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Unlocking the business value of SASE

April 6, 2022

Ankush Badola   

Associate Director, APAC Solution Sales, Tata Communications

There is an increasing need for Software-defined Wide Area Network (SDWAN) original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to build out their security capabilities to address the growing demands for Secure Access Services Edge (SASE), the market convergence of SDWAN and security. In this blog, Ankush Badola, Associate Director, APAC Solution Sales, Tata Communications, discusses the value of SASE for business resilience. 

While some OEM’s look to develop these capabilities inhouse, the others are acquiring cloud security capabilities like Secure Web gateway, cloud access security broker (CASB) and Zero Trust.  The native security OEM’s are also developing/acquiring SDWAN capabilities to compete with the traditional OEM vendors.

Gartner estimates that in 2022, end-user spending on SASE will total $6.8 billion, up from $4.8 billion in 2021. In addition, by 2025, more than 50% of organisations will have explicit strategies to adopt SASE, up from less than 5% in 2020. There is significant momentum in investments/developments to create this leading-edge technology that promises to deliver the missing value for the business.

Unlocking the value of SASE:

Some of the key advantages of harnessing this technology to drive real business value are:

Simplify Cybersecurity: With ransomware attacks rapidly increasing, enterprises are doubling down on investments into multi-layered security solutions. While these offer excellent protection against threats, they need a more common view/ integrated approach to detect and report threats. Network managers are required to oversee many of these tools and subscribe to solutions such as Security information and event management (SIEM) to make integrated sense of all the alerts. This is costly and also greatly increases complexity when support for new age business routes such as bring-your-own-device (BYOD), remote workers, insider threats etc. come in. SASE compliant architecture simplifies this approach by combining network and security controls and centralises reporting. This allows business managers to centrally coordinate cyber security controls and reduce exposure to threats – internal or external.

Deliver Business Resiliency: Much has been said about the importance of business resiliency during the pandemic, supply chain issues and political crisis. A significant part of building this business resiliency comes from foundational element of digital resiliency (other parts of business resiliency include people, financial, and agile operations). This enables enterprises to recover faster from crisis and also spring forward into a new reality thereby creating a sustainable advantage. SASE compliant architecture delivers this digital resiliency to enterprises, allowing for quick setup/teardown of sites and offices, create rapid supplier/ partner connections and allow users to work from anywhere. All this is delivered without friction and complies with the organisation’s cybersecurity policies.

Unlock new top line possibilities: Enterprises are always aiming to deliver shareholder value by improving their topline. Boosting digital channels to replace or augment traditional sales channels, entering newer markets or embracing newer technological shifts such as Metaverse, are some of the ways to do this. Metaverse experiences are poised to impact us significantly in the coming years. From areas such as product interaction, client acquisition, client support and retention, the possibilities are limitless. But they also come with extreme demands from the digital infrastructure of the company. Delivering, securing, and maximising these experiences requires an underlying fabric that can scale up easily and extend seamlessly to public/private cloud as needed – all with security at its core. A properly designed and implemented SASE architecture can deliver this platform to unlock new top line possibilities.

Approach to effective adoption of SASE:

Some aspects of embarking on this transformation journey are as follows:

Define your objectives – This is an extremely critical step in bringing technology purposes and business goals together. An example of a business goal could be resiliency in supply chain and therefore to do those enterprises should look at what is needed on the technology side to deliver this resiliency.

“The business objectives set a clear lens through which technology can be evaluated and success can be quantified.”

Focus on the outcomes – It can be challenging to navigate through jargons while evaluating technology which might take away part of the focus from business objectives. Sometimes customers might find themselves being limited in their options to a particular brand due to the marketing around it. To avoid this pitfall, the business objectives become the guiding beacon.

Choose the right partner – A digital strategy requires multi-pronged approach to technology often extending beyond the immediate scope into things such as Thin Branch, Customer Experience, Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) etc. For example, the business goal might be to increase customer satisfaction scores by means of innovation in products or through possibilities of new technology.

“This business goal when broken down into technology goals would conceivably span technology such as Contact Center, network, omni-channel communications with security (SASE) at its core.”

And therefore, it is important to look for partners that have the depth and the footprint to supply and support the multi-pronged solution in all the geographic locations relevant for the customers. Some partners offer an integrated services view (through a common visibility portal) that can enable your teams with a single pane of glass visibility of their digital domain. Partners can also be shortlisted based on external validations such as presence in the Gartner Magic Quadrant (GMQ) and others. It is also helpful to work with partners that have previous experience of handling such deployments at a similar scale.

SASE architectures are expected to drive new frameworks for businesses to become more resilient, simplify cyber security and unlock new top line possibilities. Enterprises need a thoughtful and a meaningful strategy to unlock the value of SASE.

“A right partner who understands the business goals, has multi-tech expertise, the right footprint and the depth of adjacent services can enable enterprises to adopt and unlock the value of SASE.”

To learn more, please read this blog on the evolution of networks