4 out of 5 organizations report using SD-WAN in some capacity already. Instead of backhauling all traffic through the corporate network, the research also indicated that 79 percent of organizations are shifting to direct internet access (DIA) for all or some remote and branch offices.*  With DIA, enterprises can accelerate their digital transformation with faster access to cloud applications and workloads. While the benefits are clear, this also introduces new security challenges.

The shift to SD-WAN creates new security challenges

Security has to be top of mind as you transform your network with SD-WAN and move to DIA. Branch offices and roaming users are more vulnerable to attacks, and attackers quickly exploit weaknesses. Based on the ESG research, 68 percent of branch offices and roaming users were the source of compromise in recent attacks. And as organizations move to more DIA, this becomes an even greater risk. Scaling security at every location often means more appliances to ship and manage, more policies to separately maintain, which translates into more money and resources needed.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. SD-WAN makes your networking simple and that’s the way that your security should be, too. You need security that can effectively scale across all locations, provide simple management, and enable you to easily add security services as needed.

Extend protection from the network to branch offices to roaming users with powerful cloud security

At Cisco, we want to make sure you have choices with your preferred security solution. Last November, we announced that we built a set of security capabilities into our SD-WAN devices to provide a complete on-prem solution. Now, we are delivering additional feature functionality to Umbrella, our market leading security cloud platform, to deliver a complete secure internet gateway (SIG) so you can secure your SD-WAN from the cloud. When it comes to protecting your SD-WAN, Cisco provides the flexibility you need whether on-prem, in the cloud, or both. Regardless of your deployment choice, we have you covered.

Built on top of the fastest and most reliable infrastructure, Umbrella provides simple deployment and management. In a single cloud platform, it unifies multiple layers of security—including DNS, secure web gateway, firewall, and cloud access security (CASB). It also acts as your secure onramp to the internet by offering secure internet access and controlled SaaS usage across all locations and roaming users. And we continue to deeply integrate Umbrella with Cisco SD-WAN to deliver ease of use that is unmatched across the industry.


As a leader in both networking and security, only Cisco can deliver a truly secure experience. We’re committed to offering security that is integrated into our network solutions, with simple configuration and unified policies that can be easily enforced across your entire enterprise, in every location, and anywhere users travel. As demonstrated by our expanding capabilities, we continue to make huge investments in our R&D to rapidly make our cloud security even stronger.

As you make the transition to SD-WAN and DIA, you can trust Cisco to bring together the best in SD-WAN with the most effective, most reliable, and simplest cloud security to protect it. This is just the start of the journey!

If you’re ready to learn more, visit umbrella.cisco.com/sd-wan. And if you are attending Cisco Live U.S., stop by the Umbrella booth in the World of Solutions to get a demo.


*ESG Research Survey, Cisco Secure Internet Gateway Survey, January 2019



Dr. Gee Rittenhouse

Senior Vice President and General Manager

Security Business Group