Skip to main content

Knowledge is power – getting to grips with SASE

MSP cloud technology
(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/everything possible)

The implementation of new technology within a business can often take months to complete. It requires planning, budgeting and research- all of which takes time and effort from multiple teams within the company. Unfortunately, the last year deprived business leaders of the luxury of time, and making digital transformation decisions dramatically accelerated. According to our latest report, 84 percent of IT and security professionals experienced an increase in cloud adoption and other digital transformation projects.  

This level of change within technology adoption timeframes can have several impacts on business operations, as many discovered last year. Without sufficient time to prepare, many companies experienced unreliable connectivity and limited real-time IT support. Video conferencing and collaboration apps were greatly affected by this dip in performance for 36 percent of our survey respondents. Various different solutions were considered and adopted to try and help overcome the network and security issues, however it’s come to our attention that not everyone who implements these solutions has a complete understanding of what they are.

Narrowing down the choices   

A popular option for businesses looking to update their systems is Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), which addresses both the security and networking sides of a business. SASE is the integration of networking and security solutions, such as Zero Trust and firewall-as-a-service (FWaaS), into a single service that can be delivered entirely through the cloud. With the growing need for a solution that will support a partially or completely remote workforce, SASE’s ability to deliver strong security and reliable connectivity stood out for many businesses.  

Security has been a strong focus for business leaders in recent years as the threat landscape continues to evolve. Despite companies boosting security to the top of their priorities list, 49 percent would still like to see greater efforts made towards strengthening it. SASE has gained more popularity over the past year, with 87 percent of respondents having already adopted, or contemplated adopting SASE as a solution to their security needs within the next year. Breaking this down even further, we can see a growing interest in SASE as a solution, over VPNs. In fact, 34 percent of companies chose SASE compared to the 23 percent who chose VPNs.

Confusion around SASE  

Without a doubt, organizations are becoming more familiar with SASE and its benefits, hence the decision to choose SASE over VPNs. Remote working has revealed a number of security issues with VPNs so businesses are beginning to look elsewhere for their security and network solutions. Currently, a third of businesses have already implemented SASE, with another 30 percent looking to deploy in the next 6 to 12 months. But are organizations achieving the best return on investment (ROI) through their SASE solutions? 

Due to the immense pressure placed on organizations to advance the business along the digital transformation journey, it’s unsurprising that deployment speed became a number one priority. This means however, that some solutions have been implemented without the teams fully understanding how it can achieve the best results for the business. This is certainly the case with several SASE deployments, as revealed by our survey. Out of all respondents, only 31 percent could identify the accurate definition of SASE: ‘the convergence of networking and security services like CASB, FWaaS and Zero Trust into a single, cloud-native service model.’ Without fully understanding the technology’s capabilities, it is virtually impossible for companies to make use of its full potential. It’s also interesting that out of all respondents who are not planning on implementing SASE, 13 percent admit to not completely understanding its benefits. This clearly demonstrates the parallel between companies not understanding and not deploying.   

Other reasons for businesses not choosing SASE include a lack of budget and other priorities. Many companies will be satisfied with their current solutions so won’t necessarily see the benefits of investing in new technology, especially ones they still have questions about. If there was greater awareness of this technology and its capabilities, perhaps the findings would differ. 

Future-proofing the company  

It’s been established that security and reliable connectivity are the two main concerns for businesses moving forwards. With many organizations choosing to maintain a remote working practice in their business structure, they need to be able to ensure smooth transitions between the office and remote environments to maintain business productivity. With the threat landscape constantly evolving, it is unsurprising that 32 percent of businesses are concerned about being able to protect their network from the onslaught of security threats.   

SASE is equipped to help combat these security and network challenges; the main barrier preventing deployment is lack of awareness. Its benefits range from strengthening network architecture, to delivering greater flexibility across the company through the cloud. The fact that it operates from a single point of control is ideal for teams because it allows for ease of use but can give insights into the entire business structure. It automatically entrenches security into every element of the network architecture giving teams the confidence that all parts of the business are covered.     

Over a year since the pandemic first triggered the digital acceleration wave, businesses have now reclaimed the time they were previously deprived of. Taking the time and effort to research and understand the different solutions on offer, such as SASE, will be of great benefit to the entire company in the long run. Only when a business fully recognizes the capabilities of new technology, will they be able to make the informed decisions needed to future-proof their company and protect themselves against unknown threats.

Michael Wood, CMO, Versa Networks

Michael Wood is CMO at Versa Networks.