Gartner created a new enterprise category in 2019 called “SASE” (Secure Access Service Edge and pronounced “sassy”) to chart the future of networking and security. The key business driver for SASE is the need for every business large and small to move more of their IT into the cloud. Businesses quickly learn that deploying point products—especially at the network edge—to address the ever changing requirements of connectivity, security, and mobility requirements does not scale. The promise of SASE is that an organization can deploy scalable cloud-native solutions at a lower cost without sacrificing agility and security.
But isn’t that what SD-WAN (Software Defined Wide Area Networks) was supposed to deliver, too?
In the real world, organizations will need new technologies to handle the connectivity and security issues created as digital transformation initiatives move more data and services to the cloud. What most forward-thinking CIOs and CISOs need to understand is that future networks will have SASE and SD-WAN working in tandem.
SO WHAT IS SASE?
While it’s not quite vaporware, CIOs and CISOs should be advised that SASE is not a product that they can buy from a vendor. SASE is a marketing term used to describe a set of cloud-native security and networking technologies. The definition of SASE requires that all IP traffic on a corporate WAN route through a secure web gateway and that all locations and users connect to the WAN using a centralized security policy that is enforced globally.
For SD-WAN vendors, implementing a SASE solution can deliver an increased level of secure connectivity to users at enterprise branch locations. Some SD-WAN vendors are already using SASE in their marketing. Israeli startup Cato Networks describes their site-to-cloud architecture for SD-WAN as “the world’s first SASE platform.” Masergy, a twenty-year veteran in the managed networking services market and secure SD-WAN leader, describes their Fortinet WAN edge device-powered offering for SD-WAN as SASE compliant. In a recent blog post, the company noted SASE was “a nice wrapper around cloud delivery, network, and security. SASE helps organizations understand that they need to consider cloud delivery, network, and security at the same time.”
Cloud Communications Group leader Keith Hatley is quoted as saying “You can’t have a network discussion without having a security discussion.” SASE aligns and raises awareness on the requirements around network and security.
A secure edge is the future
Our contention is that over the next five years, there will massive investment on edge computing. Partly because during that time, a large number of enterprises with aging models of Cisco and other WAN switches and routers are facing end of life (EOL) support for their edge hardware similar to the EOL for Microsoft Windows 7 in early 2020. There is also evidence that companies updating EOL hardware devices now to leverage secure SD-WAN connectivity with cloud-native SASE technologies could lower their overall TCO for network and IT costs.
However, progressive-minded CIOs and CEOs will want to refresh their WAN edge to allow secure connections to private and public clouds at far more data centers. A B2C example is Netflix implementing additional data centers in geo-dispersed locations that align to geographies. As organizations continue expanding their data centers and creating “micro-clouds,” organizations will rely more and more on SD-WAN to connect to them.
The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 has also exposed a weakness that many organizations might not have known they had: An inability to quickly deploy scalable remote working scenarios. A refreshed secure WAN edge made for cloud connectivity along with the growing adoption of 5G wireless in major metro areas will be advantageous for multiple industries and vendors by 2025.
Why Companies are Considering SASE
· Cost Savings – SASE allows organizations to require fewer vendors and more flexible access and pricing for their investments. Additionally, these investments will be OPEX line items removing heaving CAPEX investment.
· Stronger Security – SASE at its core allows sensitive data inspection and the ability to apply security policies automatically as threats emerge. Additionally, as Zero Trust becomes more prevalent, SASE streamlines these approaches.
· Effectiveness – Network security through centralized policy management and enforcement will allow professionals to focus on other issues.