Earlier in the year, in this space I talked about SASE – Secure Access Service Edge – pronounced “sassy” as being one of the most relevant new Gartner definitions to explore and understand.
And I wasn’t dreaming this up… Yes, every time Gartner defines a new category – regardless of how contrived or otherwise It might be – the IT world stands to order and tends to form a not especially orderly queue. After all, a place in the far top right of the Holy Grail that is the magic quadrant is at stake! However, in this case there is a real depth to the definition, sufficiently so that by 2024, Gartner says 40% of companies will look to adopt SASE. That’s a LOT of sassy deployment… Even without the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic – and the surprising revelation that swallowing disinfectant doesn’t appear to be the solution – it’s clear that the embracing of cloud-based IT is changing the landscape in an irreversible fashion.
This applies equally to the CSPs as it does their customers – the end users. Even in an outsourced scenario, service providers managed a mirror image of the classic hub and spoke IT infrastructure – just on a larger scale. But that world has changed. Why? A number of factors are driving the change, from geo-diversity of the user base (accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic fallout) to the impact of DevOps and agile computing. That latter direction effectively ‘end of lived’ that rigid legacy infrastructure we have just identified; as to reasons why, there’s a clue in the word “agile”!
From a non-technical perspective, companies are having to extract more and more business benefit from their IT investment; businesses in any walk of life now are having to be far more responsive to market changes and therefore far more flexible than in the past and this reflects on their internal IT strategies. So, if the complexity of the IT infrastructure is effectively increasing exponentially and with no adherence to traditional 5-10-year plans, then the ability to control a multi-vendor infrastructure that depends on resources, skills, and budgets that themselves have to change and scale infinitely is not sustainable. And we live in a world obsessed with sustainability… If the aim – which it is – is to securely connect the business anytime, anywhere, and on any device, then a different approach is needed. The massive acceleration of the WFH (Work From Home) initiative that the pandemic has brought on, merely serves to reinforce this need for change. Complex to manage, fragmented, and physical appliance-centric infrastructures simply cannot accommodate this overnight reinvention of IT – it was not designed to support a work from anywhere, anytime and on any device user base.
As a result, SASE adoption really is taking off. One of the SASE market players I’ve mentioned, Cato Networks, has a number of useful papers on its website but, to see this change from a customer perspective, this eBook is probably as good as start as any:
Meantime – in the next blog I’ll look in more detail at the changes in that architectural landscape and why it is irreversible.