Recently the architecture model known as Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) has been gaining momentum. Not surprising, when the model provides benefits - including reduced complexity of management, improved network performance and resiliency, security policy implemented consistently across office and remote users and lower operational expense. In fact, according to a recent ESG survey, 70% of businesses are using or considering a SASE solution. But if SASE is supposed to simplify network and security management, then one may wonder, “what value does a managed services provider (MSP) offer?”
Why an MSP for SASE deployment?
There are great number of answers to that question, but a good place to start is to create an understanding that the journey to SASE is going to be a little different for every enterprise. There are a many approaches and models in the market and many vendors to choose from.
First of all, one major reason that businesses are utilizing an MSP for SASE is because it’s just difficult and expensive to hire and retain technicians with the specialized skillset they require, particularly if they require 24/7 monitoring. In fact, according to a recent study, 57% of organizations have been negatively impacted by the cybersecurity skills shortage. Sometimes it just makes more financial sense and can improve an organization’s risk posture to outsource this to a trusted third-party.
In addition, while many technology providers claim to offer a complete SASE portfolio, it is important to note that it is not an off-the-shelf solution and can include many different components. There has been a lot of consolidation in the market over the past several years, with vendors acquiring other companies to build a more well-rounded suite, which has resulted in multiple management platforms. Most vendors are working to consolidate these to offer management through a single pane of glass but few have achieved that quite yet.
And then finally, SASE is not a “one and done” or plug-and-play solution. The vast majority of businesses are not going to rip out and replace their entire infrastructure at one time. Rather, it will be a gradual roll out of capabilities as they come upon their refresh cycle or as budgets for new initiatives are approved. Most large or well-established companies will be on a hybrid environment for the foreseeable future, with assets hosted in both the data center as well as in the cloud.
Benefits of working with an MSP
Sometimes it is difficult to know where to start with a multi-faceted solution such as SASE, and that is why it is so important to have a trusted advisor you can count on. Here are some of the key benefits you can expect to realize when working with industry-leading managed service providers:
- Accelerated time to value and scale: A qualified MSP for SASE implementation will offer consulting services that can determine your organization’s readiness for SASE, identify the best solutions for your unique needs, and help chart a roadmap for rollouts. Should your business acquire other companies, add or reduce locations, or change workplace designations, it is often as simple as contacting your MSP, providing the required information, and signing a contract addendum.
- Security and networking expertise: Being that SASE is a convergence of software defined wide-area networking and security you will need someone that has knowledge and experience in both disciplines. MSPs can meet this requirement and have the ability to integrate these components to deliver resilient, high-performance connectivity and protection.
- Solution development experience: With so many vendors and solutions on the market, it may be difficult to know which offer the best mix of capabilities, protection, and performance. Conducting multiple proof of concepts (POCs) can be costly and time consuming. MSPs can remove this burden from your technology teams by evaluating offers, conducting comprehensive interoperability testing, technical validation, and solution certification to deliver the industry’s best technology elements that seamlessly work together.
- Solution integration acumen: As mentioned above, it is unlikely that your organization will replace every component of their networking and security at the same time, which means that you will have legacy infrastructure that still needs to be supported alongside the new technology components and they may even be from different vendors. Managed service providers have the ability to integrate and manage a vast ecosystem of technology providers and capabilities in order to secure your entire environment.
With the rapid adoption of cloud delivered applications and services, the heightened expectations of customers when it comes to digital experience, and the pressing need to support work from anywhere, it is less a question of whether your business will adopt SASE, but rather when. In fact, you may have already started without knowing it. Regardless of where you are on your journey, an MSP can help ensure you avoid unnecessary detours and that you reach your desired outcomes.