With the exodus from the office to “working from anywhere” and migrating on-premise, mission-critical business applications to the cloud and “centres of data”, the enterprises’ traditional networking and perimeter-based security infrastructure has been increasingly insufficient to support this new digital shift. Just this year, APAC experienced a petrifying upsurge of 168 percent increase in cyberattacks. Accompanied by an expensive price tag, malicious attacks have costed Singapore organisations a loss of around S$58 million in 2018 and costed the Thai economy 2.2% of the country’s total GDP. How can organisations avoid history from repeating itself, while advancing in a digital-first era?
Two years ago, Gartner first coined the term “SASE” in its “The Future of Network Security in the Cloud” seminal report. While there has been misapprehension that SASE is a new technology, it is not. SASE is “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 ensuring that the IT infrastructure is secure and modern, SASE has gained in popularity worldwide. 40 percent of digital-first enterprises are looking towards implementing SASE as part of their IT infrastructure by 2024, an increase from less than one percent in 2018.
Looming enterprise-specific challenges
The goal to seamlessly adopt and effortlessly integrate SASE in an enterprise’s IT infrastructure is no-easy feat. IT teams may not be fully prepared for the revitalising changes, facing two major roadblocks during the digital transformation journey – A cultural challenge and architectural challenges.
Firstly, Network Operations (NetOps) and Security Operations (SecOps) teams are still operating in silos for many organisations. The isolated technical operations create limited collaboration across these two key teams. As cross-collaboration remains crucial for a successful SASE framework implementation, the lack of alliance and participation from either team hinder this possibility.
Next, SASE is still in its nascent stages, where there is prevalent disparity in vendors’ offerings. For instance, legacy hardware vendors with backgrounds in either field may not necessarily be the best SASE vendor choice, as they may lack expertise in the other field. A true cloud-native mindset is crucial in a SASE-enabled architecture to ensure optimal integration capabilities.
Only by addressing the two challenges, enterprises are able to enjoy the full advantages of a SASE framework – an improvement in business productivity and customer satisfaction, increase in IT efficiency and overall reduction of WAN and security costs, coupled with consistent security policy enforcement across the enterprise, among others.
Unlocking the best-of-breed with multiple vendors
Aside from tackling enterprise-specific challenges, enterprises ought to aspire for a multi-vendor strategy. 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. Only with a multi-vendor partnering strategy, enterprises are able to unlock the freedom of choice, to evaluate and integrate cloud-delivered security services, while ensuring continuity in their current vendor partnerships. Enterprises can also avoid committing to proprietary solutions from a single-vendor or settle for ineffectual features and functionality.
In similar sentiments when fortifying IT infrastructure, 71 percent 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. As APAC’s digitalised spending is expected to reach US$1.2 trillion by 2022, organisations need to be stead-fast in addressing enterprise-specific challenges and prioritise digitalisation efforts with a multi-vendor approach. With a “best-of-breed” SASE integration that encompasses both a modernised networking infrastructure and enhanced security capabilities, enterprises can future-proof their IT infrastructure, mitigate cyberthreats and advance in a digital-first, hybrid-normal era.