Getting Started on Your SASE Journey

An acronym standing for Secure Access Service Edge, SASE is a groundbreaking approach to network architecture that blends cutting-edge cyber security with SD-WAN networking technology to create a unified, comprehensive cloud service. SASE promises simplified and streamlined WAN deployment, greater flexibility and scalability, as well as increased security. This combination makes it a “must have” in times when cyber threats continue to ramp up, while remote working and distributed workforces are more common than ever.

Gartner introduced SASE in July 2019 as the future of network security technology. In March 2021, it built on its vision for SASE by publishing a strategic roadmap concerning SASE convergence. This laid out how organizations can best transition from the legacy security systems they may previously have relied on to integrated deployment of SASE; a much-needed shift away from a patchwork of different perimeter-based systems that had previously been used to safeguard the assets organizations kept on-premises.

Understanding this revolution, as well as more advanced measures like SASE certification training, is essential.

Short and long-term goals

Gartner’s roadmap for SASE includes both short and long-term goals. The short-term goals include the deployment of zero trust network access (ZTNA) in place of outdated legacy VPNs for use by remote workers, integration of cloud-based security edge services as part of project planning, implementing a multiyear strategy for phasing out on-premises perimeter and branch hardware, and consolidating vendors when contracts renew for secure web gateways (SWGs), VPNs, and cloud access security brokers. These are all steps that can be taken immediately by organizations.

Longer term, Gartner’s roadmap calls for the consolidation of SASE offerings to, ideally, one single vendor, the implementation of ZTNA for all users, the creation of a dedicated team of networking and security experts with shared responsibility for secure access engineering spanning all locations, and more.

The fact that SASE requires a roadmap highlights that, while many customers are already taking advantage of this game-changing approach to networking and security, there are plenty more who have yet to reap the rewards SASE can offer. According to Gartner, by 2025, around 60% of enterprises will have some form of SASE adoption strategy in place. That’s an enormous increase from the 10% who did so in 2020. The firm says that, since June 2020, upward of 50% of remote workers around the world have used SASE. That meteoric ascendance for SASE showcases just how valuable it is proving — and is expected to continue proving in the years to come.

The timeline is also a reminder that, while it may take organizations some time to fully upgrade their offerings to embrace SASE, there are nonetheless steps they can take today to do so.

Everything in one place

One of the central aspects of SASE is its convergence of networking and security solutions in one place. This pairing is essential to any SASE system — and any company that claims to offer SASE must, by definition, offer this convergence. Not all do, however. As the SASE market has heated up, with more and more organizations demanding SASE solutions, some advertised multi-vendor solutions have appeared on the the market, stitching together a package of features from multiple vendors. This, however, is not a true SASE solution.

As per Gartner’s definition, SASE has four central features: converged network and security capabilities via single software stack, cloud-first service architecture, global distribution via a network of Points of Presence (PoPs), and the ability to connect all enterprise edges — from data centers to the cloud — within a centrally managed and unified service.

To gain the true benefits of SASE, these features should be offered as a converged solution rather than one integrated using an assortment of different APIs. Multi-vendor approaches may lack advantages such as the ease of deployment and management that true SASE can.

Become a SASE expert

For those who want to learn more about SASE, one good starting point is to get SASE expert training. This can be achieved through the likes of SASE certification, an invaluable curriculum that will answer questions such as why and how enterprises can benefit from SASE, how SASE compares with previous legacy products, benefits and any potential drawbacks, and more. Since education is a large part of growing SASE adoption, this is an invaluable exercise for any organization that could potentially benefit from this technology.

SASE is a revolution in the world of network connectivity and security. While the journey is just starting out, its ramifications are going to be felt for years to come. Like understanding any major paradigm shift early in its lifecycle, getting to grips with SASE now isn’t just going to safeguard your customers and users; it’ll also provide a massive competitive edge that cannot be undersold. If you haven’t already, now is the perfect time to jump on the SASE bandwagon.

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