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Thought Leadership

Feeling SASE yet?

The future mode for securing the network is here - but it's not easy to just get SASE

Author Images Louca

Adam Louca

Chief Security Technologist

In my previous article on Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), I introduced the approach as being the future of delivering network security. So, do you just wake up one day and decide to ‘follow the trend’, then? Not quite – there’s a lot more to getting SASE than that...

With more people than ever now working remotely, organisations everywhere are experiencing increasing network traffic; there’s greater cloud adoption; and more Software as a Service (SaaS) apps are becoming fundamental to business operations. Consequently, the majority of enterprise traffic now goes directly to the internet.

Organisations today therefore need to be able to flex and accommodate at the point of need. And now, we’re seeing more and more businesses demanding to work with security controls in the same way too. Despite the clear benefits and advantages of agile working, decentralised business structures and the rise of workspaces rather than workplaces, the thing to bear in mind is that this way of working can expose the lack of flexibility and cost impact on traditional networks and network security. Something’s got to give.

Ready to get set and go

If you are currently reviewing your network security approach and perhaps looking to replace ageing firewalls, secure your remote users, or shift to a more permanent home working strategy, SASE should be a consideration. SASE is the new way. Its potential benefits are exciting. And it is fast becoming the next big technology conversation. However, before anybody instructs the business to ‘get SASE’, it’s worth knowing a bit more about the impact. Let’s be clear that SASE is a big deal. For your average organisation, it’s as strategic a decision as going cloud-first. It’s a journey to embark on, rather than a solution to implement. And you need to have the right tools, people and technologies on board before you set off. Additionally, it’s important to have a tour guide to take with you on this journey – a partner that can deliver a high level of support at each stage. That’s because SASE is less about trend and more about need. It’s an approach that essentially asks you to rip up the old rulebook and try something new.


Business partner

Choose a partner with a SASE roadmap

Deploying a SASE security model is an opportunity for a relatively archaic part of an organisation’s infrastructure to catch up. But with only a small number of organisations currently boasting a well-defined and comprehensive SASE offering, you need to find a partner that delivers a proven SASE roadmap.

A great choice would be an established strategic partner like Cisco. Cisco are one of very few vendors with a complete offering of SASE component parts. And when you couple that with Softcat’s people-first and outcome-focused approach, you can confidently begin the journey toward realising the benefits of a SASE approach. Softcat is well established across all of Cisco’s SASE products – including SD-WAN, Duo Security and Umbrella – and our high-quality complimentary services are designed to help organisations move forward with purpose.

So, where do you go from here?

The key to getting started with SASE is to establish your outcomes from a business perspective. You need to consider how your next few years might pan out. And you need to plan a strategic approach to help bring your vision to life. Only then can you decide how to invest in a security architecture that is able to deliver a future version of your business. Although it may seem daunting to start something new from scratch, actually many organisations will already have some of the component parts of a SASE model in place. Your strategic partner will help you to identify them and show you ways to optimise them – and then you’re well on your way. By working closely with someone like Cisco, one of our most obvious examples of this kind of strategic partner, you can get straight to the value that a SASE approach offers. At Softcat, we’ve created a specific customer lifecycle with Cisco to ensure that you’re supported at every stage of the journey – from discover to deliver and beyond – with clear touchpoints throughout. What’s more, because Cisco place a lot of emphasis on research and development, their products are refined and robust. Everything integrates seamlessly. And their passion for innovation means you can expect to achieve outcomes that are not only effective today, but for years to come. If you’re feeling SASE, it’s well worth learning more about their offering.

The Softcat Cisco lifecycle

Taking influence from Softcat’s overarching customer journey framework, we have created a separate and specific Softcat Cisco lifecycle to ensure you’re supported at every stage.

Discover: Customer experience starts with understanding the reasons for purchasing and the desired business outcomes

Identify: Softcat identifies the cisco solution and you evaluate it.

Purchase: We help you select your desired business solution.

Onboard: We conduct an onboarding call with you to outline a success plan and the next steps.

Implement: Full implementation of the solution is delivered.

Use: We ensure you’re able to use all core features and functions to achieve your outcomes.

Engage: Reassess your challenges following any next steps taken.

Adopt: We’ll support you to fully use the solution and start amplifying your outcomes.

Optimise: We’ll continually keep you up to date with the latest features.

Advocate: We’ll document your success through a customer success plan and case studies.

Recommend: Together, we’ll continually identify any new needs and make appropriate recommendations.

Renew: We’ll engage with you to understand your renewal requirements at earliest possible opportunity to keep you one step ahead.