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MPLS vs SD-WAN: What are the Security Differences Between the Two?

February 3rd, 2023 | 4 min. read

By Jordan Pioth

Co-workers huddled around computer working

If you are looking for network security, you may not know the differences between MPLS and SD-WAN. If you don’t know these differences, you may not end up choosing the best service for maximizing your system’s security.

If you choose the wrong service for your company, you could end up frustrated after wasting money on a service that does not secure your network properly.

Not only are you wasting money, but you still have not solved your problem of securing your network and you could be vulnerable to cyberattacks.

Coeo knows how important network security is to an organization and wants to help you make the right choice to secure your network. We want to give you information on the differences between MPLS and SD-WAN so you can make the right business decision for your organization.

By the end of this article, you will know what MPLS is, what SD-WAN is, the security differences between the two, and which one is the best fit for your organization.

What is MPLS?

Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) is an overlay network designating data paths to send out data. MPLS communicates through protocols.

A network protocol is a set of rules for formatting and processing data. Protocols are a common language computers use to communicate with each other.

MPLS uses these protocols to send and receive data with other computers. The use of protocols allows all computers within the network to communicate with each other even with differences in software and hardware.

In the name MPLS, multiprotocol means that the network can use multiple protocols instead of having to rely on a single protocol to operate properly. This makes it very flexible and allows MPLS to work with multiple devices within a network.

What is SD-WAN?

Software Defined Wide-Area-Network (SD-WAN) is an overlay network built on top of underlying network connections, whether over fiber, LTE, MPLS, or broadband.

The solution is carrier agnostic which means it can be leveraged using any number of underlying internet providers regardless of who the providers are.

SD-WAN is applied as a software network of SD-WAN appliances, connected by encrypted tunnels. The encrypted tunnels ensure your data is sent over a secure path to avoid a data breach or cyberattack.

An SD-WAN solution continuously monitors the availability and performance of each network service. This allows for data to be sent over the most reliable network service.

The security differences between MPLS and SD-WAN

While MPLS and SD-WAN are similar solutions that provide network security, there are still differences between the two solutions. You should know the security differences between the two platforms so you select the best network solution.

●      SD-WAN security

When it comes to security, SD-WAN is more flexible than MPLS. With SD-WAN, you can secure applications at the branch, data center, or the cloud.

SD-WAN can encrypt overlay tunnels in the data centers and the cloud for end-to-end data protection. This allows your data to remain secure from one end to the other ensuring your data is safe throughout the entire path.

It also allows you to manage both network and security policies from a single management console which improves efficiency and makes it easier for you to manage your solution by using a single portal.

●      MPLS security

MPLS networks require security inspection and threat prevention across all application traffic at a data center. MPLS security only works well when access is performed through this centralized location.

When a localized inspection is required within a branch for outside and inside traffic, additional security solutions need to be installed at the branch on top of the MPLS solution otherwise there is a significant chance of creating a serious security risk.

Which solution is best for my business?

SD-WAN is a newer technology compared to MPLS and provides updated features. Because of this, security is better and more efficient.

SD-WAN has better security by securing data at the branch, data center, and cloud. This helps secure your data throughout the entire path instead of just one area.

SD-WAN also allows you to manage your data easily through a single portal. It also helps you personalize your SD-WAN solution and secure your network in the way you want while also allowing your service provider to manage it if that is your preference.

An MPLS solution, on the other hand, only secures data at the data center which makes the data vulnerable at any other place during its journey when being sent and received.

While SD-WAN is the better security solution, combining the two solutions is possible and can be very beneficial to an organization. Utilizing SD-WAN over an MPLS connection maximizes security but the costs are significantly more expensive than a single solution.

If you would like to learn more information about SD-WAN, check out the Buyer's Guide:SD-WAN BUYER'S GUIDE

Next steps to choosing the best solution for your business

Now you know what MPLS is, what SD-WAN is, the security differences between the two, and which solution is best for your organization. This will help you make a better buying decision to meet your organization’s security needs.

Network security is important to an organization and your network can be vulnerable to a cyberattack if not taken seriously.

It is important to focus on network security and make the best buying decision for your organization so you are not frustrated with a service that is not the best fit for you.

Coeo has helped thousands of customers with their network performance and security and knows how important network security is to an organization. We want to help your organization with your security and allow you to make the best buying decision for your company.

If you would like to speak with our team to talk about the differences between SD-WAN and MPLS or ask any questions you may have you can schedule an appointment. TALK TO AN EXPERT

Read these articles below to learn more about SD-WAN and MPLS and the differences between the two solutions:

Jordan Pioth

When he's not creating content for Coeo, Jordan loves to watch sports, hang out with friends and family, and anything sneaker-related.