Internet Security

Use of secure access server edge (SASE) technology grew during the COVID-19 pandemic and figures prominently in companies’ security roadmap going forward, according to a survey commissioned by Versa Networks.

The survey found that 34% of businesses say they adopted SASE during the past year and that 30% more plan to do so during the next six to 12 months. However, the survey found that 69% of IT and security professionals “remained confused about its true meaning,” according to the press release.

Thirty-six percent of IT and security departments say they have gotten complaints of dropped connections when using bandwidth-hungry applications, 31% have experienced complaints of lack of real-time tech support. On the security front, 37% experienced an inability to enforce security policies across remote work forces and 34% say that they lack the ability to spot new threats facing users.

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Eighty-seven percent of those surveyed have re-evaluated their remote connectivity policy during the past year. SASE – at 34% — has overtaken VPNs, which is the connectivity preference of 23% as the favorite, according to the research findings.

Misunderstandings still exist. Only 31% of respondents correctly identified the definition of SASE as “the convergence of networking and security services like CASB, FWaaS and Zero Trust into a single cloud-native service model.”

Forty-three percent say that the top reason for implementing SASE is to improve device and the application security of remote users. A “desire to prioritize the performance and delivery of business-critical applications in the cloud” and “the need to support more remote workers” each was cited by 31% as a key reasons for SASE adoption.

Other significant findings from the survey:

  • Nine out of ten businesses prioritize security ahead of visibility and control, bandwidth and connectivity or user experience, when adopting SASE
  • Three in five businesses say the responsibility for its implementation rests with the IT team
  • The IT team, at 49%, is the most likely department to complain about unreliable connectivity
  • Thirty-six percent of respondents say video conferencing and collaboration apps have posed the greatest challenges in terms of consistent performance and reliability.

The survey was conducted for Versa by Sapio Research in May. It includes views of 501 IT security and IT Networks decision makers from the US, UK, Germany and France. The format was an email invitation and an online survey.

“The survey paints a clear picture of the burden of pressures and challenges that IT and Security teams have been struggling with during the pandemic,” said Versa CMO Michael Wood in a press release. “While the survey shows that there is still some work to do in educating IT and security professionals about the true meaning of SASE, the imperative to address both remote security and connectivity issues has led companies away from the old VPN technologies that were riddled with security holes towards SASE, which gives them a compass for the future. While SASE has served them well during lockdown, it will also prove a major asset as they contemplate the move back to the office and towards hybrid working.”

Earlier this month, Verizon Business launched a SASE platform. Versa and Zscaler are core vendors for the initiative.

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