Rapid digital transformation has made organizations embrace advanced technologies to stay ahead and be more competitive. Evolving market dynamics, rising competition, changing consumer demands, and security concerns have encouraged them to go beyond traditional network architectures. Today, the on-premise network devices and applications are unable to match the requirements and demands of the companies. In order to be scalable, flexible, and secure, businesses are looking at adopting new tech solutions to achieve their organizational goals fast.
Modern businesses in order to be future-ready and support work from anywhere, require uninterrupted network access for their users, irrespective of locations. Software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) has so far enabled companies to cut costs, boost network performance and provide access to multi-cloud services and gain business benefits. It has helped them to increase bandwidth in a cost-effective way, centralise management across networks, provide full visibility, more connection options and in vendor selection when building a network. However, it was not designed to address the workloads and complexities that companies face today in their digital transformation initiatives especially the intense cloudification of applications in the new post pandemic normal.
Additionally, with increasing network-related threats and cyber-attacks, the need for a secure network system is at an all-time high. The organisations in their digital transformation have to be constantly up to date with their security systems to avert risks and this is the reason why a secured network is crucial. Primarily, SD-WAN wasn't developed to deal with security issues and such capabilities. Moreover, the SD-WAN vendors, to be able to offer security services, partner with security vendors, making it expensive for organisations who have to pay extra for extra services.
High volume data transfer, rise of remote users and demand for software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications have also heightened the need for network systems which are agile and secure. The one-size-fits-all approach is no longer viable to the current and future challenges and SD-WAN single-handedly cannot bring the entire transformation that businesses need today. It is thus essential to converge SD-WAN with other network and security services and connectivity.
SASE architecture and SD-WAN as its foundation
Today technological advancements and emerging trends are supporting companies to meet their modern-day requirements. SASE (Secure access service edge) is a network architecture that provides the benefits of SD-WAN and security platforms to provide secured networks. It combines SD-WAN, VPN to cloud-native security functions and creates a single global network. It has the capability to identify users, offer security and provide secure access to users at any location. It uses a cloud-native architecture to provide a holistic solution to support enterprises in their digital transformation.
As compared to SD-WAN’s software-based approach to connect and remotely manage offices, SASE is more cloud-focused and has a distributed architecture. It merges individual endpoints—branch offices, individuals or devices to the service edge. It has the capability to support users from anywhere which is greatly helpful in the post-pandemic era. It can support users from traditional offices or remote locations, enable easy WAN deployment and provide better efficiency. The employees, clients or vendors can get easy and immediate access to company networks without any risks in a secured ecosystem.
SASE allows implementation of advanced security systems to detect and respond to security threats, strengthen security levels for applications and cloud data. The organisations can greatly benefit from SASE as it helps them to reduce complexity and cut costs. It improves performance and offers better security. The companies will greatly benefit from SASE in improving IT operations and will be able to spend more time on bringing value to their businesses.
Making no compromise to security, SASE will enable companies to provide best and quality experience for cloud-hosted applications. Here, SD-WAN will play an important role in enabling this paradigm shift. Taking the benefits of SD-WAN to the next level, SASE will provide scalability, better management in a more secure manner. Moreover, it will help companies to prepare and respond to future disruption, minimize the impact and be more flexible to leverage the benefits of emerging technologies such as AI, IoT, and others.
By 2024, at least 40% of enterprises will have explicit strategies to adopt SASE, up from less than 1% at year-end 2018, as per report. The technology is still at a nascent stage but it looks promising and carries the potential of opening new ways for companies to support seamless business operations with better network security.
The article has been written by Pravir Dahiya , senior vice president – Network, Tata Teleservices