2023: The year of SASE? Not So Fast Says SSE!!!
If you’ve not downloaded the first ever SSE Adoption report conducted by CyberSecurity Insiders, do! CyberSecurity Insiders, is a 500,000+ member online community for information security professionals, bringing together the best minds dedicated to advancing cybersecurity and protecting organizations across all industries, company sizes, and security roles. They are a comprehensive source for everything related to cybersecurity – connecting people, opportunities, and ideas.
After reviewing the report, there are several data points which stand out to me. The one which grabbed my attention most was this one.
67% of respondents are focused on adopting a Security Service Edge (SSE) platform vs WAN Edge services in the next 24 months. Additionally, SSE was ranked the most critical element in a zero trust strategy, surpassing areas like Identity, Endpoint, and SIEM. So what is driving this interesting shift to SSE?
Let’s first start with the change in the workforce. 2020 unlocked the power of the remote, or what we are now calling, the hybrid workforce. While many believed the response to the black swan event three years ago would cause a downturn in employee productivity, the reverse has been true. In May of 2022, Accenture did a survey. It correlated that 63% of high revenue companies use a hybrid work model. Why? It is more productive than the traditional office based approach. Additionally, hybrid work also results in high employee satisfaction as shown in a study by Ergotoron. It revealed that 88% of employees valued the flexibility associated with hybrid work. Lastly, the employment pool. In the past, most people, including myself, planned their possible job options around a 25 mile circle. Anything outside of that, was a hard pass. With remote and hybrid work, my circle is now national, if not international. This is a win for both the company and the worker!
Therefore the need to enable, as well as secure, the hybrid workforce, is driving the growing adoption of SSE as a platform. The business leaders are seeing this as a priority. How can they create and maintain a high revenue workforce, greatly reduce risk to the organization while also simplifying the delivery and overhead of IT tools? This is what SSE does and does well.
If you are not familiar with the Security Service Edge (SSE) concept, it provides the business a platform based on least privilege access and then extends a security fabric out to where the employee is accessing the network. In the past this was difficult to do. Often the network or security engineer was confronted with a dilemma. Do I prioritize access over security with access winning out most of the time. SSE changes the game. It solves the dilemma and enables the business to have both; speed of access to business critical applications along with security too. SSE also includes, as part of the platform, critical security services like data leakage protection and controls on SaaS services like Microsoft O365, Salesforce in the form of a CASB solution. Lastly, an integrated SSE platform will also pair down the number of security solutions a business will need to support. This is critical as we head into 2023 with uncertain economic headwinds rolling in and business leaders are searching their budgets for cost savings!
The last point I want to make is about WAN Edge Services. While this technology has been a high priority for the past 8 years due to SDWAN, the utility of this technology is now declining. With the rise of the hybrid workforce, the focus is no longer on the branch or campus office. Additionally, according to the WAN research firm Telegeography, 50% of companies have now adopted SDWAN. This means the early adopters and the early majority are already using SDWAN. SDWAN is now mainstream. The work has been done here for progressive, forward thinking companies. They are already moving on to adopt the benefits of the hybrid workforce and are looking to reap the rewards of an SSE enabled productivity and employee satisfaction!
Welcome to the year of SSE!
Interested in learning more? Download the full results of the 2023 SSE Adoption report!