Businesses are confused about SASE -- but want to adopt it anyway

SASE Secure Access Service Edge

The adoption of Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) has increased during the pandemic, with 34 percent of businesses claiming to have adopted SASE in the past year, and an additional 30 percent planning to do so in the next six to 12 months.

But despite this rapid uptake the majority (69 percent) of IT and security professionals surveyed by Versa Networks remain confused about what SASE actually is.

The study conducted by Sapio Research across 500 security and IT decision makers working at mid to large enterprises in the US, UK, France, and Germany, reveals that 84 percent of businesses have accelerated their digital transformation and move to the cloud during the pandemic, and 44 percent of businesses think their employees will continue to work remotely, either fully or part-time, once pandemic restrictions are lifted.

IT and Security teams have struggled to deal with multiple complaints from users. More than a third (36 percent) of respondents' end users complained of dropped connections when using bandwidth-hungry applications such as videoconferencing, and others suffered from the lack of real-time tech support (31 percent). Security issues have been widespread too, including an inability to enforce security policies across the remote workforce (37 percent).

To tackle these issues 87 percent are re-evaluating their remote connectivity policy over the past year. SASE has overtaken VPNs as the connectivity tech of preference, with 23 percent implementing VPNs compared to 34 percent choosing SASE.

Yet, despite its popularity, SASE remains misunderstood by the majority of IT and security professionals. Just 31 percent of respondents were able to correctly identify the definition of SASE as 'the convergence of networking and security services like CASB, FWaaS and Zero Trust into a single cloud-native service model'. Despite this confusion, the top reason for adopting SASE is seen as improving the security of devices and applications used by remote users, according to 43 percent of the survey respondents. This is closely followed by 31 percent stating their desire to prioritize the performance and delivery of business-critical applications in the cloud, and the need to support more remote workers (31 percent).

"The survey paints a clear picture of the burden of pressures and challenges that IT and Security teams have been struggling with during the pandemic," says Michael Wood, CMO of Versa Networks. "While the survey shows that there is still some work to do in educating IT and security professionals about the true meaning of SASE, the imperative to address both remote security and connectivity issues has led companies away from the old VPN technologies that were riddled with security holes towards SASE, which gives them a compass for the future. While SASE has served them well during lockdown, it will also prove a major asset as they contemplate the move back to the office and towards hybrid working."

You can get the full report from the Versa site.

Image credit: Momius/

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