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Is SASE the Next Big Thing in SD-WAN?
Highlighted in Gartner’s 2019 Hype Cycle, secure access service edge (SASE) is the next wave of software-defined wide-area networks (SD-WAN), which converges the WAN edge and network security into a cloud-based, as-a-service delivery model. SD-WANs have already paved the way toward network convergence, but SASE takes it a step further by combining elements of SD-WAN and network security into a single cloud-based service. SASE supports all types of edges, including WAN, mobile, cloud, and edge computing, and instead of stringing together multiple products, SASE uses a single-pass, cloud-based architecture to process traffic faster.
While existing networking models aren’t going away just yet, SASE adoption is expected to rise over the next five to 10 years to address the security demands of next-generation networks. SASE is fundamentally different from legacy networking and the first wave of SD-WANs. Integrating networking and security adds network complexity, and many managed network services today involve integrated bundles of point solutions, which can give any network manager a headache. These point solutions are expensive and difficult to maintain, upgrade, and patch, with security being fragmented across multiple domains.
SASE dictates that networking and security are integrated together, which can simplify operations as it obviates the need for an overlay network. Also, by definition, SASE is cloud delivered, enabling businesses to quickly deploy any security or network service anywhere it needs to. This includes branch offices but also mobile workers, the cloud, edge computing locations, and IoT endpoints.
For providers that run virtual machines in the cloud, they often struggle with scaling and separately managing specific virtual network functions and services. Meanwhile, security providers that offer various security capabilities in the cloud still lack important SASE functions, such as controlling network flows and natively supporting the WAN edge.
Cato Networks Steps In
In an attempt to fill this gap, SASE platform provider Cato Networks has launched a program that establishes a path for MSPs to help customers migrate to SASE. The Cato Partner Program supplies MSPs with Cato’s portfolio of networking and security services and doesn’t require capital investment. Through this program, MSPs can resell Cato's SASE platform, reducing or eliminating the need for their own infrastructure to run multiple security and network point solutions. The program provides free on-demand, online training, and certification to eliminate complexity for MSPs.
The program guarantees deal registration and protection, and it doesn’t require partners to get vendor approval for every discount they offer, so they can make deals independently. Deal registration is a feature Cato introduced when it launched a self-service partner portal earlier this year. Cato also recently redesigned the partner portal as part of its program to ease the transition from “registration to graduation” for those onboarding to become a Cato certified partner. Partners can sign in to the portal directly for deal registration and pipeline management. Using the portal’s “pipeline” feature, partners can also track how many deals they’ve made where they are in the sales process and the potential revenue of the deals.
Cato’s program should also entice enterprise buyers as well since there will be a number of MSPs to work with. Many organizations that are interested in SASE won’t know how to migrate from where they are today to a SASE architecture – MSPs can make SASE deployments easier. Historically, some businesses shied away from managed services as they didn’t want to cede control of the network, but most MSPs now offer co-managed services that blend “do it yourself” with traditional managed services. The rise in MSP activity is always a good indicator that mainstream enterprises are ready to adopt a technology.
Making IT Simple
The SD-WAN market has been hot, but the complexity of integrating and managing disparate networking and security technology has made it challenging for non-early adopters to migrate. SASE brings together networking and security and delivers via the cloud, simplifying the architecture and making it scale quickly. Managed services appeal to businesses that want to focus on running the business and accelerate their journey to SASE. With partner programs like Cato’s, MSPs can also expand their portfolio and jump on the WAN transformation bandwagon.