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Managed SASE: A holistic approach to securing and optimising networks

October 16, 2023

Rajarshi Purkayastha   

Head, Pre-Sales, Americas, Tata Communications

The global market for security access service edge (SASE)1 is projected to be worth almost $15 billion by 2025, registering a CAGR of 36% since 2021. This is not only indicative of the growing popularity of SASE but also the faith of forward-thinking organisations in its potential.  In this article, Rajarshi Purkayastha, Head of Pre-Sales, Americas at Tata Communications, explores how enterprises can get the most out of their SASE journey.

Notable benefits of SASE include technological convergence, scalability, improved IT efficiency, risk reduction, and enhanced remote access security.

However, reaping the benefits of SASE hinges on its strategic adoption by enterprises. The best practices of SASE adoption include establishing long-term goals, preparing for multi-cloud connectivity, focusing on secure branch networking, modernising applications, and tracking progress consistently. In short, SASE implementation calls for a strategical shift.

The good news is organisations can still implement its foundational elements swiftly and enhance them progressively. The essence of SASE lies in transformative change, and hence, it is not just revolutionary, but is evolutionary, as discussed in my previous blog.

Key challenges faced by organizations in their SASE implementation journey.

Carrying out SASE implementation relies heavily on how your IT and security teams are coordinated and your willingness or capacity to influence change alongside keeping up with the right harmony between your current and future network and security framework. There could be multiple challenges during the journey, some of the key ones are as below –

  • Change management: Implementing a SASE solution involves right migration and necessary changes to the existing infrastructure. This also involves working cross teams to ensure right benefit is achieved.
  • Compliance challenges: SASE implementation needs to ensure reliable network connectivity and maintaining compliance with data privacy regulations. This also needs the right knowledge and understanding while working on cross geography.
  • Right consultation and support: Organizations face challenges with identifying the right transformation approach, right platform or even enabling existing teams to tackle ongoing issues during their SASE journey.

MSPs are the crucial partners in the SASE implementation journey.

While enterprises gradually explore the SASE framework and adopt, the enterprise I&O leadership must realise that managed SASE services are based on the convergence of managed security services, managed network services, and managed WAN services. For overseeing a unified SASE solution, these services should be provisioned by managing on-site assets and cloud-based services from a managed SASE service provider.

Given the evolution of SASE and the critical role of MSPs in its implementation and management, the ownership model has also seen a change.

“For effective SASE deployment, the decisions of enterprise leaders must be in perfect harmony.”

The CISOs and I&O Directors are the key decision makers and aim to improve security controls, achieve better agility and scalability, and build long-term resiliency. Enterprise Architects and CIOs are also important decision influencers as aligning tech investments with business objectives and charting a growth trajectory are their essential considerations. In such a scenario, MSPs assume greater responsibility of accommodating the needs of organisation stakeholders and delivering holistic, tailormade SASE solutions for optimal outcomes.

Critical capabilities of SASE MSPs
  • Assessing, planning, and setting up SD-WAN services
  • Setting up, modifying, relocating, and managing configurations
  • Proactive performance monitoring, alert management, and holistic issue resolution
  • Configuring policies, implementing rules, and managing the overall change
  • Continuous alert surveillance, managing incidents, and evaluating false positives
  • Rolling out soft clients and ZTNA agents


Multifaceted benefits of partnering with the right MSP in your SASE journey

SASE offers a range of benefits to organisations seeking a comprehensive and streamlined approach to network security and connectivity. Here are six key advantages of collaborating with a managed service provider for your SASE deployment and optimisation:

  • Scalability, agility, flexibility: MSPs can enhance the scalability of SASE deployment for enterprises by offering flexible options for choosing security and networking vendors, streamlining the process, reducing risks, and providing expert IT and security professionals. Improved flexibility, agility, and adaptability help businesses efficiently expand their SASE infrastructure while ensuring robust security and optimal performance.
  • Managing compliance and continuous improvements: Network teams need to upgrade themselves to learn about the traffic flows to ensure they are in line with corporate regulatory and compliance and importantly privacy norms. MSPs can enhance compliance and productivity by implementing robust security measures leveraging their comprehensive MSSP portfolio, ensuring data protection, and offering seamless access to resources. They enable remote work while maintaining regulatory compliance, reducing downtime, and streamlining operations, ultimately boosting productivity across the organization throughout your SASE journey.
  • The Right Integration and experimenting: MSPs excel in seamless integrations, addressing enterprise integration challenges and control issues during transformations. They stay updated on technology, offering customisable solutions, optimising configurations, and enabling easy integration of SASE features. MSPs experiment to find purpose-specific solutions, working iteratively to identify the best SASE solution for businesses before going for wide scale deployment.
  • Observability and metrics analysis: End-to-end observability and timely measurements of critical KPIs are key to the success of SASE. Achieving comprehensive observability is crucial, but no single OEM tool offers a holistic infrastructure view. MSPs enable enterprises to have a real-time, comprehensive visibility of the infrastructure, resulting in improved and faster decision-making and enhanced productivity.
  • Improved Operational Performance: Tailoring site architecture to personas improves network performance. SASE optimises performance, productivity, and security in a Wi-Fi 6/P5G ecosystem. MSPs can provide SASE services for end-to-end session security across diverse infrastructure, ensuring enterprise data protection and improved operational efficiency.
  • Managing Underlay and overlay: For enterprises, a superior overlay relies on a strong underlay. When developing the SD-WAN and SASE approach, it is essential to prioritise underlay quality to ensure a successful internet-and-cloud-first journey. This is where choosing the right MSP partner excels in managing both the underlay and overlay networks. The MSP can enhance network performance by bolstering the underlying infrastructure and integrating management of both underlay and overlay through a single managed service platform.

Ultimately, working with the right MSP helps in simplifying setup and management, offer specialised expertise, ensure cost savings, and provide flexible financial models. They ensure correct and up-to-date system configuration, address the challenge of finding skilled IT staff, and provide a seamless experience by integrating and tuning various technologies.

“A global provider can understand your scale, regulatory obligations, optimization, and holistic blueprint for the overall infrastructure, thus proposing the right implementation approach.”

With limitless potential, managed SASE service providers are poised to unlock value at scale and prove to be the mainstays of secured operations.

Looking forward

As we galvanise the future of technology-enabled work, SASE will be an essential component for future-thinking organisations. However, the path to implementation is fraught with challenges. In a recent survey conducted by Ecosystm2, almost 69% of the respondents noted that they expect their organisations to be affected by data breaches. It is thus paramount to choose the right MSP and forge a clearly thought-out partnership to optimise SASE.

In our next blog, we will delve deeper into most pertinent challenges on the path of SASE implementation and talk about the best practices to address them.

To learn more about how Tata Communications is helping enterprises achieve secure network transformation with SASE, click here.