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Can SASE Help With Cybersecurity Sprawl In 2024? | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware


Dating back decades, networking experts and cybersecurity experts have tried to cooperate to block malicious actors, using techniques such as malware detection, firewalls, and packet inspection. Unfortunately, this cooperation is sometimes blocked by internal politics – the department of cybersecurity does not always answer to, or work closely with, the networking department.

This is starting to change. The platform engineering movement is an acknowledgement that these operational silos must be broken down. Another driver is that multicloud networking and hybrid cloud applications will make networking more important than ever. Thirdly, the market known as secure access service edge (SASE), a trend we recently covered in our SASE Ecosystem Growth report, is showing how networking and cybersecurity can work together.

SASE evolved as an outgrowth of the software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) market, which innovated by delivering edge networking functions as cloud-delivered software, rather than as specific devices such as firewalls.

Over time, SASE has started to include any cybersecurity function that can be bundled with the network. This includes head-spinning collections of acronyms, including advanced threat protection (ATP), cloud access security broker (CASB), data loss prevention (DLP), endpoint detection and response (EDR), firewall-as-a-service (FWaaS), intrusion detection system/intrusion prevention system (IDS/IPS), next-generation firewall (NGFW), secure web gateway (SWG), zero trust network access (ZTNA) – and many others!

Tool Fatigue Is Real

The proliferation of cybersecurity services, acronyms, and tools has a cost. Despite the explosion of cybersecurity products on the market, data shows that attacks have not been stopped. Cybersecurity teams are famously understaffed and burnt out, spending hours of manual work to sort through an array of dashboards and alerts to keep IT save. People are still needed to discern real threats from false alarms.

The sprawl has proliferated as the money has pumped into the market. In the financial markets, cybersecurity has been a relentless (and mostly successful) area of investment, from the venture market all the way to the public markets. Leading cybersecurity vendors such as Cisco, Palo Alto Networks, Cloudflare, CrowdStrike, Fortinet, and Zscaler dominate the market for network security, and they continue to spend billions on R&D and M&A to keep up the race. Large content delivery networks such as Akamai and Cloudflare, which provide network as a service (NaaS) connectivity, are increasingly operating in the network security space. And the cloud providers, including Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, aren’t sitting still, as they constantly invest in new cybersecurity tools.

While these investments are real and important, they’ve left the end users asking: What have you done for me lately?

SASE Drives Convergence

SASE could provide a model for the rest of the cybersecurity industry by showing that integration with networking is key to achieving better cybersecurity practices. Let’s take a closer look.

One of the classic challenges of cybersecurity is departmental silos: getting cyber teams to work with networking and cloud teams. In the past year, our data has detected an increased interest in converging these efforts around security. This will be driven by more complex multicloud and Internet connectivity.

The network is a great place to start with security. After all, it carries all the data and traffic. By monitoring and inspecting traffic and behavior, activity can be fed into cybersecurity tools that use AI and machine learning (ML) to detect and respond to potentially malicious behavior.

Surveys show that end users want networking and cybersecurity to be combined. As you can see below, our survey of 196 enterprise users last year showed they favor the integration of SASE technology with SD-WAN.

SASE represents a consolidation and integration of many different cybersecurity and networking functions. These include, but are not limited to, firewalling, IDS/IPS, CASB, SWG, and SD-WAN. The movement started with SD-WAN, which combined software-based control of enterprise networking branches and then expanded as it converged with the firewall market. Large firewall players such as Check Point, Cisco, Fortinet, Juniper Networks, and Palo Alto all added SD-WAN functionality either internally or through acquisition, while remaining SD-WAN infrastructure startups such as Versa Networks, Cato Networks moved in the other direction, adding security functions to SD-WAN. Arayaka Networks, a large SASE managed service provider, is also adding its own cybersecurity functionality to its network.

The need for SASE goes back to the demand for increased networking and cybersecurity functions overall. The explosion of connected devices, high-speed connectivity, and cloud-based services has elevated demand for network automation as well as cybersecurity. users is different from a large global enterprise with hundreds of thousands of employees and hundreds or thousands of locations. [MJ2]

ZTNA is another network security function that has been subsumed into SASE. ZTNA is a philosophical approach that posits that no application or network connection should be trusted – everything must be continuously identified and verified. Various ZTNA technology approaches are being baked into networking functionality as well as applications. Companies with ZTNA are using it to provide a more modern approach to virtual private networks (VPNs), a trend known as VPN replacement.

Futuriom has not conducted a specific market-sizing model for SASE as VPN replacement, but the convergence of the edge security, ZTNA, and SASE markets is easily tens of billions of dollars – because it includes legacy markets such as VPNs and firewalls, which account for $50 billion or more.

Additional direct comparisons can be made with more focused cloud-hosted network security vendors such as Cloudflare ($1 billion+ in annual revenue) and Zscaler ($2 billion in annual revenue run rate). Even though not all of this is directly attributable to SASE revenue, the fact that both companies are moving toward the SASE market shows the power of convergence.

Startups Drive Innovation

Despite the growth of most cybersecurity players, these companies have been hungrily gobbling up startups to add to their security portfolio. Although dozens of SASE startups have already been acquired, we have identified a handful of network security companies still driving this market, including Aryaka, Cato, NetFoundry, Netskope, and Versa Networks.

Network and cybersecurity convergence is also happening at the cloud networking level, as multicloud networking services from the likes of Aviatrix, F5, and Prosimo focus on using multicloud and application visibility as a security tool. Cisco’s recent acquisition of Isovalent, a cloud-native security and networking tool, demonstrates this powerful trend.

In 2024, we expect this strong trend of cybersecurity and networking convergence to continue. The gravity of cloud connectivity and hybrid cloud will increasingly pull the discussion toward cloud-native tools and techniques, making it even more interesting. Hopefully, end users will start to see the benefit of combining these tools and platforms to relieve them of some of the headaches of cybersecurity sprawl.

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