Industry Insights with Geetha Nandikotkur

Security Leaders Discuss Future of SASE

Experts: SASE's Agility, Flexibility, Visibility Help Secure the Hybrid Workforce
Security Leaders Discuss Future of SASE

A panel of experts at PaloAlto's SASE Day say business agility, the single console of security control and visibility, the exponential cost of securing every endpoint, and the single technology architecture that helps expand and scale the business are the drivers for SASE adoption.

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The panel included Singapore-based Vignesa Moorthy, CEO, ViewQwest; Australia-based Dr. Tim Nedyalkov, TISO, Commonwealth Bank of Australia; and India-based Renald Abel, head of the System Technology Group at Hexaware Technologies, and was moderated by Siddharth Deshpande, field CTO-JAPAC, Palo Alto Networks. The participants discussed the past, present and future of SASE at SASE Day 2022, hosted by Information Security Media Group in collaboration with Palo Alto Networks.

Critical Concerns

The security leaders said that during the COVID-19 pandemic, when their offices extended to their individual homes, it was a challenge to establish security across all endpoints and gain greater visibility into networks and access without disrupting the business.

Hexaware's Abel said, "When COVID-19 first started, we had to enable work from home securely. My perimeter moved from 10 to 15 offices to over 20,000 homes. We realized we had to scale up for the long run in a secure perimeter. That is when we started embarking on the SASE journey."

Nedyalkov said, "Hybrid work is here to stay. And how can we have control and visibility into our user access points and complete the critical infrastructure projects on time given the whole exercise of moving thousands of people to a remote workplace?"

Deshpande expressed the need to establish greater flexibility across different customers' locations and explore the possibility of a solution that could address the challenges.

ViewQwest's Moorthy said a solution that can help reduce the exponential cost of SD-WAN is needed, due to the explosion of bandwidth that the pandemic demanded to cater to the branch locations.

The practitioners highlighted the need to understand how the adoption of XDR relates to SASE and whether SASE can replace EDR/NDR-capable solutions.

One of the practitioners asked the panel if branch-to-branch traffic needed to traverse via cloud-delivered security or if that only applied to untrusted traffic that travels through the cloud security inspection.

The panel agreed that SASE is not just about security. Still, the ultimate goal is to integrate SD-WAN with security as a service to deliver the total expected benefits, aligned with Gartner's reference architecture natively.

SASE Benefits

Nedyalkov discussed how SASE enabled users to access critical applications remotely in a secure manner from a centralized universe. "We leveraged quite a few SASE-enabled solutions that provided us with capabilities which were impossible to get four or five years ago," he said.

Discussing how a SASE-enabled approach helped him mitigate all the challenges of remote work, Abel said, "We could hook all our users, including the customers holding three types of connections - those connected to internet, those connected by a side-to-side tunnel through SD-WAN, and others with VPN - through our MPLS architecture using a SASE model."

"The biggest benefit with the SASE approach is that we were able to get the application visibility across all functions and executives, and it became a tangible architecture," Moorthy said.

The panel agreed that the critical aspect of SASE is the flexible platform, which allows more than one way to deliver solutions. It easily accommodates the transformation journey in an organization.

The panel discussed whether SASE should be seen as a replacement for EDR/XDR. The Palo Alto experts said it should be seen as a complement, by extending Zero Trust into the areas that traditionally may not be observed by XDR, such as "work from home" and IoT devices.

SASE in the Future

The participants said they expect SASE vendors to offer it as a single-point solution through the cloud, driven by automation with less complexity.

Deshpande said that the SASE approach will allow users to incorporate all their existing investments - often made in a phased manner - to undergo the digital transformation.

Moorthy said the SASE approach needs to bring more standardization and enhance interoperability between various technology platforms for ease of use.

The practitioners were excited that SASE will bring in more automation, enabling orchestration that can be easily integrated with concepts such as Zero Trust.

Along with Gartner, some practitioners believe that moving to a SASE model could help cut operational costs over the long term and close security gaps, making it easier to secure assets in the cloud. Those factors are fueling the movement to SASE.

About the Author

Geetha Nandikotkur

Geetha Nandikotkur

Vice President - Conferences, Asia, Middle East and Africa, ISMG

Nandikotkur is an award-winning journalist with over 20 years of experience in newspapers, audiovisual media, magazines and research. She has an understanding of technology and business journalism and has moderated several roundtables and conferences, in addition to leading mentoring programs for the IT community. Prior to joining ISMG, Nandikotkur worked for 9.9 Media as a group editor for CIO & Leader, IT Next and CSO Forum.

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