Cybersecurity and Managed Network Services: SASE (Part 2 of a 3-Part Series)

In Part 1 of this series we looked at the current cybersecurity challenges faced by network operations, and the need for new frameworks such as secure access service edge (SASE).

Your enterprise also faces challenges in the management of your network infrastructure. When it comes to the network, you’ll want to take advantage of emerging technologies while offloading the management burden to others, such as managed network service (MNS) providers.

Let’s look at the implications of enterprise SASE initiatives when it comes to engaging with MNS providers.

The Enterprise’s Perspective

Today, your employees are distributed. Applications reside in the data center as well as in the cloud, so your enterprise faces the challenge of managing access securely. Having these different modalities of access is what’s driving the need for the consideration of SASE within the enterprise environment.

The increased adoption of public cloud resources means that you now have the opportunity to extend your private cloud into public services, such as Azure or AWS. Each of these providers have their own set of features to facilitate SASE.

From an access perspective, you should become familiar with zero-trust network access, which is increasingly being utilized as part of the overall SASE approach. Zero trust helps manage the challenges faced with users accessing applications from virtually anywhere – the office, at home, or on the move.

Many enterprises now face a situation where they need the MNS provider to integrate with their SASE investment and zero trust mindset to provide services relevant to the network infrastructure. From the enterprise perspective, you need an MNS provider that is enabled to deal with your specific cybersecurity approach.

The MNS Provider’s Perspective

Every enterprise has a unique setup when it comes to the architecture of their infrastructure and the manner in which they invest in and apply SASE. As a result, the first consideration from the MNS provider’s perspective is that they will need to become intimately familiar with your enterprise’s current architecture and approach, and how you deliver services.

The longer-term implications are related to planning. Planning requires that your MNS provider engages at the architecture level with your enterprise’s network operations teams. This will enable them to support your network environment as it evolves.

Another crucial consideration is the ability of your MNS provider to support a SASE implementation. Make sure they have the tools, skills, and staffing in place and the capability to deliver the service. They should be able to provide guidance with your service delivery platform performance, including tracking infrastructure performance and network availability information.

On top of all that, make sure they can provide SASE support as part of their standard MNS offerings, without imposing the costs associated with customization.

The Operational Perspective

SASE-enabled network architectures pose additional requirements on your enterprise and your MNS provider. Your MNS provider should be able to tease out all of these differences in a proficient manner.

The move of enterprises towards SASE adds an additional dimension of troubleshooting. For example, when your employees and customers face issues accessing applications and services, it can get very difficult to understand where the problem is.

The network could be okay, but the SASE implementation might be preventing user communities from reaching applications. There might be a good reason for this, or it might be due to misconfiguration.

These days, it is no longer sufficient for the MNS provider to say the network is up. They must have a thorough knowledge of your service-delivery infrastructure. Make sure they understand the quality of the user experience with each of your applications and services, because these can be affected by the SASE implementation.

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