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SonicWall takes threat protection to the branch level

SonicWall’s launch of a switch and SD-Branch management solution should provoke interest from channel partners looking to offer wider levels of protection

SonicWall is describing its latest SD-Branch offering as a major shift and a milestone in its corporate history, with it set to have a major impact on the security player’s channel.

The firm has a strong reputation in firewalls and helping customers protect traditional enterprise perimeters, but with the world changing, accelerated by coronavirus, the vendor has recognised a need to widen the focus.

The move to go well beyond the existing perimeter will cast SonicWall in a different light not only with customers, but also with channel partners that now have something fresh to offer from the vendor.

“Business success often coincides with expansion, leading to an increased need for visibility, security and bandwidth across a distributed organisation,” said SonicWall president and CEO Bill Conner.

“As the world begins to re-open its doors, organisations must re-architect for the ‘new business normal’, which includes implementing cost-effective, software-defined networking and security principles across the business,” he said.

The SD-Branch offering, which provides a single management approach to cover LAN, WAN and security controls, should particularly appeal to managed services providers (MSPs) looking to help customers provide protection across an ever-widening area.

The vendor has also cut the ribbon on a multi-gigabit switch line that works with its firewalls and wireless access points. The product offers up to 10 Gbps, aimed squarely at the branch environment, and has ports to power on wireless access points, VOIP phones and IP cameras.

Coping with a distributed IT environment is an issue for all customers and has been highlighted during lockdown with the mass movement by many workers to connecting to corporate networks remotely.

That has been accompanied by a frenzy of activity by cyber criminals looking to exploit those vulnerable workers that are isolated and could succumb to a virus-related phishing attack.

“With companies forever changing how they operate with remote employees and offices, it’s more important than ever to ensure the maximum performance of applications, traffic and workflows,” said Conner.

“These additions will allow IT departments to focus on other issues at hand, reduce budget constraints and finally address the shortage of critical cyber security skills,” he added.

The networking world has also reacted to the changes of the past few months with many in that sector also pointing the channel towards the need to support distributed IT environments.

The long-awaited arrival of 5G was already expected to help support more disparate working, and comms players have been readying for a changing world for a while.

“Initial SD-WAN [software-defined wide-area network] deployments have been focused primarily on fixed internet economics,” said Lee Doyle, principal analyst at Doyle Research. “The next phase of WAN transformation broadens the definition of a ‘branch’ and will include an expanded role for LTE and 5G to drive Wireless WAN solutions.”

Cradlepoint is one of those that has reacted with the launch of a “branch-in-a-box” solution that provides an embedded Gigabit-Class LTE modem, integrated Wi-Fi 6, gigabit Ethernet ports for WAN/LAN connectivity, and expansion slots accommodate a secondary LTE modem module today with 5G modem and Bluetooth 5.0 modules coming later in 2020. 

“We believe, as do many of our customers and partners, that wireless WAN is the next big networking wave, driven by the emergence of 5G,” said James Bristow, senior vice-president of Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at Cradlepoint.

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