Simplifying Multi-Cloud Connectivity through SD-WAN at the Edge

By: Jacob Chacko, Regional Director – Middle East, Saudi & South Africa at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company

The pandemic’s acceleration of cloud migration within enterprises has, at this point, been well documented. Last year’s Flexera 2020 State of the Cloud Report suggested that more than 90 per cent of enterprises now have a multi-cloud strategy.

Even in times of great urgency as we have experienced over the last 18 months, enterprise-wide cloud transformations don’t simply happen overnight. In the rush to get their multi-cloud environments off the ground and enable remote connectivity for their workforces, many enterprises will not have suitably adapted their IT and network infrastructure to support applications in a multi-cloud connected environment. Because of this, they will likely now be facing numerous challenges around the performance of mission-critical SaaS applications, automation of cloud security services, and integration of WAN applications in public cloud, to name just a few.

When it comes to meeting and addressing these challenges, enterprises could consider the benefits of an SD-WAN platform which, through a mixture of optimization, orchestration centralization and automation can provide a firm foundation for enabling a successful, performant and secure multi-cloud environment.

Ensuring user experience through SaaS optimization

In a time when applications were hosted in corporate data centres, routing all application traffic from the branch to the data centre made total sense. Today, however, with most applications in modern enterprises delivered through SaaS, backhauling cloud-destined traffic to the data centre only serves to increase latency and impact application performance.

Recognizing this, enterprises could reduce said latency by looking towards a modern, best-of-breed Edge-based SD-WAN platform, which should offer SaaS optimization features to seamlessly and securely connect users from branch sites to SaaS applications, while simultaneously monitoring the SaaS Quality of Experience (QoE).

Key functionalities that any SD-WAN purchaser should look out for include first-packet identification, wherein applications are identified and classified on the first packet, which enables traffic to be routed dynamically to its intended destination (be that the data centre, cloud provider or cloud security). This, in turn, reduces latency and ensures security policies are adhered to. Similarly, Microsoft Office 365 API integration enables secure internet breakout to the closest Office 365 entry point, thus ensuring the best Office 365 performance available.  

Intelligent local internet breakout

Different classes of application require different kinds of treatment to adhere to security policies and controls. As mentioned above, first-packet identification has a part to play here, but there are other functionalities within leading SD-WAN platforms that can bolster security without impacting application performance.

Different applications can be mapped to virtual WAN overlays, each supporting various QoS, transport and failover characteristics. For instance, trusted business SaaS such as Office 365 can be mapped to an overlay that traffics straight to the closest SaaS instance over the internet, whilst untrusted or unknown traffic is sent to the headquarters-based firewall for closer inspection.  

Speaking of firewalls, having a unified zone-based stateful firewall at the WAN Edge is essential to ensure complete, secure local internet breakout. A WAN Edge firewall can connect directly to trusted SaaS applications and IaaS from branch offices, whilst also blocking any unauthorized traffic attempting to enter the branch network from the enterprise LAN.

Network simplification through SD-WAN integration and automation with public cloud

Complexity is the enemy when it comes to network management, and this is most true for particularly large, global networks with many AWS Virtual Private Clouds or Microsoft Virtual Networks (VNets). However, an Edge-based SD-WAN platform can greatly simplify management of such large networks.

By connecting directly to public cloud providers’ global backbone networks, reducing the number of point-to-point connections, and connecting branch locations directly to regional points of presence (POPs) the complexity of the SD-WAN overlay is reduced. An SD-WAN overlay should also support branch-to-branch communication without virtual gateways at each Virtual Private Cloud.

The emergence of SASE

The emergence of SASE has had a profound impact on SD-WAN. Just as SD-WAN is transforming the network infrastructure with uninterrupted connectivity and simplified workflows, SASE takes the logical next step by placing cloud-native security controls closer to the end users where the data is being generated (at the network Edge) and is therefore most at risk.

Although SASE is not a technology on its own, as an architectural framework it offers organizations the capability to bring together security and networking functions into a single, cloud-based service model. In 2021, SD-WAN should form the foundation of a SASE solution: a cloud-programmable networking platform for orchestrating and centrally managing network, security and SASE components.

As part of this, any quality Edge-based SD-WAN must integrate with third-party cloud security services from best-of-breed cloud security firms. Advanced API integration within the SD-WAN platform can enable network managers to fully realize enterprise-wide automation of consistent, network-wide security policies. In this way, they can combine the advantages of an advanced Zero Trust WAN Edge on-premises, whilst also enjoying the flexibility and freedom of choice to enjoy the benefits of cloud-delivered security services from their preferred security vendor.

Final word

Multi-cloud environments can be incredibly complex, and managing their connectivity across an enterprise’s WAN can quickly become an unruly, laborious affair. Not only are IT teams tasked with deployment and management of these environments, but simultaneously they must ensure the highest performance levels and security are achieved for their businesses’ end users, alongside delivering the full transformational promise of the cloud through lifecycle management and orchestration.  

IT teams rely on automation and orchestration to manage the complexity of multi-cloud, and businesses must look to further simplify these processes for their teams, particularly as network complexity grows. An important first step is selecting the right SD-WAN platform to simplify the integration of private cloud, SaaS and IaaS hosted applications.

The pandemic has shifted how, when and where employees work, and it is still unclear as to whether these changes will become permanent fixtures after the pandemic has ended. Even if they do not, much of the investment and groundwork has already been laid. The impetus is now on businesses to follow through on their cloud transformation journeys and create a network infrastructure that is resilient and manageable to deliver consistent and secure application performance over any WAN infrastructure to all users, anywhere, and from any device.

Mindware and EC-Council Sign Agreement in MENA Region to Develop Cyber Security Awareness and Skills

With digital threats on the rise, Mindware, one of the leading Value-Added Distributors (VADs) in the Middle East and Africa, announced that it had signed a partnership with the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants (EC-Council). EC-Council is the owner and developer of the world-renowned Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) program as well as multiple other cybersecurity programs. The institution has trained and certified over 200,000 information security professionals globally, that have influenced the cyber security mindset of countless organizations worldwide.

As per the agreement, Mindware will leverage the presence of EC-Council to offer cybersecurity certification, education, training, and services in various cybersecurity skills to partners and customers across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The courses are intended to prepare employees, contractors, temporary workers, and any additional representatives who perform authorized functions online, by offering the necessary information to defend themselves and secure their organization’s assets from damage or loss.

“The post-pandemic world has seen the adoption of new technologies for businesses. Adoption of technologies like Cloud, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning is ever-growing. Businesses today need cybersecurity leaders that can make decisions and set industry benchmarks,” says Jay Bavisi, CEO and President of EC-Council Group. “We are delighted to partner with Mindware to encourage innovation and implement robust cybersecurity training strategies. With this partnership, EC-Council would share its cyber security training expertise and help cater to the growing demand for a skilled workforce.”

Speaking about the partnership, Philippe Jarre, CEO at Mindware says, “Most organizations today are embracing digital transformation and leveraging new-age technologies. With every new technology comes new and sophisticated cyber threats. Organizations are finding it difficult to combat these risks, especially with the shortage of security analysts and professionals in the market. The ongoing pandemic has further exacerbated the problem with the ‘work from home’ trend. A home working environment does not have enterprise cyber security prevention and detection technologies and policies in place. Additionally, home Wi-Fi networks are much easier to attack. Cyber criminals see the pandemic as an opportunity to step up their criminal activities.”

“As part of Mindware’s growing security practice, we decided to join hands with EC-Council to help partners and customers overcome cyber security challenges through high-quality training and certification. We believe that this initiative will go a long way in developing overall skills in the region and reducing the number of cyber breaches and incidents,” he continues.

The latest partnership further strengthens Mindware’s security portfolio and enables the VAD to position itself as a one-stop-shop for security solutions and services. With the specific needs for the region in mind, Mindware and EC-Council will focus on the following training courses:

  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
  • Certified Network Defender (CND)
  • Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI)
  • EC-Council’s Certified Incident Handler (ECIH)
  • Certified SOC Analyst (CSA)

Security is Fueling the Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Experience

By Joe Robertson , Director of Information Security and EMEA CISO at Fortinet

The digital automotive experience is revving up for some big changes, from online vehicle shopping, to configuring auto systems, to maintenance, manufacturing, and shipping. The advent and availability of 5G can help assure the required high-speed digital links for autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles. But that’s not all. 5G is also creating a revolution in industrial automotive systems, as today’s vehicles can be manufactured and shipped faster and more easily than ever. However, the growing number of sensors, actuators, probes, machine connectivity, and the high density of connections (including robots)—all connected through 5G—opens new attack surfaces that need to be addressed. 

These new attack vectors are partially a result of the complex ecosystem of vendors and partners that supply the software and systems that build connected smart cars. At the same time, the real-time nature of driving also means that the computing required to manage on-board systems and interoperate with GPS, smart transportation systems, or other cars on the road, will happen both at the edge (meaning, in the car itself) and in the cloud. This simply widens the scope of the risk of interference and intrusion that needs to be accounted for.

Autonomous and connected vehicles are the perfect example of the compute edge in action. And given the safety issues for passengers in the connected vehicle as well as in the vehicles around it, the need for connected car security at the edge—that can function at 5G speeds—should be the first and foremost consideration. Securing the smart car and all its data, while also providing reliable and secure connectivity from the car to the cloud, is critical. Without security and connectivity working together as an integrated system, automotive companies are open to significant brand reputational risk. And worse, customers could even be putting their lives on the line.

First Gear: Connectivity with an Autonomous Vehicle

To start, the production and manufacturing of vehicles needs to be protected, especially as operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT) convergence becomes the norm. The challenge is that many legacy OT systems cannot afford any downtime and are highly sensitive to any sort of disruption; many systems are irregularly and infrequently patched. As a result, OT systems often lack consistent protection or single-lens visibility. Inconsistent corporate security policy implementation and governance only adds to the problem. In this environment, being able to protect every integration point across IT and OT to boost connected car security, even as interconnectedness increases, is a challenge.

Fortunately, the way auto manufacturers deal with their original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) is evolving. Traditionally, the manufacturer would turn to suppliers to design whole systems: brakes by one, the transmission by another, satellite nav systems by yet another. All these systems were farmed out to subcontractors, and the manufacturer took responsibility for assembling the pieces. However, with this piecemeal approach, the systems that operate the vehicle, engine, transmission, system gauges, fuel and safety systems, cameras, radar and more, might all run on different operating systems. This resulted in disparate and disconnected systems that were not able to efficiently collaborate or communicate with one another and are more challenging to secure. 

Over the last decade we have seen a change. Auto manufacturers see value for the customer when all of these solutions work together, creating a truly integrated experience. Software is the critical component and requires building connectivity and security directly into the system from the start, in the development, testing, and production phases, rather than a bolt-on solution applied at the end of the process. 

Second Gear: Data with an Autonomous Vehicle

Once these connected and autonomous vehicles are on the road, manufacturers need to continuously gather information from these “rolling data centers.” Vehicle data is collected and poured into a giant data lake, which the manufacturer uses to identify issues before they become critical. Since these autonomous vehicles run on compute power, they bring with them all the challenges of enterprise data systems— such as bandwidth, reliability, visibility, and, of course, cyberthreats, whether from malicious criminals or industrial espionage. Today, given current security trends, holding a vehicle for ransom is not out of the question.

Reliable, secure connectivity back to the cloud is critical to protecting customers, delivering the best user experiences, and protecting revenue streams. These cloud connections are crucial. This data is the only way to truly understand how vehicles are used, which leads to new insights and the development of premium customer experiences. Automotive manufacturers need to establish their own cloud platforms for data collection, processing, and provisioning. By keeping the in-car experience within their control, while protecting connected cars and their data, they can leverage car telemetry data to monetize and provide a differentiated, premium in-car experience.

But none of this will work without security. So, what is the best approach to ensure effective connected car security? The first step is integrating systems and software. This requires steering disparate vendors and solutions into a unified and broadly deployed platform that weaves security, connectivity, and networking into a single solution. 

Third Gear: Unification with an Autonomous Vehicle

In the connected-car industry, as elsewhere, software systems are now core to the business. Reliable connectivity and security of vehicles is important. It is possible to achieve powerful connectivity and integration between the vehicles that create the data, the cloud that processes it, and the applications that leverage it, resulting in continuous improvement and optimum user experience. In this scenario, automation, visibility, and an open integration platform are essential for providing the required agility and flexibility across all major public and private cloud providers and technologies. Without vendor lock-in, auto manufacturers can get what they need from proprietary technology while leveraging third-party tools, allowing their technology strategy to continually evolve as their business needs change. 

To unlock the true potential of the connected car, automotive manufacturers need to not only own the in-car experience but all the software and systems as well – from the backend to the front bumper. And because nearly every component of these autonomous vehicles will be connected to an in-car network as well as the cloud, the entire system is at risk if a vehicle is compromised. Thus, securing the car and its data while providing secure connections from the car to the cloud is critical to drive the connected car experience. 


To support Inspiration4, the world’s first all-civilian mission to orbit, IWC Schaffhausen has designed and donated a series of unique, space-themed Pilot’s Watch Chronographs representing the mission’s values of Leadership, Hope, Generosity and Prosperity. The watches will be worn by the four crew members on their journey into space, before being auctioned as part of the mission’s aim to raise funds for and promote the life-saving work of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®.

The Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “Inspiration4” features a case made of stunning white ceramic. The unique color results from a complex manufacturing process in which zirconium oxide is mixed with other metallic oxides in a precisely defined ratio. With a Vickers rating second only to that of diamond, engineering ceramic ranks among the hardest substances on the planet. The dark blue lacquered dial has been pad- printed with countless stars and captures the depth and darkness of space. It also features the Inspiration4 logo. Inside beats the IWC-manufactured 69380 caliber chronograph movement. On each of the four watches, the titanium case back has been engraved with the name and mission value represented by the respective crew member. The chronographs are fitted with an eye- catching white rubber strap with a leather inlay.

Named Inspiration4 in recognition of the diverse, four-person crew’s mission to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and send a humanitarian message of possibility, the multi-day journey to low-Earth orbit represents a new era for human spaceflight and exploration. The mission is the brainchild of Jared Isaacman, a 38-year-old entrepreneur and accomplished pilot who will also serve as Commander. The mission is set to launch in September from historical Launch Complex 39Aat NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The spacecraft will orbit the planet at an altitude of approximately 357 miles (575 kilometres) and a speed of more than 17,500 miles per hour (27,360 kph). After the multi-day journey, the crew will re-enter Earth’s atmosphere for a soft water landing off the coast of Florida.

“From our founder Florentine Ariosto Jones, who journeyed from America to Switzerland to revolutionize watchmaking, to our endless appetite for innovation, IWC is a company of pioneers. We are incredibly proud to partner with the Inspiration4 mission, which shares so many of our values, to make history together and raise funds for such a good cause,” explains Christoph Grainger-Herr, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen.

“Inspiration4 is the realization of a lifelong dream and on behalf of the crew, I want to thank IWC Schaffhausen for joining us aboard and supporting our mission to raise funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital,” said Isaacman.


At the heart of Inspiration4 is a unique and varied crew. Isaacman occupies the Leadership mission seat and serves as Commander. He is the founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments and an accomplished commercial and military pilot who holds several aviation world records. The mission seat representing Hope was awarded to Hayley Arceneaux, a 29-year-old physician assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and a pediatric cancer survivor. Dr Sian Proctor, a 51-year-old entrepreneur and trained pilot, earned the mission seat representing Prosperity as the winning entrant in a business competition. Finally, the Generosity mission seat will be occupied by Christopher Sembroski. The 41-year- old aerospace industry employee and United States Air Force veteran contributed to a fundraising campaign that offered an Inspiration4 seat to one lucky donor.

The crew is currently undergoing commercial astronaut training at SpaceX, focusing on orbital mechanics, operating in microgravity, zero gravity, and other forms of stress testing. In addition, they will receive emergency preparedness training, complete spacecraft ingress and egress exercises and take part in partial and full-mission simulations.

To learn more about Inspiration4 and how to support and follow this historic journey to space, visit and follow the mission on social media on Twitter (@inspiration4x), Facebook (@inspiration4mission), Instagram (@inspiration4) and YouTube (@Inspiration4) to receive the latest news on mission training, preparation and timing.


The refined elegance, uncompromising quality and eye-catching style of Benetti and Loro Piana Interiors come together on board the Motopanfilo 37M, permeating every aspect of this modern new yacht’s interior and part of the exterior design.

Benetti and Loro Piana Interiors have formed an important collaboration in which the Maison has fitted out both the interiors and part of the exteriors of the new Benetti yacht. The decor of Motopanfilo 37M features timelessly elegant materials and fabrics by Loro Piana Interiors, highlighting the sophisticated and inviting lines designed by Lazzarini Pickering Architetti, which worked with the shipyard on the interiors of this modern yacht. Clearly inspired by 1960s yachting tradition and offering technical and stylistic solutions in line with the needs of contemporary owners, Motopanfilo 37M is a project informed by an all-embracing approach to life, a gracious sense of elegance, and a design in tune with that period. Unhindered by passing fashion trends, Motopanfilo 37M is a yacht characterised by light and space, by constant eye contact with the sea, and by large water-level terraces.

Expressing her pride in this project, Azimut|Benetti Group vice-president Giovanna Vitelli commented: “Benetti and Loro Piana Interiors share many values, first and foremost a focus on fine craftsmanship and a predilection for timeless elegance. This is in fact the stylistic essence of the new Benetti Motopanfilo 37M, which embraces our yachting heritage and projects it into the future, making it the perfect fit for the style embodied by Loro Piana Interiors.”

The fabrics chosen are classics for summer on the water, with the leading role played by linen, the epitome of cool and comfortable fibres with its gorgeously distinctive and naturally slubby texture. For the furnishings on the Motopanfilo, Lazzarini Pickering Architetti has chosen linens by Loro Piana Interiors in warm white “Biancore” tones with blue and malachite accents, a combination that eloquently conjures up the 1960s ethos.

Connemara, a full-bodied and hard-wearing linen, is used for the upholstery and bed covers, while Papeete linen, in refined Malachite, is the choice for sommiers and pillows.

Millwood, Devondale and Darjeeling striped linens enliven their warm white base colour with shades of blue in various stripe-widths and combinations. The same linens are also used for the large decorative cushions found throughout the yacht’s living areas. The decor is completed by fire-resistant technical fabrics for outdoor use, these too featuring blue and white stripes.

“The Benetti Motopanfilo 37M is the second major Azimut|Benetti project we have worked on after the Magellano,” explains Francesco Pergamo, head of the Loro Piana Interiors Division. “Once again, our brief was to work on a yacht whose stylistic hallmarks are elegance, clean lines, and interiors devoted to pleasure and conviviality. These values are also part of our own brand DNA and the result on the Motopanfilo 37M is a very natural and genuine partnership. The fabrics chosen by Lazzarini Pickering Architetti are some of our most versatile and best performing materials, perfect for the life at sea on board a yacht. Seeing them employed with such understated elegance gives us great satisfaction.”

The yachting sector is one of the most important for Loro Piana Interiors, to which it brings a wide and well-structured offering, with an accent on natural fibres and a richly variegated palate of colours, featuring unusual shades of classic hues and meeting the needs of shipyards and owners alike.

Claudio Lazzarini and Carl Pickering commented: “We are honoured to be able to present to the press and nautical industry the Motopanfilo 37M. As you will discover, the yacht has an unprecedented sense of internal and external space for a boat of this size.

Loro Piana Interiors expresses the artisan sense of industry that is an essential and unique part of Italian Design and Production that combines research, design, quality; revelling in new challenges and inventing technological developments with an extraordinary eye and elegance, attention to quality and is also a perfect expression of Italian savoir faire. Luxury is a now widely abused adjective but we believe the Motopanfilo 37M and its design express a new meaning for the word in yachting. She’s the unique expression of two italian companies that express what true luxury and the Italian ‘way of life’ really mean.”

For its debut at the Cannes Yachting Festival (September 7 to 12), the furnishing accessories on the Motopanfilo 37M, chosen in collaboration with Lazzarini Pickering Architetti, will also be by Loro Piana Interiors: cashmere plaids, outdoor carpets and fabrics for interiors.