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The reasons behind SASE

The digital business is all about being ready for whatever’s next. Ready for developing new products, delivering them rapidly to the market, and responding effectively to sudden changes in business conditions. Historically, IT solved emerging business needs with point products. For example, adding SD-WAN boxes to offload capacity-constrained and expensive MPLS connections to Internet links, or adding firewalls in branches to enable secure direct Internet access. The result of this approach was technological silos, built upon point solutions that were loosely integrated and separately managed.

Ultimately, IT needs to provide consistent performance and strong security in a cost effective way, to all business resources worldwide. This is an architectural challenge – not a functional problem – that requires the elimination of IT silos and “point solution patches” to address new business requirements. The realisation that IT architecture must evolve is driving the Secure Access Service Edge (SASE).

SASE is a new category defined by Gartner analysts, Neil McDonald (security analyst) and Joe Skorupa (networking analyst). It delivers an architectural transformation of enterprise networking and security that enables IT to provide a converged, agile and adaptable service to the digital business.

The value of SASE

SASE creates a holistic platform that connects all edges to the networking and security capabilities an enterprise requires. This lowers the cost, complexity and risk of supporting the business in a dynamic environment. Here are some of the key benefits a SASE platform provides:

With SASE, IT can deliver optimised networking and strong security to all locations, applications and users, regardless of where they are. Provisioning of new resources and capabilities is fast and simple. All that’s needed is to deploy the right edge client, connect to the SASE platform, and corporate policies drive the network and security experience.

IT can leverage the convergence of network and security to manage all features and policies in a single interface, using a common terminology and gaining deep visibility into network and security events. Cross team collaboration improves the overall service delivery to the business that often involves a combination of availability, performance and security requirements.

With SASE, IT is relieved of the grunt work of maintaining on premises infrastructure. Physical topology, redundancy, scaling, sizing and upgrading is dramatically reduced. IT can now deliver better service to the enterprise, while focusing precious resources and skills on core business issues, rather than generic infrastructure maintenance.

The simplification of the network and security stack, together with the consolidation of multiple point products, enables both vendors and customers to reduce the overall cost of keeping the infrastructure running.

“Customer demands for simplicity, scalability, flexibility, low latency and pervasive security force convergence of the WAN edge and network security markets.” – Gartner

What is the best time to migrate to SASE?

Migrating to SASE is a long-term project that requires thorough planning, so the sooner you start the better. The ideal time for actual migration would be before digital transformation; still, even during and after transformation, SASE delivers great value. SASE improves IT’s ability to support business needs, delivering high throughput connectivity and easily managed and unified network security.

4 signs it’s time to start planning your SASE migration

Here are four key signs indicating that the time to start planning your SASE migration is now.

Your current network isn’t flexible enough to adapt to business changes and future initiatives, such as supporting new cloud workloads, addressing the growing mobile workforce, and fostering quick branch expansions.

You’re getting overwhelmed by the heavily fragmented security solutions, and find yourself having to install, manage and maintain more and more products in order to secure new and existing sites, applications, data and users.

Your employees are complaining about poor business application performance that affects their productivity. This is especially apparent with latency-sensitive applications, such as voice and video, and the situation only worsens for remote workers.

You don’t have full visibility into your network, making it hard to control and manage application performance and security. Imagine having to figure out which QoS configuration needs to be adjusted without being able to see the root cause of a voice quality problem.

There can be several other signs that indicate the need to start planning a SASE migration. In a nutshell, if your network can’t support business needs and growth plans, it’s a clear indicator to start your journey to SASE.

Finding the budget for SASE migration

Most SASE vendors support a gradual migration process, during which a SASE platform can co-exist with legacy networks and security products – until they’re fully retired. This ultimately means you can allocate already available budget for your SASE migration, rather than trying to find new budget resources.

“SASE adoption will be driven by network and network security equipment refresh cycles and associated MPLS offload projects. However, other use cases will drive earlier adoption.” – Gartner

3 compelling events that can fund your SASE migration

When considering both current and upcoming spend on your existing legacy network, you’ll realize that the budget for SASE already exists around projects like MPLS contract renewal, security appliance refresh and M&A integration.

Let’s take a closer look at these key events, representing budgeted projects that can effectively fund your SASE migration:

MPLS services are expensive, and even more so when bandwidth must be added. A SASE offering, which includes a global private backbone and natively integrated SD-WAN, can augment and ultimately replace MPLS altogether. SD-WAN aggregates multiple high capacity Internet links, providing a significant last-mile bandwidth increase over MPLS with built-in redundancy. Leveraging the private backbone for the middle-mile guarantees network performance and availability to any enterprise, regardless of size and geographical distribution.

IT is expected to continuously maintain a strong security posture across the enterprise. Today, most network security spend is related to purchasing security appliances, such as NGFW, UTM and IPS. As existing network security appliances reach their end-of-life, you can use their refresh budget for migrating your network security to SASE. Since SASE delivers all network security needs from a cloud service, you’ll no longer have to worry about appliance life-cycle management.

Business initiatives such as cloud migration, regulatory compliance and M&A integration all come with a budget. Take an M&A integration project for instance: The intended budget for aligning the different networks and security stacks into a single SASE platform, can be rerouted to your SASE migration. Don’t be concerned about the extent of the migration project. The right SASE vendor will facilitate your needs with a gradual plan, catered to your budget and based on the pace of your business transformation.

How to best plan your SASE journey

Enterprises too often underestimate the impact a network has on driving a business to be more efficient, competitive and secure. The business value SASE promises to deliver is so impactful that the market is bound to see a battle among SASE-wannabe vendors. This is why careful planning, including searching for the right vendor, is essential for a successful migration.

3 tips for a successful migration

We’ve simplified the challenges of planning a SASE migration into the following practical recommendations:

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