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The state of cloud network security, SASE, and SD-WAN today

Hybrid workplaces are now a permanent fixture in the business world. For enterprises, they often come with a fragmented combination of public and private cloud networks, along with other cloud services. Securing user data remains one of the primary objectives of networking, regardless of the user’s location.

Enterprise-level organizations—as well as small and medium-sized businesses and supply chains—are under a variety of threats, from bad actors launching new threats to unskilled hackers purchasing Malware-as-a-Service products.

To mitigate cyber risk, OnX Canada keeps clients current with the next iteration of network security practices by offering cutting-edge secure cloud network solutions coupled with our team’s expertise.

OnX typically advises clients to invest in two emerging secure networking solutions: secure access service edge (SASE) and secure service edge (SSE). Each solution has distinct features, and those features often dictate which technology best suits a client’s particular needs. 

Secure and integrated cloud network technology

The Gartner Hype Cycle evaluates new and existing technology at each stage of adoption, from breakthrough to mainstream. SSE ranks at high prevalence, while SASE has lower appeal. Yet, those rankings contradict what’s happening in today’s market, as the two technologies share similar levels of market concentration and dominance. 

According to Gartner’s report, managed SASE generates greater interest because a single provider manages each phase of the service, from implementation to performance. However, there are different methods for providing managed SASE.

Another Gartner finding is that SD-WAN adoption is past its prime, transitioning from the “Slope of Enlightenment” to the “Plateau of Productivity.” At OnX, our clients are already moving from SD-WAN to SASE, leveraging an SD-WAN base to implement managed SASE.

Perhaps most significantly, vendors are rapidly expanding the AI technology that’s integrated into their secure networking solutions. AI can provide proactive alerts and responses to challenges, as well as data aggregation and insights, to achieve more efficient, powerful networks. Gartner expects that clients will soon have the option to adopt AIaaS, or AI as a Service, to develop AI solutions that work in tandem with their network to address specific business needs.

Learn more: CIO’s definitive guide to cloud managed solutions

An abbreviated glossary of terms featured in this article:

  • AI – Artificial intelligence applies advanced analysis and logic-based techniques, including machine learning, to interpret events, support and automate decisions, and take actions.
  • SD-WAN – Software-defined wide area networking is a cloud architecture that reliably and quickly connects network transports like 5G, Wi-Fi, and MPLS to direct network traffic.
  • SASE – Secure access service edge essentially unites certain network technologies such as SD-WAN, SSE, secure VPN, and CASB into a single solution.
  • SSE – Secure service edge denotes the security components of SASE, including a cloud access security broker (CASB), secure web gateway (SWG), and firewalls.
  • NaaS – Network as a Service (NaaS) is a managed networking solution that eliminates the need to purchase, install, and maintain a network. It offers cloud integration, security management and monitoring, and SD-WAN.

The shift to single-provider SASE

There’s a growing movement toward technology consolidation, including SASE, when it comes to secure cloud networks. In recent years, there has been a movement to make networking (and, more broadly, computing) more efficient and integrate technologies. SASE is one such example, as vendors increasingly offer a single-provider option that incorporates SASE’s range of tools and technology benefits.

OnX recognizes that a single-provider solution is not optimal for all organizations.

Another option is to select from each of the state-of-the-art security solutions that comprise SASE. This task can be time-consuming, particularly for IT teams with limited staff.

A single-provider SASE vendor like OnX can serve as one touchpoint for a managed SASE solution that offers cutting-edge benefits. 

Learn more: Core advantages of a managed secure access service edge solution

Zero trust and cloud network security

Gartner’s 2023 report put zero trust network access (ZTNA) on the “Slope of Enlightenment.”

SASE and SSE are among the 19 technologies mapped out on The Hype Cycle for Zero Trust, including SASE and SSE. Moreover, Gartner forecasts mature ZTN programs will grow from 1% to 9% by 2026—due to 10% of major corporations adopting the tech, representing more than $1 billion in revenue.

OnX stands behind this prediction, expecting organizations of all sizes to turn to zero trust for network access and a large part of their IT operations. Rather than one technology, zero trust is a collection of guidelines for constructing frameworks across different IT platforms, operations, and application security protections. As organizations increasingly move to a hybrid workforce, the importance of zero trust will continue to expand.

Learn more: The fundamentals of SASE and zero trust security

Single dashboard monitoring

Cloud networks are becoming expected as more and more workforces go remote, even scattered around the globe. With workers widely dispersed, administering traffic, connection speeds, and applications becomes tougher. Additionally, user interactions must be monitored across an organization’s digital connections, from Internet and application activity to networks and mobile devices.

Palo Alto Network’s AI-powered Autonomous Digital Experience Management (ADEM) allows IT teams responsible for SASE solutions to identify potential challenges before they evolve into full-fledged issues.

In addition, ADEM also directly provides users with solutions that can assist with any issues they may encounter. For instance, a user could receive a recommendation to move closer to their Wi-Fi router when their video call consistently freezes.

Learn more: AI technology amplifies IT efficiency and customer experience

Secure networking and automation

Disparate business sectors are moving forward because of the evolution of AI. Secure cloud networks will also undergo further advances thanks to AI. OnX believes that automation and ADEM will create opportunities for cloud networks to further modernize security and traffic paths while diagnosing and remedying issues.

Internet of Things (IoT) devices are expected to become a commonplace feature of organizations large and small, and AI will safeguard and administer this device traffic. AI will also play a significant role in evaluating organizations’ data for greater analysis.

The AI evolution is expected to bring forth new technologies such as AI as a Service (AIaaS) and quantum computing. AIaaS eliminates the need for organizations to invest in their own AI product development and instead implements bespoke technology that fits the organization’s needs. Currently, AIaaS only operates on private Clouds, making it financially inefficient.

Quantum computing is not yet conventional, as only a few quantum computers exist today. However, coupled with AI, this technology will have truly futuristic applications. OnX CISO John Bruggeman shares his outlook on quantum computing in his article for Forbes. OnX expects quantum AI is now on an upward trajectory.

Learn more: Quantum security in a post-quantum world

OnX offers expertise in secure networking solutions

OnX predicts that more developments are in store for:

  • SASE solution consolidation.
  • Security solutions.
  • LAN/WLAN infrastructure.
  • Automation tools.

This progress will result from greater use of AI and ADEM networking tools that secure and streamline networks. How prepared is your organization to adopt next-generation secure networking?

OnX’s expertise goes beyond technology. In addition to complex deployments, OnX is a skilled project manager and hands-on partner to its clients. OnX design services prescribe prioritization and deployment schedules for projects on a three-to-five-year timeline. Considerations like lifecycle management and license expiration are built into the planning process.

Furthermore, OnX has a vantage point that puts clients at the forefront of secure networking solutions.

Our recommendations are not beholden to any single vendor, and we constantly monitor technology innovations to ensure the maximum results for our clients. The OnX team creates a customized strategy for clients, considering all aspects of the client’s business and anticipating future changes in technology.

Contact us to learn more about secure cloud networking.