Versa Networks unveils hardware-free solution to deliver secure SD-WAN to Work From Homers

Versa emphasizes that since Versa Secure Access requires no hardware, it is easy for home-based employees to install, and works even when the devices are mobile.

Today, SD-WAN vendor Versa Networks is launching Versa Secure Access to provide secure SD-WAN services and connectivity for employees who are remote or working from home.

“With this, Versa is introducing an entirely new solution,” said Mike Wood, Versa’s CMO. “It’s something we were planning, but we accelerated delivery in response to COVID.

Wood emphasized that legacy VPN networks were simply not designed for Work From Home situations.

“The legacy VPN model connecting from the home network to private data centres is an old architecture which declines with SaaS applications and isn’t designed for large amounts of people,” Wood said. “They were designed to handle a portion of employees working from home, and for only a portion of the time. As a result, the home office is the weakest link in entire network, and since bad actors often stay in stealth, threats may not be revealed for many months.”

Versa’s traditional market is mid-size to very large size enterprises, which they reach through direct sales of on-prem gear, or through managed services from the likes of Verizon or Comcast, or through the cloud through Versa or an SI partner.

“Most of our business goes through a partner, whether it be an SI or an MSP or a VAR,” Wood said.

Versa Secure Access fits into what Gartner now calls the Secure Access Service Edge [SASE] sector.

“There has been a lot of buzz around SASE, although many of these technologies have actually been around for a while,” Wood said. “We have an interesting component within this Gartner SASE model.”

Wood said that basically every company in the networking space has been busily working on rearchitecting or adapting their solutions for the Work From Home environment, with many more employees working outside the office, and with greater use of SaaS applications than in the past.

“This is an obvious problem and many companies are racing to figure out if they can provide a solution,” he stated. “In the past, we have provided a secure solution which required a hardware device. Now we are offering a solution that used to run on an appliance which is now enabled down to the client as a software-only solution.”

That means that once lockdowns end, and employees can take their devices to coffee shops and other such places traditionally favoured by mobile workforces, they can bring Versa Secure Access with them, in what the company is calling Work From Anywhere rather than Work From Home.

“What’s new and exciting here is delivering secure SD-WAN all the way down to the user device, so it follows the user around on their user device,” Wood said. “There’s no longer a need to set up an appliance in the home. Ours was easy to set up, but there was still a bit of a barrier there. Now they just place an order for service, Versa provisions cloud gateways, they can deploy this on all their devices and enterprise IT only plays for one user, not for each device.”

Wood said that the solution is ideal for IT, because it provides complete visibility, and they can see where employees connects from, their Quality of Experience, and bandwidth utilization – providing a level of control with respect to every single employee that hasn’t been available before.

“It’s also easy to shrink subscriptions if many people go back to traditional work environments,” he added. “It’s very elastic.”

Versa Secure Access runs on Windows, MacOS, IOS and Linux today. It’s not available on Android yet, but Wood said that is coming.

Wood also said that Versa has high hopes for this offering.

“It will help to drive additional Versa SD-WAN sales to our traditional market, but it also will drive business for partners because it opens up a brand new market for new customers that partners haven’t accessed before,” he said. “You don’t already need to be a Versa customer to try this. Even if they have another SD-WAN or no SD-WAN, they can try this out as a SaaS model with no hardware at all.”