“Even if another global crisis causes a scattering of users and devices trying to connect to a single network from multiple places and different times, businesses that SASE supports will have no need to worry. I’d say it really is defining the future of network security,” says Michael Wood, CMO, Versa Networks, in an exclusive interview with ITSecurityWire.
ITSW Bureau: What do you think about the present network security architectures? Are they adequate to serve the requirements of digital businesses?
Michael Wood: In the past year, we’ve seen organizations having to dramatically shift the way they operate, with many implementing digital transformation initiatives and solutions sooner and quicker than anticipated to support both the rise in remote workers and the need to connect and secure networks from multiple locations.
There is a real need for networking capabilities that provide agility, flexibility, quality, and security and do so in a seamless and cost-effective manner.
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Unfortunately, many of the current network and security architectures organizations have in place are failing to effectively serve the requirements needed for digital businesses. This is where the real shift in the market as organizations shouldn’t compromise on any of these elements.
ITSW Bureau: What are your thoughts on the integrated cloud and network security approach?
Michael Wood: Despite a recent high volume of reporting on an acceleration of cloud adoption, even before the pandemic, more and more organizations were already shifting towards, so a demand for an integrated cloud and network security approach for a while.
With an approach promising a streamlined and integrated network, it’s easy to think that security capabilities won’t be a focus or will be missed altogether. And with some solutions or approaches out there, that’s certainly the case. However, from my perspective, a system that really thinks about all three elements – cloud, networking, and security – as equally important is the future. And the solution bringing that to the fore and already proving to be a game-changer for the network is SASE (Secure Access Service Edge).
ITSW Bureau: How can enterprises successfully integrate the SASE approach to strengthen their network security?
Michael Wood: This depends on who provides the enterprise with the SASE solution; however, one of the main benefits of a SASE approach is integrating existing technologies into one fully functioning capability. SASE is effectively the integration of software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) and security solutions such as Zero Trust, Secure Web Gateway, and firewall-as-a-service (FWaaS) into a single service delivered entirely through the cloud. So, from a functionality perspective, there is nothing new here, rather, SASE is a term used to capture a collection of existing services being integrated as a standard set of features and functions for the first time.
Nevertheless, this integration drastically simplifies the IT infrastructure and allows businesses to have a network that has more accessibility, interoperability, and flexibility than a series of separate services would.
This is particularly useful for the current situation because it means businesses can support a hybrid workforce where employees can work anytime, anywhere (in the office or remote) and still connect to a network that is functional and provides security without compromising on quality.
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By following a SASE approach, organizations will benefit from increased security by being able to deliver consistent security policies across all branches, remote offices, and individual users, ultimately eliminating security gaps and vulnerabilities that are usually introduced when connecting multiple security solutions. Furthermore, the ability to deploy through the cloud permits an organization to experience a massive boost in flexibility, making it much easier to apply security services wherever they are needed.
ITSW Bureau: What trends do you think will transform network security in the foreseeable future?
Michael Wood: Nowadays, when it comes to network security, organizations are looking for a solution that allows them to ‘collaborate-from-anywhere.’ As a result, since Gartner coined the name a couple of years ago, as a technology, SASE has become a must-have for organizations dealing with networking and security challenges such as a displaced and hybrid workforce, as well as the need to be connected and contactable all of the time. The analyst firm even predicts that at least 40 percent of enterprises will have strategies for adopting SASE by 2024 – up from just one percent at the end of 2018. There is no question that SASE is the fastest-growing category in networking and security today.
As I said at the start, current network and network security architectures fail to effectively serve the requirements needed for digital business, including optimal security. SASE isn’t the only approach out there, but it is one that provides the requirements needed by businesses operating both digitally and physically across a wide range of locations and is a valuable tool to have at their disposal. Even if another global crisis causes a scattering of users and devices trying to connect to a single network from multiple places and different times, businesses that SASE supports will have no need to worry. I’d say it really is defining the future of network security.
Michael leads the Versa marketing organization and drives brand awareness, messaging, positioning, product marketing, demand generation, analyst engagements, press relations and corporate communications. He is an industry veteran with 30 years of experience in marketing, product and engineering at companies such as StrataCom, Cisco, Akamai, VeloCloud, VMware and Apstra. Michael holds a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Technology (Computer Electronics) from San Jose State University.