Adopting emerging technologies is the key to a future-proofed strategy

Adopting emerging technologies is the key to a future-proofed strategy

With an influx of users in the cloud and in the office, on a variety of devices, many organisations simply can’t gain complete visibility into their applications and data, let alone manage and control who can access those assets. Jacques Jansen van Rensburg, Associate Director: Advisory Services and Gilchrist Mushwana, Director: Advisory Services at BDO South Africa, discuss emerging technologies that are changing the face of the growing threat landscape.

Remote and hybrid working models are here to stay. As of 2021, approximately 50 percent of all corporate data is stored in the cloud, allowing access from any location. But the cloud is more than just an efficient storage solution, it is a tailored platform allowing the generation of data and innovative solutions to best leverage that data.

However, as cloud innovation rapidly advances, so does the sophistication of cyberthreats and the risks associated with security and access demands driven by reimagined workplace strategies. It is crucial for organisations looking to create an advantage to move past a castle-and-moat mentality and legacy applications of network security that cannot efficiently support newer networking ideologies and use cases.

Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), pronounced “sassy,” is a cloud-based network security model coined by research firm Gartner in 2019 which addresses a variety of problems that have been discovered with traditional cybersecurity methods used within the cloud. SASE’s emergence has been timely in light of the pandemic-driven move to remote working and the heightened network security risks that accompany it. The model combines the different functions of network and security solutions to combat problems such as latency, networking blind spots, excessive management overheads and the need for constant reconfiguration as digital services evolve. Ultimately, the goal of a SASE architecture is to make secure cloud enablement easier to achieve.

Implementing SASE within an organisation provides an innovative architecture model for network security, but it is important to implement a security strategy that works hand-in-hand with this architecture to effectively manage the complexities of the environment.  

Zero Trust (ZT) is a security strategy that completely eliminates the concept of trust because it requires content inspection before granting access to any network and data. Any organisation wanting to improve their security posture must realise that both SASE and ZT play a pivotal role within a single comprehensive, integrated solution that supports all traffic, applications and users. To give an example, SASE architecture allows IT teams to manage data layers more effectively by outlining an exact security solution framework, while ZT provides the strategy conducive to the effective monitoring of threats to the organisation within that framework.

SASE and ZT essentially reinforce each other to provide a single bullet solution. Given that the ZT network access model is geared around data access controls and visibility to an organisations’ corporate resources, it’s easy to understand why ZT and the SASE model are a perfect match.

As a cloud-based service, SASE is inherently scalable to the shifting contours of an organisation, its workforce and its network while still allowing secure access to all applications with unified security management services. In terms of cost optimisation, framework costs and complexities are significantly reduced as organisations move away from investment in infrastructure, and responsibility for running and maintaining security engines rests with the SASE provider, not the IT department.

As workplaces transform we are seeing a massive shift towards more modern, user centric models – no matter what the size of the organisation. Cloud and mobile are becoming the core focus and it is a crucial part of a future-focused strategy to drive adoption of solutions such as these. Emerging technologies are key as organisations simplify and prioritise cloud based services to remain relevant.

One more important consideration for implementing SASE is talent. A workforce with the flexibility and the rich, secure digital experience to do their job well, and do it from anywhere, do their best work.

The future of networking is cloud. And SASE simply drives networking through the cloud allowing frameworks to have the same security stack they’ve traditionally had, just on an optimised level. Although the technology is still considered to be in its infancy, for many organisations, components of SASE and ZT are already delivering value on a daily basis.

With Gartner predicting that by 2024, at least 40% of organisations will have explicit strategies to adopt SASE, understanding how to begin putting this framework into place is the first step to future-proofing any organsisation.

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