What is the cloud-delivered branch?

2min. read

Branch offices provide organizations the opportunity to employ and expand their business across many locations, while still having access to headquarters resources. Traditionally, branch office networks were hardware focused, but as the cloud develops, organizations are shifting toward solutions that enable the cloud-delivered branch.

The Legacy Approach to Branch Office Networking

As organizations began expanding their branch offices, there were limited options for network setup. Mainly organizations put hardware, like a firewall or VPN, at each branch, which would then connect and backhaul all the branch traffic back to headquarters. On top of a pricey MPLS connection, this process requires a lot of investment for equipment and manual operations physically at each site. Firewalls provide organizations the necessary security and bandwidth requirements needed as users at each branch join the network. With firewall updates and security incidents, however, a physical IT presence is needed, which can be costly if you have hundreds of branch offices around the world. 

Additionally, applications that were traditionally housed at corporate data centers now live in the cloud, so sending traffic back to headquarters no longer makes sense and causes bandwidth issues as employees demand more for the applications they are accessing. Providing access to branch offices has become more difficult, as they require access to the internet, SaaS applications and corporate information in the data center. Ensuring visibility and security across these thresholds is crucial to protect against threats and data breaches.

Cloud-Delivered Branch

The cloud-delivered branch has emerged as an architecture to provide organizations with a simplified way to connect their branch offices without the hassle and cost implications of hardware. Delivered as a service, organizations can utilize their existing router, firewall or SD-WAN device to connect to the cloud. With all traffic now diverted to the cloud, policies are applied across all connection points (internet, headquarters, VPN, etc.), providing consistent security and visibility for the organization. 

One type of cloud-delivered branch solution that has gained popularity is a secure access service edge. A SASE solution converges both networking (e.g., SD-WAN, VPN, ZTNA, QoS) and networking security (e.g., FWaaS, DNS, DLP, SWG, threat prevention) features into one single cloud solution.

By moving your branch to the cloud, organizations can eliminate operation costs associated with the shipping, installing and maintaining of IT equipment. Utilizing a single platform for both your SD-WAN and security will simplify your visibility and management overview of all your branches.

Learn more about how a SASE and SD-WAN solution can benefit your organization as you embrace the cloud-delivered branch.