Cato Survey: Remote Access Issues and Need for Increased Visibility Continue to Drive SASE in 2024

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2024 is expected to be another year of strong growth in the SASE market. Dell’Oro Group predicts the SASE market will surpass $10 billion by the end of the year “representing more than a doubling of the total market in three years,” according to Mauricio Sanchez, Senior Research Director of Dell’Oro Group. Gartner expects the market for SASE to reach $25 billion by 2027. What’s driving this trend? Sanchez attributes it to the ongoing “transformation of the Enterprise to align with the new normal of hybrid work and cloud-based applications.”

Sanchez isn’t alone in that assessment. Cato Networks’ latest survey of 1,069 IT leaders also found the new normal around hybrid work to still be challenging for legacy network and security infrastructure.

Four years after the pandemic forced companies to go remote, securing remote users in particular is still challenging. Respondents indicated that enabling remote access from anywhere and adopting zero-trust security posture for all access were two of the top three challenges of the current network and security architecture. A majority (58%) indicated the increased remote work and mobile workforce is a top factor that’s driving organizations’ need for zero-trust security.

According to a Deloitte survey, 80% of global organizations still allow employees some level of remote and hybrid work options. As the work environment remains highly distributed, it’s clear that organizations are still reckoning with developing and executing a secure remote access strategy that provides the same level of security protections that workers have in the office.

Some organizations have continued to rely upon legacy network solutions based on VPN. The trouble with VPNs is that users implicitly gain access to everything on the same subnet. As one respondent pointed out: “We were using a traditional security model that relied on a VPN to secure our network. However, this model did not provide the level of security we were looking for.”

ZTNA flips that paradigm. Users can only “see” the specific applications and resources explicitly permitted by their company’s security policy. So, it’s unsurprising that 43% of respondents identified remote access VPN refresh as the trigger for starting a SASE transformation project. One respondent elaborated: “Our organization decided to switch to a SASE model, which provided us with a more comprehensive security solution. With SASE, our organization was able to implement a zero-trust security model, which helped us to improve our security posture.” Transitioning from outdated solutions to SASE models facilitates zero trust maturity, while also protecting access at the edges, including sites, mobile users and devices, and enterprise and cloud resources. This transition enables enterprises to move from disjointed IT architectures to converged security platforms.

SASE increases visibility, reduces complexity and costs

Just as SASE models are empowering organizations by increasing network security, so too is this technology enabling comprehensive visibility and control in a complex landscape. More than half (55%) of respondents indicated that sensitive data visibility and control plus threat protection is a key challenge of organizations’ current network and security infrastructure. Why? Increased adoption of remote work, cloud computing, and disruptive technologies like generative artificial intelligence (AI) are all creating new data security risks—leaving organizations vulnerable to data breaches and regulatory noncompliance.

Further challenging organizations’ ability to maintain comprehensive data visibility and control are the stacks of disjointed point solutions and security appliances that they lean on. In fact, 42% of respondents identified consolidating vendors and reducing costs and complexity as a key challenge of current network and security architectures. Unlike point solutions, SASE platforms are fully converged, giving IT teams a single, shared context to better see and understand enterprise networks, prevent threats, and resolve problems. Indeed, one participant stated that SASE provides “more of a holistic viewpoint that gives us overall visibility not seen before.”

Not only is SASE adoption increasing visibility and control by providing a single pane of glass, but it’s also reducing costs. One survey participant reported that “the annual savings for us was over $250,000.” The savings was “substantial” for the respondent’s organization. As the World Economic Forum finds that more than half of chief economists anticipate the global economy to weaken in 2024, organizations face another year of economic uncertainty. It’s crucial that IT leaders can implement ways to reduce costs without compromising network security.

Shlomo Kramer, CEO and co-founder of Cato Networks, said it best: “SASE continues to be the antidote to security complexity.” SASE’s ability to give IT teams a single, shared context worldwide to understand their networks, prevent threats, and resolve problems makes it no wonder why nearly 70% of respondents have already deployed or plan to deploy SASE in the coming years.

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