By Ed Fox, CTO, MetTel
It’s no surprise, but the security threat landscape is rapidly becoming more sophisticated, as evidenced by the Colonial Pipeline, Kaseya and Solar Winds attacks earlier this year. Considering the pace of digital transformation in today’s business, a single cyberattack can bring a company’s operations to a standstill. In June, FBI director Christopher Wray commented that the cyber threat is increasing “almost exponentially” and the FBI was looking into more than 100 different ransomware variants, a three-fold increase from the previous year.
Adding to the growing threats is the sprawl of the corporate network which provides more attack vectors than ever. Thanks to the popularity of IoT, cloud and edge computing, the proliferation of connected devices — all of which can function as potential entry points into an organization’s network — it is increasingly difficult to secure. Add in the forced move to hybrid work environments and use of personal devices for corporate tasks and it’s no wonder IT teams are finding it increasingly difficult to keep company data protected and secure.
While this all paints a dismal picture, the good news is that network security protections are also evolving to meet these challenges. In particular, Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), an emerging, strategic approach defined by Gartner, is becoming an effective way to target the shifting enterprise network perimeter by merging network and security services in one.
Under older network solutions, data from IoT and edge applications must travel long distances to corporate data centers so security functions can be performed. SASE removes this latency by delivering SD-WAN and security as a cloud service at the place of connection (e.g., IoT device, edge computing center) so the secure data can travel to where it needs to be faster. This approach provides a ubiquitous security posture whether users are remote, in a branch or at headquarters.
By building on existing security defenses, SASE can reduce WAN deployment complexity, improve security and efficiency, and offer IT greater visibility and control over security configurations — as well as assist customers with their zero trust information security efforts. In order to meet today’s flexible environment, SASE enforces security policies regardless of user location, and when new threats emerge, they can easily be addressed by the service provider, without requiring new hardware.
Gartner projects that by 2024 at least 40 percent of all enterprises will have explicit strategies to adopt SASE. Are you thinking of taking the plunge into SASE? Consider the following:
- Look for a partner with deep expertise in network technology, security or ideally both. SASE converges managed network and security services into a single simplified offering, so having a partner that is already a recognized leader in these areas and understands how to balance performance and protection will be key. MetTel, with managed network services, and VMware, with WAN infrastructure technology, make perfect SASE partners. Both were separately recognized as Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ leaders. MetTel was recognized in the 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Managed Network Services and VMware was recognized in the 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for WAN Edge Infrastructure.
- Consider their cloud networking footprint and partner ecosystem. Since SASE is delivered as close as possible to the edge, a provider with a large number of cloud delivery centers and complementary partner ecosystem can play an essential role in delivering accessible and scalable service to meet growing demand.
- Don’t get suckered into the SASE hype. SASE certainly provides a wide range of benefits, but like other growing technologies, many offerings are not complete and cannot yet deliver on all expectations overnight. Seek a trusted advisor who can help guide you to the right solution and most importantly, help you take the steps to anticipate and support your future needs.
Thankfully, you won’t need to rip and replace your existing SD-WAN network to start seeing the benefits of SASE, as these security features are being closely integrated into the network. As the next evolution of network security, SASE can help simplify your security needs, no matter where you are along your digital transformation journey.