What’s Driving the SASE Boom?

Editor’s Note: The SASE boom is representative of a larger trend touching all industries from healthcare to finance. A SASE framework allows businesses to integrate their cloud-systems and cybersecurity solutions to deliver a protected, unified connectivity experience that’s available anywhere and anytime. At a time when businesses crave a more streamlined digital experiences that still keep their networks safe, SASE and other cloud solutions can help businesses stay securely competitive in an ever-evolving landscape.

Read more: Windstream Enterprise’s quick guide to SASE  

Summary:  Today, businesses want to offer streamlined digital experiences while still keeping their networks safe. SASE can help them stay both secure and competitive.

You’ve heard about cloud, multi-cloud, hybrid cloud and cybersecurity. But what about the combination of all of them? The cloud has produced an explosion of applications and software. Applications require networks to carry all the traffic. That requires better security placed in more strategic places. 

These are the trends driving the emerging secure access service edge (SASE) market. SASE has evolved from the concept and successful market implementation of software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN), which built a software bridge between enterprise branches and cloud, providing cloud-based management and security. 

SASE is a concept initiated by the influential technology firm Gartner Inc. in 2019 as part of their “hype cycle.” And indeed, SASE is hitting the sweet spot of the hype cycle. What it really stands for is a better way to deliver cybersecurity technologies using a convergence of cloud software and networking tools. 

What's being integrated into the SASE market? The list of acronyms is vast. You can start with next generation firewalls (NGFWs), secure web gateways (SWGs), cloud access security brokers (CASBs), and zero-trust network access (ZTNA), then go from there. Any security function that could benefit from network or cloud integration can become part of a SASE portfolio. 

Nearly every networking, security, and SD-WAN vendor has jumped on board the bandwagon. Some of the larger companies pursuing SASE include Cisco, Check Point Software, Cloudflare, Juniper Networks and Palo Alto Networks. But a host of private companies and startups are also in the game. 

Some startups in this area have raised hundreds of millions of dollars in financing. Some examples include Cato Networks’ $200-million-dollar round in October, giving it a valuation of $2.5 billion, and Netskope’s $300-million round, giving it an eye-popping $7.5 billion valuation. 

This land grab provides fertile ground for M&A and initial public offerings (IPOs) going forward. We expect to see a lot of the private companies get bought or look to raise more money through public offerings in a robust IPO market. 

Some SASE market drivers 

In Futuriom’s second annual Cloud Secure Edge and SASE report, we uncovered the trends driving the convergence between cloud networking and security services. 

Here are some of the things we found after looking at survey results, interviewing dozens of end users, and talking to key vendors in the market:  

  • The SASE market is gaining momentum. The secure access service edge (SASE) market represents an important convergence of networking, cloud and applications security functions. 
  • Integration and consolidation of security functions on the SASE platform will remain a strong trend. End users we have surveyed and interviewed are asking for better integration of cloud and network security tools to adapt to end-user mobility, increased cloud applications access and diverse security threats. 
  • End users and technology vendors have aligned interests to drive SASE. Core end-user needs, such as the integration of security tools and cloud networking elements, align with technology vendor efforts to consolidate and drive more value across integrated cybersecurity product portfolios. 
  • SASE architectures address the need for more flexible security architectures in the cloud-based world. Although different vendors are approaching this with a wide variety of architectures and solutions, nearly all of them are moving to flexible, services-based platforms that can be delivered to edge devices or delivered via the cloud, or both. 
  • Strong M&A market expected to continue. With many large acquisitions taking place in SASE areas such as CASB and ZTNA, expect this trend to continue as larger players roll up best-of-breed security functions into their SASE portfolios.  
  • SASE is a huge addressable market. With the opportunity to provide integration of many security functions, provide more secure cloud and remote access, and replace traditional virtual private networks (VPNs), the addressable market is tens of billions of dollars. SASE also has the potential to address and integrate dozens of other cybersecurity markets.  

Cloud architectures change the game 

Why all the interest? The mass adoption of cloud is driving much of the interest in SASE, which has grown as an attempt to address the concerns of how you manage and secure the amount of cloud applications traffic that is growing fast and providing increased attack surfaces. 

The network “edge” is becoming a place where the enterprise meets the cloud. Enterprise IT architectural decisions no longer revolve around computing and storage resources residing in fixed, on-premises datacenters. By offering a more flexible platform for managing and delivering security applications, SASE can place cybersecurity functions in several places at once, delivered to edge devices or delivered via the cloud, or both. 

In speaking to a chief information security officer (CISO) at a major webscale company recently (he asked to remain anonymous), we learned that the major challenge today is integration of security, not the lack of functions available. In the CISO’s words, he’d rather have a dozen B+ cybersecurity tools that are well integrated rather than a handful of A+ tools that aren’t. 
The bottom line is that SASE is the right wave of technology for the right time. This basket of technologies will be used to integrate solutions to attack multiple security challenges at once. That approach is appealing to organizations looking to build a unified security strategy. 

The bottom line is that SASE is the right wave of technology for the right time. This basket of technologies will be used to integrate solutions to attack multiple security challenges at once. That approach is appealing to organizations looking to build a unified security strategy. 

This article was written by R. Scott Raynovich from Forbes and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@industrydive.com.

Learn how Windstream Enterprise can help you build a network to mitigate and prevent cyberthreats

Key Takeaway: For organizations looking to build a unified security strategy, SASE is the right choice to deal with multiple security challenges at once—and enable a prosperous future in the cloud. 

About the Author

Forbes Media is a global media, branding and technology company, with a focus on news and information about business, investing, technology, entrepreneurship, leadership and affluent lifestyles. The company publishes Forbes, Forbes Asia, and Forbes Europe magazines as well asForbes.com. The Forbes brand today reaches more than 94 million people worldwide with its business message each month through its magazines and 37 licensed local editions around the globe,Forbes.com, TV, conferences, research, social and mobile platforms.

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