While organizations like Cisco are pushing the idea of intent-based networking, SD-WAN-as-a-service vendor Cato Networks is advocating for a networking approach that is identity-aware .
On July 18, Cato Networks announced its identity-aware routing engine for SD-WAN, providing organization with a new model for securing access based on identity.
"We founded Cato on the premise that IT needed a new kind of carrier, one where simplicity isn't just a mission statement but part of the company's DNA," Shlomo Kramer, co-founder and CEO of Cato Networks, wrote in a statement. "Identity awareness adds business context to our end-to-end, converged and secure MPLS alternative, making it easier and simpler for IT to align with today's dynamic business requirements and deliver an optimal user experience, everywhere."
Cato Networks emerged from stealth mode back in February 2016, with the promise of enabling a cloud delivered security-as-a-service platform. The vision of the company has pivoted somewhat to encompass SD-WAN in recent years. With SD-WAN, public Internet links are used to help enable distributed WAN services at less cost than private line, MPLS options.
What Is Identity-Aware Networking?
Typically networking is based on IP addresses and networking ports. What Cato Networks is doing is matching how applications are used with how they are routed. Applications don't tend to care about IP addresses but do care from an access perspective about user and entity identities.
The way the system works, Cato connects with Microsoft Active Directory-based identity resources to match network traffic with user identities. Based on that identity, policies based on users and groups can be implemented at the networking level.
In addition to the identity awareness, Cato Networks is improving its platform with real-time network analytics to help improve troubleshooting. Additionally the SD-WAN platform now also benefits from multi-segment policy-based routing that optimizes the network traffic flows.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.