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Global telecom industry association MEF today released a network-as-a-service (NaaS) blueprint and announced a certification program for Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) products and services.

Digital transformation is changing what is expected from a network, said Pascal Menezes, MEF chief technology officer, in an address at the organization’s Global Naas Event (GNE) late yesterday.

As this occurs, “we see NaaS as an accelerator,” he said.

“It’s not the old NaaS where 10 years ago we were talking about site-to-site connectivity . . . and the ability to change bandwidth,” he said. “This kind of NaaS is truly cloud-centric. It’s an as-a-service utility model . . . It’s got elasticity built in . . . and it blends in cybersecurity.”

The blueprint touches on four key aspects of NaaS, including an on-demand underlay, application assurance, cybersecurity and multi-cloud capability, Menezes said.

“It’s not just technology,” Menezes told MEF GNE attendees. It also covers go-to-market strategy, he said.

According to MEF, key elements of the blueprint include:

  • Definitions of NaaS, core components and capabilities
  • Primary building blocks, including services, automation platforms, ecosystem and certifications
  • References to available MEF service and lifecycle service orchestration (LSO) automation API standards and other tools for delivering NaaS offerings
  • Initial uses cases in the areas of on-demand transport, SD-WAN, SASE and multi-cloud

SASE Certification

The SASE certification program will kick off with a beta program and will be based on methodologies and test programs from CyberRatings. Participants will include technology developers such as Cisco, Fortinet, Juniper, Palo Alto Networks and VMware.

CyberRatings will issue ratings on product and service effectiveness of applicants’ software defined wide area network (SD-WAN), secure service edge (SSE) threat protection, zero trust network access and SASE technology.

The beta program is expected to be completed this year. Certification is slated to be available to MEF members in the first half of 2024.

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