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The Challenges of SASE Implementation and How to Overcome Them

Secure access service edge (SASE) among enterprises has enabled the integration of an organization’s network assets in a secure and centralized location. As such, many businesses have been keen on implementing it within their networks in their drive towards improved security and efficiency.


The One Mistake in SASE Implementation and the Challenges Arising from It


Amidst the rush towards adopting a SASE architecture among enterprises, the plethora of SASE vendors in the market and their differing approaches to SASE implementation has left many business leaders overwhelmed and confused.


One common mistake enterprises make is that they often lean towards point solutions instead of end-to-end managed services. This can result in suboptimal SASE outcomes and future issues which may fail to address the challenges often faced in SASE implementations. Such challenges include:


Inadequate collaboration: Merging networking and security teams into one IT team is essential in a fully implemented SASE model. However, enterprises often struggle to merge these teams as they have been traditionally organized in a siloed setup, contributing to the lack of real-time collaboration and joint decision-making.


Inconsistent architecture: SASE implementation can be affected by a mismatch in policymaking and enforcement as many solutions in such enterprises are not truly cloud-based, which is a critical architecture feature in SASE. Some enterprises get around this by providing SASE via a public cloud, colocation centers, or both, in addition to virtual and legacy appliance architectures but this can lead to critical foundational flaws and architectural inconsistencies.


Integration and interoperability: SASE demands features that seamlessly integrate with other agents, diverse cloud gateways, and various proxy types for simplified deployments and a holistic solution. Patchworks of standalone products do not help the cause.


Skill gaps and organizational culture: Enterprises often do not have the necessary skills or resources necessary for the adoption and integration of SASE into their existing infrastructure. This is also compounded by occasional resistance and skepticism around the changes that SASE brings.


Distributed systems: Cloud-native SASE relies on its global network of cloud gateways (Points of Presence, or POPs) to ensure consistent application performance and quality for all users. Organizations can use their own gateways but may find it expensive, or they can opt for gateways from their SASE vendor or service provider.


Change management: Introducing a SASE solution entails substantial changes that need to be made to established corporate infrastructure practices. As such, a proper and planned transition to SASE is necessary in order to ensure continued productivity and collaboration in the workplace.


Best practices for implementing SASE


While there are some clear implementational challenges, this should not hinder SASE adoption for forward-thinking enterprises. Rather, this should be an opportunity for enterprises to implement some best practices that will ensure successful SASE implementation by taking the following steps:

  1. Assess and plan: Make a comprehensive assessment of the existing network and security infrastructure. Understand the organization’s specific needs and goals and how SASE can affect these needs and goals, both positively or adversely.

  2. Implement a hybrid transition: Gradually transition to SASE by phases, locations, or user groups to avoid disruption.

  3. Prioritize security: Prioritise security throughout the SASE implementation process. Implement zero-trust principles, strong encryption, and robust identity and access management.

  4. Ensure scalability: Ensure that the SASE system to be put into place is scalable to accommodate future growth and adaptable to changes in network demands.

  5. Ensure integration: Ensure that the SASE system can seamlessly integrate with existing systems, applications, and workflows within the organization.

  6. Conduct testing and validation: Conduct thorough testing and validation at each phase of the SASE implementation to identify and resolve any issues before they impact the entire organization.

  7. Establish disaster recovery and redundancy measures: Set up robust disaster recovery and redundancy measures to ensure business continuity in case of unexpected disruptions

  8. Provide user training and feedback: Provide training and resources to educate employees about the new SASE environment, including security protocols, and best practices. Also, gather feedback from users and teams to fine-tune the SASE implementation over time.

  9. Ensure compliance: Through the built-in features to be installed, the SASE implementation must comply with regulatory requirements in all regions where the organization operates.

  10. Choose the right partner: Partner with a trusted SASE provider that aligns with the organization’s requirements and provides scalable solutions.

As the future of technology-enabled workspaces continues to evolve, SASE will be an essential component for future-focused organizations. By effectively dealing with these key implementation challenges, enterprises can ensure that their SASE implementations can help realize their vision to be future-ready despite the ever-changing technological landscape.


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