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SASE enters “adolescence” in Gartner Hype Cycle
by Paul Davenport Paul Davenport on

As the pandemic pushed enterprises to rethink their approach to network management and security in the face of widespread work-from-home restrictions, Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) emerged as the go-to IT solution for securely linking a distributed user base.

In the two years Gartner has monitored SASE in their Hype Cycle report, the technology has reached 5-20 percent adoption among enterprises, meaning that SASE is now in it’s “adolescence” as a trending solution.

While SASE offerings come in many shapes and sizes, they generally combine zero-trust network access (ZTNA), cloud access security broker (CASB), secure web gateway (SWG) and SD-WAN firewall capabilities into one “as-a-service” solution. The goal is to give IT teams a more realistic (and timely) understanding of security and compliance where users are actually logging on—which, throughout much of the past two years, hasn’t been the main office.

As is the case with many “adolescent” technologies, the SASE market has been rife with mergers and acquisitions as it matures, meaning there remains to be a clear market leader delivering the definitive SASE solution. But Gartner still predicts that by 2024, 30 percent of enterprises will have retired their legacy network management and monitoring strategies (ie. those beholden to in-office schedules) and moved to a single-vendor SASE model.

“Network security models based on data center perimeter security are ill-suited to address the dynamic needs of a modern digital business and its distributed digital workforce,” the report reads. “Keeping complexity manageable is a significant factor for the adoption of SASE.”

Potential SASE complexity

A potential challenge with SASE management (that could present a positive opportunity for transformation) is that it calls for input from several different, traditionally siloed, IT organizations within the enterprise.

For starters, SASE is literally where the roles of network management and security operations intersect, calling for these departments to work in tandem and align on priorities to execute a secure and efficient edge infrastructure.

Part of this is specific vendor biases that may be held within a single organization; the security team may have their own preferred cloud toolkit, white network management teams leverage another cloud vendor entirely.

The crux of SASE success, however, is cloud delivery, relying on a distributed network of interconnected points of presence (PoPs) whose performance needs to be constantly monitored to ensure IT always has a true understanding of how their larger network is performing.

Despite taking this big-picture approach to SASE management, it’s critical that the teams shepherding these deployments never lose sight of end users.

IT must be able to quickly gain visibility into and beyond these edge PoPs out to individual workstations to pinpoint the root cause of performance roadblocks that arise in a work-from-anywhere environment. While the edge may represent the security perimeter for the larger enterprise WAN, it’s critical that security doesn’t come at the expense of individual user performance if at all possible.

Rather, teams need to be able to see not just into the user workstations beyond the network edge, but also gain outside-in visibility into the cloud environments delivering their apps and workflows. This allows IT to understand when performance is actually being hindered by the network or SASE architecture, or if it’s an app or vendor issue that’s out of IT’s inherent control.

Without this visibility, the financial impact of poor performance may outweigh the risk of poor security that next-generation architecture models look to prevent. With a single, comprehensive method of gaining network visibility (without adding “weight” or a patchwork of tools to IT’s management stack), IT can more confidently map out their SASE architecture and deploy more remote users at scale.

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Filed Under: industry insights

Tags: hybrid office, hybrid work, remote work, work from anywhere, work from home, hype cycle, gartner, ztna, wan, sdwan, swg, casb, zero trust, remote access, cloud, network management, network performance monitoring, networking, edge, network, security, SASE

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