How to connect multiple offices quickly and affordably with Cato Cloud

August 14, 2019

One complaint I often hear is how the WAN can be a bottleneck to productivity. MPLS circuits can take weeks even months to provision depending on location. All too often, IT directors have told me they need to explain why MPLS circuit delivery is a holdup for branch office going live. At a time where agility is more important than ever to business outcomes, this is an unenviable situation to say the least.

This then begs the question: how do you connect multiple offices rapidly and affordably without sacrificing performance? Cloud-native SD-WAN provides a way to do just that. 

Challenges when connecting multiple offices

There are a few common requirements when it comes to connecting multiple offices to the WAN. The connection must be secure, reliable, affordable, and capable of delivering the performance enterprises demand. The competitive nature of modern business also dictates that any solution is agile and scalable enough to meet the needs of an increasingly mobile workforce and allow for rapid onboarding of new sites.

VPN has proven to be a popular solution for site-to-site connectivity. However, as demonstrated in this case study of a software security company expanding to Europe, VPN has a number of downsides that limit its practical applications.

VPN requires onsite IT staff to manage local firewalls, not always practical in the era of WeWork and mobile employees. Complexity also grows with the size of the network, limiting scalability. Mobile VPN clients are either non-existent or too clunky to enable optimized connection for mobile workers. Further, the time it takes to get a physical appliance to a branch office in a foreign country can make VPN impractical for time-sensitive projects. In other cases, teams are so small or mobile that a physical appliance is simply overkill. However, what often makes VPN unusable for the enterprise is the notorious unreliability of the public Internet.

The desire for reliability is why many enterprises have looked to MPLS to connect multiple offices in the past. The problem is that MPLS simply isn’t agile or fast enough for deployments that require rapid onboarding.

In the aforementioned case study, it would’ve taken about 6 weeks to deliver an MPLS circuit, an obvious deal-breaker for a 5-week project. Further, MPLS bandwidth is significantly more expensive than Internet bandwidth, making connecting multiple offices with MPLS expensive. This also makes providing connectivity to small offices impractical. Finally, like VPN, MPLS struggles to provide optimized performance for cloud and mobile users (e.g. the trombone effect).

How to connect multiple offices with Cato

Cato’s cloud-native SD-WAN is able to solve all these problems elegantly. With Cato, the complexity of VPN and lengthy MPLS provisioning times are a thing of the past. Just how much of an improvement is Cato? Check out this video that demonstrates how to connect and provision a Cato Socket in 3 minutes. From there, the “how to connect multiple offices” process is simply rinse-and-repeat.

Not only is this process faster and more scalable than the alternatives, the resulting WAN connectivity performs better and is more secure. Our global private backbone is backed by a 99.999% uptime SLA, includes an integrated security stack, provides end-to-end route optimization for cloud traffic, and delivers WAN connectivity that meets (and often exceeds) MPLS reliability at significantly lower costs.

But what about those sites where an appliance of any kind is impractical? This ADB SAFEGATE case study provides a real-world example of how Cato’s mobile client handled the challenge of deploying all 26 company sites within two months. According to Lars Norling, director of IT operations at ADB SAFEGATE, “the possibility to include everyone within the solution, including all of our traveling colleagues and all of our small offices using the Cato mobile client, has been extremely important to us”.

By creating a software-defined perimeter (SDP), Cato makes it easy to securely connect even a single mobile user via clientless browser access. As SDP is built-in to the Cato Cloud, mobile users are protected by the same policies and packet inspections as on-prem employees and benefit from the same WAN optimization features.

Cato eliminates WAN bottlenecks and makes connecting multiple offices simple

As we have seen, Cato Cloud makes connecting multiple offices simple, fast, and affordable. This enables enterprise WANs to keep up with the speed of modern business, and no longer act as a bottleneck or impediment to progress. If you’d like a demo of the nuts and bolts of the “how to connect multiple offices” process, you’re welcome to contact us today.

For more examples of successful MPLS to SD-WAN migrations, download our free 4 Global Companies who Migrated Away from MPLS eBook. To learn more about the WAN optimization benefits of cloud-native SD-WAN, check out our WAN Optimization and Cloud Connectivity whitepaper.

Dave Greenfield

Dave Greenfield

Dave Greenfield is a veteran of IT industry. He’s spent more than 20 years as an award-winning journalist and independent technology consultant. Today, he serves as a secure networking evangelist for Cato Networks.