In an effort to better compete against telcos' managed SD-WAN services, Cato Networks Tuesday took the wraps off of its Hands-Free Management offering.
Hands-Free Management for Cato Cloud allows Cato's enterprise customers to take a hands-off approach to their Cato SD-WAN deployments by letting Cato or its partners control the network and security configuration, as well as change management.
“This is a good move because Futuriom research indicates that enterprise end users are seeking more simplified cloud management options for SD-WAN services, including fully managed options," said Scott Raynovich, founder and chief analyst of Futuriom. "I also believe end users are going to favor cloud-native solutions over those from traditional service providers.”
Cato offers a full range of management capabilities for its customers. They can choose to make their own changes via Cato's web portal, let Cato or its partners manage some elements of the SD-WAN service, or do a full hands-off service with Hands-Free Management.
"Traditionally, when you look at managed services from telcos, enterprises had a choice to make," said Cato technology evangelist David Greenfield. "They could either run the network themselves, in which case cost structures and response were fairly low but required fairly high technical 'know how.' Or, they could outsource all of that complexity to the telco managed service, which generally they had to pay a lot for, and it also meant they were subject to the SLAs of the carrier. It could take hours, days or weeks to make changes that if they were doing internally would have taken minutes.
"What we've introduced is a suite of services that give customers the ability to make the changes themselves, but at a cost structure and speed that they've never had before with a telco managed service. Customers can self manage own networks, or they can choose to outsource whatever parts they want to Cato or to Cato partners. Hands-Free Management is our ability to take over any change management request that they might have and fulfill it."
Cato, along with Aryaka, differentiates itself from telcos' SD-WAN offerings by using its own private core network instead of routing SD-WAN traffic over the public internet. By using its own private network, Cato can provide end-to-end quality of service for its customers. Among the 60-plus SD-WAN vendors, Cato Networks is unique because its security functions are in the cloud and its self-healing POPs don't require hardware.
Because it's cloud-based, Cato doesn't need edge devices, virtual network functions (VNFs) and standalone services that would normally hamper high-availability configurations in networks.
In January, Tel Aviv-based Cato announced a $55 million funding round to bring its total to $125 million. The funding round was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, and also included current investors Aspect Ventures, Greylock Partners, Singtel Innov8, USVP and co-founders Shlomo Kramer and Gur Shatz.