6 min Security

How SASE can help Dutch manufacturers stay ahead

How SASE can help Dutch manufacturers stay ahead

The Netherlands boasts a highly innovative, competitive and diverse manufacturing sector. Its main industries include machinery and equipment, food and beverages, high-tech and materials, metal and engineering, and textile and chemicals, among others. Thanks to this wide range and the sector’s qualities, Dutch manufacturers enjoy high demand for their products and services.

But to remain competitive and continue to grow, Dutch manufacturers will need to find ways to address emerging IT and security challenges. In this blog post, we list the challenges global manufacturers will deal with in the next few years, and discuss how SASE can help them remain successful.

Navigating IT challenges in the manufacturing sector

Technological disruptions, macro-economic shifts, globalization and digital transformation are monster-sized trends that are impacting manufacturers at all levels. At the IT and security level, these changes have created a new set of challenges, including:

1. Unreliable and complex global connectivity

Manufacturers often operate on a global scale. They need fast, secure connections between datacenters, manufacturing plants, sales offices, and the cloud. This is essential for providing a positive customer experience and competing successfully with fast-moving competitors.

Many manufacturers depend on global MPLS networks. However, MPLS connectivity is not always reliable because it is susceptible to latency and downtime issues. Other manufacturers use VPN connections, which are difficult to manage, require backhauling traffic to a data center, and suffer from scalability challenges.

In addition to performance issues, none of these solutions address manufacturers’ need for flexibility. Manufacturers require the ability to open and close offices quickly and easily. But MPLS and other similar solutions are too rigid and do not support rapid company changes. Consequently, connectivity has become extremely complex.

2. High operational costs

MPLS networks are not only unreliable and inflexible, they are also very expensive, especially in the Asia Pacific region. Additionally, using MPLS requires IT staff to monitor connections 24/7 and sometimes travel to locations to configure or troubleshoot issues. This is far from being cost-effective. With costs spiking throughout the entire supply chain, manufacturers need to be extremely resourceful with their spending and budgets.

3. Lack of visibility

The dispersed and intricate nature of manufacturing operations is a classic use case for the value of network visibility. Manufacturing operations require centralized network management and monitoring to help prevent inefficient production lines, excess inventory (or lack thereof), and other inefficient results.  Despite productivity being a high priority for manufacturers, they often lack solutions that provide them with centralized networking ownership, high-quality data reporting and analytics.

4. Cybersecurity concerns

Like many other sectors, manufacturers are also being targeted by cyberattackers that aim to extort them for ransomware or engage in other malicious activities. However, traditional manufacturing equipment, like connected devices, sensors, and robots, was not engineered with cybersecurity as a priority. Neither were critical systems such as SCADA, OT, HMI, and IIoT, and this makes them all especially vulnerable to cyber attacks.

The solution for manufacturers: Cato SASE Cloud

SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) is a new enterprise networking category that converges SD-WAN and network security services into a cloud-native, unified service. SASE replaces complex and fragmented infrastructure, made up of point solutions, while reducing the risk of security breaches, improving global access and ensuring high performance. This is done through a network and security stack that is easier to deploy and manage. This makes SASE an innovative and robust solution for the networking and security challenges that manufacturers are facing.

SASE benefits for manufacturers

Some key benefits of SASE for manufacturers include:

1. Global reach

Single-vendor SASE solutions like Cato SASE Cloud deliver networking and security through a global private backbone built of Points of Presence (PoPs). These PoPs are distributed throughout a diverse range of locations, including remote and rural locations, supporting any and all facilities with high-performing and secure connectivity. Through these PoPs, networking and security services are provided to all users and devices, regardless of their location or how they connect. For example, when the Covid pandemic hit, remote manufacturing SASE users were able to work from home while enjoying first-class enterprise-level performance.

2. Optimized performance

Cato’s cloud-native architecture, global private backbone, and single-pass processing engine ensures optimized and high-performing connectivity. Each packet is optimally routed to reduce latency and is faster than connecting through the public Internet or directly to the cloud. In addition, SASE’s scalability ensures customer needs are always met, without requiring additional hardware or software deployments.

3. Streamlined network and security

SASE Cloud replaces numerous point solutions, which are often coarsely stitched together, with a single, converged solution. Management, deployment and monitoring immediately become straightforward and easier to perform. This not only takes away the management pain and reduces operational costs, but also enhances agility, flexibility, performance and security, transforming IT from a bottleneck to a business accelerator.

Using a unified solution also eliminates the hassle of working with multiple vendors and multiple support teams. Instead, organizations work with one reliable partner that is simple to use and sustainable.

4. Easy to deploy

Setting up the SASE is remarkably easy. Deploying across locations is quick and easy since it’s a plug-and-play solution. The only thing required is to plug in an edge SD-WAN appliance, which connects to the global backbone, or configure an IPSec connection.

5. Centralized management and monitoring

SASE provides a centralized management and monitoring portal that is easy to use, and controls and monitors the entire enterprise network. It eliminates mundane support tasks, freeing up IT to work on strategic tasks like architectural improvements.

6. Robust security

SASE employs multiple inspection engines (SWG, FWaaS, IPS, NGAM, DLP, etc.) to simultaneously inspect all network traffic, irrespective of the connection method (SD-WAN, IPSEC, SDP Client, or Clientless Web Access). These engines protect against malware, ransomware, phishing, and additional threats and risks. For secure access, SASE employs a zero-trust model that granularly authorizes and inspects against threats. This ensures that no malicious elements enter the network and no sensitive data leaves it.

The future of connectivity

Now that technological disruptions and cybersecurity threats are the new norm, adopting a Cato SASE Cloud architecture is the game-changer that Dutch manufacturers need to maintain their advantage. By doing so, they not only address current challenges but also future-proof their operations, ensuring long-term success in an ever-evolving global market.

Learn more about the Cato SASE Cloud here.

Also read: Cato Networks: “We are the only true SASE vendor”