The hottest topic – or buzzword – has landed, and you might be asking what exactly is secure access service edge (SASE) and what is so important about it that it is currently the talk of the town?
A general misconception is that SASE is a new technology. It is not – It is an integration of networking and security technologies.
It has been almost two years since Gartner published its seminal report “The Future of Network Security in the Cloud” where they first introduced SASE as “the need for the combination of WAN transformation and security transformation at the edge to enable enterprises to realise all of the benefits – the promises – of moving applications and workloads to the cloud”.
In constructing modern, digital enterprises, it is forecasted that 40% of them will be implementing explicit strategies to adopt SASE by 2024, up from less than one per cent in 2018. However, only one in 10 companies have deployed a SASE framework thus far.
The importance of adopting a SASE framework is paramount in today’s digital-first, hybrid-working era. Nine in 10 APAC companies have adopted work from home arrangements since the pandemic, resulting in 60% of the APAC workforce showing a keen interest in post-pandemic flexible work arrangements.
This shift has unearthed many shortfalls of enterprises’ networking and security infrastructure – the insufficiency of traditional networking technologies to support application and services’ move to the cloud, and the inadequacy of traditional perimeter-based security to ensure IoT devices are securely connected.
How can security and networking practitioners ensure that they do not fall behind with their digital transformation (DX)? Further, how can organisations guarantee an ideal future workplace for employees and maintain business continuity?
Ultimately, are enterprises able to encapsulate both security and network modernisation initiatives in their digital transformation journey, or are they only limited to one?
Priorities for DX: Security or Network?
While enterprises revitalise networking infrastructure to accommodate the increase of IoT devices and support a hybrid workforce, it may also present an immediate cybersecurity challenge to organisations.
As more classified data are accessed from multiple locations on multiple devices, each entry point is a gateway to an organisation’s classified data and applications for malicious actors. Legacy security infrastructure is unable to safeguard and fend off these breaches.
Just last year, cybercrime accounted for almost half of all crimes in Singapore and Hong Kong records a nearly sixfold rise in technology-based crimes in a decade. According to Check Point Research, a horrifying upsurge of 168% increase of cyberattacks were recorded in APAC this year.
As emphasised in Accenture’s 2020 Cyber Threatscape Report, organisations need to embrace adaptive security to put the right controls and monitoring in place to create a safe and secure working environment.
Undoubtedly, a digital transformation should not be an either-or phenomenon. While many organisations’ security and networking teams operate in a mutually exclusive manner, the organisation may find it cumbersome to lead two separate projects when championing its digital transformation journey. Or worse, forgo one for the other, due to added complexities.
The answer is not too far away
As mentioned, a SASE framework combines WAN transformation that connects geographically dispersed offices with comprehensive security transformation at the edge, ensuring that organisations benefit from the best-of-both-worlds.
SASE also promotes the successful integration of these two teams, requiring cross-collaboration between both teams to be part of the same infrastructure modernisation project. Delivering a seamless experience, an automated orchestration integrates SASE components without comprising both networking and security enforcement capabilities.
Understandably, no single vendor can assure the breadth and depth of features and capabilities required to deliver best-in-class network and security technologies across a single platform. A multi-vendor partnering strategy is key in granting enterprises the freedom of choice to evaluate and integrate cloud-delivered security services. Additionally, enterprises can ensure continuity in their current vendor partnerships. They avoid committing to proprietary solutions from a single vendor or settle for feeble features and functionality.
As echoed, 71% of global respondents in a Ponemon Institute research indicated that a best-of-breed, cloud-delivered security solution is preferred, deploying both SD-WAN and cloud-delivered security with vendors of their choice for a SASE architecture.
With APAC’s digitalised spending expected to reach US$1.2 Trillion by 2022, organisations ought to prospect and prioritise in ensuring that their digitalisation efforts encompass both a modernised networking infrastructure with enhanced security capabilities. Only with a “best-of-breed” integration of both, enterprises can fortify their positioning to thrive in a digital-first, hybrid-normal era.