Regardless of its potential, secure access service edge (SASE) introduces a variety of challenges to enterprises seeking to adopt its technologies in a hybrid cloud.
Consequently, enterprises need to choose vendors and solutions aligned with their goals to enable the most frictionless adoption of SASE. Most important, enterprises must understand some of the most prevalent SASE challenges today to effectively address them.
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Collaboration Between Security and Networking Personnel
Implementing SASE may need technology teams to be reorganized and in some cases combined. Enterprise networking and security teams that may predominantly work independently would need to be combined, especially in hybrid cloud environments where it is possible to have different security personnel manning cloud infrastructure and others managing on-premises infrastructure.
Failure to take down the siloed nature of these teams may lead an enterprise to hire multiple vendors for security and networking purposes, leading to increased costs to streamline internal organizational issues. It may also mean deployment will involve at least a pair of products — at least one for networking and at least one for security.
Additionally, a stand-alone SASE implementation may be unable to exhaustively satisfy the needs of an enterprise. At branch locations, there may be a need for on-site network and security systems to separate IT and OT (operational technology). In such instances, it is key for enterprises to consider a hybrid setup to balance security and networking between cloud and on-premises environments.
Organizations also need to ensure network and security teams are not just combined but also work together efficiently and healthily to overcome such costly organizational interaction barriers to SASE. However, in instances where teams remain siloed but are in agreement to manage a common infrastructure, SASE deployment can combine on-premises services into one product.
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Ensuring that the entirety of network and security tools are capable of being managed and sharing information through a single interface is difficult for enterprises, regardless of size. Smaller enterprises may have more constrained resources compared to larger ones, thus ending up implementing components of SASE.
As much as it is possible, it is quite costly in terms of people, skills, and time required to implement SASE without a single pane of glass. It also makes it simpler for issues caused by visibility problems from manually managing non-compatible systems to surface.
To minimize these integration challenges, enterprises should make the correct considerations before selecting the best SASE implementations for their use cases. They should understand their requirements beforehand. This includes factoring in their cost constraints, current tech stack, cloud architectures, or whether they have Internet of Things (IoT) or operational technology devices to protect.
Enterprises should also understand their growth prospects and have clear expansion plans. Then, they can identify the SASE providers that align with them and can offer them the correct integrations minus exceedingly complex service-level agreements (SLAs) and configurations.
More Time Before Market Consolidation
Vendors may portray SASE as more straightforward than it actually is. The SASE landscape will require a handful of years before it can truly define the true architecture of SASE and shed bottom tier vendors from the SASE market.
As enterprises continue to evaluate SASE architectures, they should be aware of the likelihood of the SASE products of today failing to be optimal for the future. Regardless of its relative lack of maturity, enterprises should also keep in mind that SASE is evolving rapidly and so are the integrated offerings of vendors.
Enterprises should exercise deployment flexibility to ensure they are capable of evolving with SASE products. They ought to identify a reasonably short return on investment (ROI) period to enjoy the cost benefits promised by SASE. If the ROI period is not in line with the goals of the enterprise, it may be wiser to wait and observe the evolution of the vendor landscape for better opportunities.
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The Tooling Landscape
Enterprises struggle to navigate the tooling ecosystem since SASE is a combination of methodologies and tools. With the ever-increasing options of vendors and the vastness of the tools and capabilities they provide, it becomes even more difficult for enterprises to navigate this landscape.
Enterprises have to analyze the suitability of the capabilities of these tools with their tech stacks. Failure to integrate with these tech stacks can yield tool sprawls, fragmented capabilities, silos, and fragmented enterprise IT architecture.
SASE requires a security architecture that is fully integrable and manageable akin to software-defined networks. However, many enterprises have heterogeneous, often stand-alone, security tools running across their data centers, networks, cloud instances, hardware endpoints, and more. This reality makes it more difficult to implement SASE, which demands a strict approach to policy management, threat protection, device management, and secure access.
To make the tooling landscape more manageable, enterprises should carry out thorough assessments of their network environments to determine the gaps in their ability to deliver their SASE goals. They should determine their present condition by examining their network and security configurations to enable them to select suitable SASE solutions, vendors, and tools. This involves an honest examination of whether an enterprise needs to acquire new tools or if it can leverage existing tools efficiently for implementing SASE.
Enterprises should also constantly carry out tool portfolio audits to evaluate the value, gaps, and costs of maintenance of each tool in their security portfolio and maintain a streamlined tech stack.
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Trust in SASE
Concerns about trust hinder the adoption of SASE in hybrid cloud environments by organizations. The expectation that enterprises should significantly trust SASE providers to satisfy their security and networking requirements results from the compelling goals and capabilities of SASE technologies.
As a result, organizations have to carry out due diligence to ensure they have credible SASE providers and partners. They have to make sure these partners have extensive market adoption and provide detailed service-level agreements to contribute to their trustworthiness as partners.