Secure SASE for Manufacturing

The manufacturing sector today is fiercely driven by the aspirations of Industry 4.0 and ‘Smart Factories’, where traditional manufacturing practices and modern digital technologies come together to streamline processes, improve efficiency, and reduce overhead costs.

Advanced technologies such as IoT, machine learning, robotics, predictive analytics, automation, 3D printing, and cloud are enabling manufacturers with greater visibility, critical insights, and better control over the supply chain processes to adapt and thrive in a highly volatile, competitive market.

Remote Collaboration and Branch Site Challenges

Manufacturing facilities are geographically spread out, often separated from their corporate offices and data centers. Providing critical application access across these facilities has always been a challenge with applications hosted in data centers. Transitioning to the cloud has helped overcome this challenge by making applications and data easily accessible to employees irrespective of where they are located.

The cost-efficiency and scalability benefits of cloud are showing the way out for conventional data center-focused architectures with manufacturers migrating most applications today, including productivity, ERP, CADD, and back-office applications from on-premises to the cloud.

Smart Factories’ are essentially designed with a powerful network of IoT devices, cameras, and sensors for real-time information sharing between inventory managers, operators, field workers, suppliers, contractors, and partners. Real-time granular level monitoring of machine health and performance helps employees make faster, informed decisions to achieve higher product quality, optimize energy consumption, and better predict machine maintenance.

Lastly, industrial robots are helping manufacturers do mammoth and risky warehouse and shipping tasks easily and efficiently, eliminating the need for human intervention. 3D printing or additive manufacturing with rapid prototyping capability is helping manufacturers overcome complex design challenges and achieve shorter lead times.

“Digital transformation market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 22.7% from 2019 to reach $3,294 billion by 2025.”

Digital Transformation Market by Technology, Global Forecast to 2025 Report

“Geographically, North America region commanded the largest share of the global digital transformation market in 2019.”

Digital Transformation Market by Technology, Global Forecast to 2025 Report

Manufacturers Need to Move Away from Legacy WAN

Digital transformation has been a game-changer for the ever-expanding, ever-growing manufacturing sector. However, the next-gen technologies require next-generation networks that are agile, cost-effective, and secure to adapt and fulfill the changing demands.

Run primarily on bandwidth-limited, expensive MPLS private circuits, legacy WAN networks are falling short of meeting the needs of bandwidth-hungry applications. As more applications are deployed, and new cloud platforms are adopted, the hub-and-spoke architecture with data center backhauling is delaying application access, slowing down performance, and affecting user productivity.

With increased remote access and extensive cloud usage, the risk of cyberattacks is also growing, and legacy WAN network with siloed security systems is incapable of securing design assets and resources hosted on the cloud. Further, the complexity of legacy WAN’s hardware-centric architecture makes network management and new branch deployment an endless struggle, taking as long as three to six months, awfully slowing down time-to-market.

While network quality varies from one location to another, operations in remote or rural areas present the greatest challenge. With manufacturing processes dependent on critical ERP systems, manufacturers can’t afford a slow or unreliable WAN, that leads to downtime, and inevitably, loss of user productivity and revenue.

Reduce Complexity and Costs with SASE

In the pursuit of a modern networking solution that can constantly support increased traffic volume, improve real-time monitoring, secure cloud connectivity, reduce operational costs, and catalyze digital growth, manufacturers are now turning to Secure SD-WAN.

The cost, time, and complexity of ripping out existing network infrastructure is not necessary. An SD-WAN overlay can be cost-effective and deployed quickly, working in conjunction with legacy infrastructure.


Always Available Network

Secure SD-WAN offers the ability to aggregate multiple connections of any type, such as MPLS, broadband, wireless 4G, and LTE. By leveraging all available bandwidth, Secure SD-WAN makes the network agile enough to support more traffic volumes, and changing bandwidth demands. Doing so ensures continuous network availability and uninterrupted access to bandwidth-intensive AI and AR applications. Secure SD-WAN’s multiple transport link resilience also helps significantly cut down MPLS driven bandwidth costs.


High Application Performance

Secure SD-WAN architecture embeds application intelligence, enabling deep packet inspection by the network, beyond source and destination. It intelligently prioritizes application traffic based on business-intent policies and automatically directs them across the ideal transport route. This helps ensure mission-critical applications are always running smoothly, even during network outages, further improving application reliability and quality of experience. It also enables IT to spend less time dealing with network complexities and have more time and focus applied to business applications and services.


Centralized Management and Control

With centralized management and control, Secure SD-WAN dramatically simplifies WAN deployment and monitoring. Using simple, template-driven workflows, it eliminates tedious, error-prone configurations. With zero-touch deployment, IT can deploy patches, roll out policy updates, and strictly adhere to regulatory mandates across all branch locations from a single central orchestrator in one-go. Secure SD-WAN also offers deep granular visibility into applications, devices, and users to detect and fix any anomalies immediately. With a cloud-based Secure SD-WAN, manufacturers can quickly propagate or integrate new remote branches (in less than a month!), and simply plug-in to instantly connect to cloud services. By eliminating the need for manual visits to each branch site, Secure SD-WAN also saves substantial operational costs.


Secure Connectivity

Secure SD-WAN ’s segmentation enables IT to securely consolidate disparate physical environments into a single network. In doing so, they can classify applications based on business-intent and isolate sensitive data traffic from the regular corporate traffic for higher security and better regulatory compliance. Additionally, Secure SD-WAN also integrates end-to-end multi-layer security with best-of-breed features such as next-gen firewall, encryption, contextual awareness, and more. These deeper security capabilities allow manufacturers to steer away from data center backhauling of cloud traffic, and instead directly access cloud data and applications, without fearing security risks.