Businesses have just endured one of the most economically disruptive periods in modern history, but disruption often leaves opportunity in its wake
One of the small silver linings of the pandemic is that it acted as an accelerant for digital transformation, from getting workers set up for secure remote working, to deploying SD-WAN solutions in order to manage and optimise connectivity and application performance. But in their scramble to move their operations into the cloud, have businesses overlooked one of the best security options at their disposal?
SASE (often pronounced “sassy”), barely had its foot out of the door before it started to fundamentally reframe how organisations thought about security. Less than three years old, the term refers to a ‘secure access Service edge’, a networking solution that allows distributed workforces to access applications and resources with the same level of accessibility and security as if they were working in a central office. Needless to say, the move to working from home during the pandemic has driven SASE adoption and deployment through the roof, often as a companion or alternative to SD-WAN deployments. With more than two-thirds of business leaders planning to reconfigure their office space to accommodate distributed working permanently, SASE is of vital importance to these plans..
While SASE predates the pandemic, the latter’s impact on the former has been profound. According to Gartner, by 2025 at least 60% of enterprises will have explicit strategies and timelines for SASE adoption encompassing user, branch and edge access, up from 10% in 2020. If your organization is already focusing on delivering an excellent quality of experience (QoE) to remote workers through SD-WAN deployments, it would be well worth considering giving the same amount of attention to security – particularly if hybrid or remote working is going to be a permanent part of your day-to-day operations.
Why are more businesses adopting SASE?
Secure Access Service Edge is more like a concept than a product. It combines connectivity and security in one single platform where connectivity and security are of equal importance. In today’s post-pandemic landscape, where businesses are operating outside of their usual geographical boundaries, this approach is more important than ever. Day in, day out, staff are connecting to highly distributed resources made available via public clouds, containers, SaaS applications, as well as more traditional data centres. Gone are the “hub and spoke” days where a remote user would simply connect to a data centre through a VPN. Given that businesses are now living in the cloud it makes far more sense to adopt a cloud-native approach that doesn’t funnel traffic through a legacy data centre.
Converging network and security functions
Today’s organizations are far more distributed in terms of their digital real estate. Often, businesses take to bolting on discrete solutions such as VPNs, MPLS, CASB and the increasingly popular SD-WAN, as they grapple with security, speed and convenience. It’s something that no business can ever truly master, because the minute you lean into one priority, such as flexibility, you compromise something else, like security. This ‘give and take’ is something businesses have gotten good at balancing over the years, but it’s not something you would ever mark as ‘solved’. That is, until SASE enters the boardroom.
SASE, when implemented in the right way and with the right technology partner, can solve the flexibility vs. security vs. performance conundrum on its own, without the need to bolt on several disparate solutions to fill in the gaps. Instead of juggling countless functions and platforms, SASE will give your business one single cloud-native solution that can not only slash your infrastructure costs, but also dramatically reduce the complexity of your network. Through a managed SASE solution, upgrades, patches and network maintenance simply get abstracted away; they’re no longer a concern for you or your IT department.
SASE is the closest thing to a paradigm shift we’ve seen in networking and security, and it’s come just in the nick of time. As businesses start to pivot more toward distributed networking with a sprawling web of connectivity, a cloud-native approach to converging networking and security is just what’s needed. However, SASE is still very much in its infancy, and there’s no rulebook in terms of how it should be implemented, so do be mindful as you go from vendor to vendor assessing who might be the right fit for your business.
About the Author
Francois Champagne is Senior Solution Engineer at Expereo. With almost 30 years of consultancy and design experience, Francois leverages his deep technical understanding of underlay, overlay and security to deliver innovative solutions tailored to your business requirements. Expereo is the world’s largest managed Internet network services, SD-WAN, SASE, and Cloud Connectivity optimization solutions provider for global enterprises. We are committed to helping your business meet the challenges of today and beyond and making the internet work for you. We design, install, and integrate a configuration that works for your company’s needs across 190+ countries, ensuring that you are well-equipped for whatever the future throws at you.