The COVID-19 global health pandemic has changed the way we work – possibly for good.
In March, government imposed lockdowns saw IT teams having to implement remote working on an unprecedented scale. Six months on, and despite government exhortations that people should return to workplaces, the latest figures from the ONS reveal that in October, 24% of the UK workforce was still working exclusively from home.
What’s more, indications are that things are never quite going to go back to the way they were before coronavirus hit.
Indeed, research by the Institute of Directors (IoD) has found that in the future firms intend to adopt a mixed approach when it comes to where employees work. A recent IoD survey of almost 1,000 directors found that three-quarters anticipated more home-working was on the cards after the pandemic, and more than half had plans to reduce their long term use of workplaces.
Signs are that as bandwidth consumption continues to grow, more and more organisations will be investing in network infrastructure as workforce models continue to transform.
What is SASE?
As Gartner pointed out, in today’s modern cloud-centric digital enterprises, users, devices and the applications they require secure access to can be located anywhere.
However, legacy connectivity and security models were designed around traditional hub-and-spoke networks that were used to connect offices via private networks, and which routed traffic through centralised data centres and secure web gateways to prevent intruders from infiltrating the network.
So far, so good. But with an increase in remote users and software-as-a-service applications, data is now moving from the data centre to the cloud. Which means organisations have been forced to add a range of point solutions and services in an attempt to close gaps in their security perimeter. All of which adds up to a significant cost and management overhead.
Providing a new model for connecting people and things, SASE offers a simpler and more secure approach for enterprises that want to transform faster for a digital future.
Rather than focusing on the perimeter, SASE focuses instead on the identity of users and devices. It enables organisations to apply a policy-based security approach and push security and access services closer to users.
In other words, SASE delivers an agile approach that flattens the access stack into an easily managed fabric of connectivity that has security at its core.
Securing the SD-WAN and more
The SASE model consolidates numerous networking and security functions into a single integrated cloud service that enables enterprises to easily deliver seamless secure access to applications for users. No matter where they are, or what device they are using.
Which means that when you start thinking about your SD-WAN strategy, considering SASE should be part and parcel of your decision-making process.
As organisations rethink how to securely deliver the right data and applications to the right people and places, specialist networking and security vendors like Cisco are making it easier to pursue a step-by-step approach to implementing SASE.
Some of the ways Cisco achieves this include:
- Connecting SD-WAN with cloud security from Cisco Umbrella, so you centrally manage and deliver protection to users anywhere they access the internet and cloud apps.
- Using Cisco’s Zero Trust Security solution to secure all access across your applications and environment, from any user, device, and location. Giving you a model that allows you to detect, mitigate and respond to risks across your environment.
Thriving and surviving in an era of rapid change
Cisco’s WAN Edge solutions deliver real value for businesses, especially during times of change and uncertainty.
The global health pandemic has highlighted how connectivity and digital services proved mission critical for maintaining operations and serving customers during the crisis. But as organisations migrate more and more of their applications to the cloud, they will need to ensure this transition is underpinned by an effective SASE architecture that delivers consistent, secure and cost-effective enterprise connections.
Fortunately, Cisco offers an end-to-end solution that incorporates:
- the SD-WAN network itself, featuring integrated security, analytics, and assurance;
- Cisco Umbrella – a cloud delivered secure web gateway that features DNS security, firewall and CASB functionality that makes it easy to secure internet access and control cloud app usage across your network, branch offices and remote users;
- Zero Trust Network Access – a solution that makes it easy to orchestrate remote access and gain full visibility into every device accessing the network and enforce adaptive policies to secure every application.
As you can probably tell, we’re great fans of Cisco’s approach.
As well as simplifying network management and making it easy to scale services, locations, or users at the touch of a button, Cisco’s integrated solutions also make it easy to optimise application performance, while keeping networking costs low – even when traffic keeps growing in an upward trajectory.