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How Netskope is driving growth in APAC

Netskope is growing at over 50% year on year in the Asia-Pacific region, but the single-vendor SASE supplier is not limiting its customers to its own offerings

Staying true to its roots as a single-supplier secure access service edge (SASE) provider, Netskope will not make its acquisitions available to customers until they have been fully integrated into its platform, according to a regional company executive.

Over the years, Netskope, which started out as a supplier of cloud access security broker (CASB) services, has built up its SASE platform to include data loss prevention, next-generation secure web gateway, cloud firewall and zero-trust network access, among others, through organic development and acquisitions.

“We’ve only made a small number of acquisitions where we’ve acquired the technology and a set of very smart engineers,” said Tony Burnside, vice-president of Asia-Pacific at Netskope, adding that while the company will support its acquired customers, it has made a “conscious decision to not sell an acquired product that’s separate from our core products until it’s integrated into our management interface”.

Single-vendor SASE providers typically deliver a suite of security and networking services through a single platform without the need for customers to stitch together different services from multiple suppliers. This approach streamlines the number of contracts and tools for enterprises while providing a single user interface and a set of policies to ease deployment and management.

But even as Netskope takes a single-supplier approach towards SASE, it is not compelling its customers to use its own offerings. Burnside said the company remains conscious that customers that have already invested in SASE services from other suppliers would want to leverage their investments.

These customers typically want the best-of-breed SASE offerings, taking the view that no single supplier can excel in all the components of SASE, but Burnside noted that there is also a trend towards consolidation.

“We did some research a few years ago and we found that the average number of security products within enterprises was 76. That’s just not sustainable – you can’t find the staff, and complexity is the enemy of security.

“We’re seeing the desire to consolidate as much as they can to reduce the number of products, but I don’t see organisations wanting to depend on just one or two vendors for security either,” he said.

Netskope’s heritage in CASB is well-known to many, but today the company engages most customers with its next-generation security web gateway services along with CASB and zero-trust network access capabilities.

“There’s a huge trend that started a couple of years in Australia, where there’s a desire to get off on-premise boxes of legacy secure web gateway vendors. We’re seeing that trend a bit delayed in the rest of Asia but it’s starting to happen now,” Burnside said.

Thanks to rising cloud adoption, and in recent years, the uptick in remote and hybrid work, Netskope has been growing its business in the Asia-Pacific region by over 50% year over year. “When I started here more than seven years ago, there were just two of us. Now, I’ve got 140 people on my team, including 27 sales teams across the region,” Burnside said.

Burnside said financial institutions and governments in Australia and New Zealand, in particular, have been at the forefront of SASE adoption. “It’s refreshing to see Australian federal and state agencies moving to the cloud quicker than I would have thought. We’ve seen the same in Singapore with government agencies doing a very good job of moving to the cloud, but doing it securely.”

He credited Netskope’s penetration in government to the roll-out of “management planes” in Singapore and Australia, allowing government customers to configure and define policies for SASE services that run in “data planes” without having sensitive metadata and logs leave their respective jurisdictions.

In Netskope’s parlance, data planes are datacentres through which its customers’ traffic traverses. These points of presence (POPs) interconnect and peer with major hyperscalers like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and software-as-a-service providers like Salesforce to secure and speed up access to cloud services.

“When I joined Netskope, we had two POPs globally. We’re now just over 70, 21 of which are in Asia-Pacific with five in Australia and New Zealand alone. We’ve made huge investments especially in Asia-Pacific and we see a lot of growth coming out of Southeast Asia and North Asia in the coming years.”

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