Two major changes in the last two years have transformed what we once knew as a local ecosystem into a global system accessible from anywhere.
One is remote work, which began as a temporary measure to help us get through the early days of the pandemic and has since become the norm. According to Buffer remote job status report72% of respondents said their company plans to have a permanent remote work option, up from 46% in the 2021 survey.
The other is cloud adoption, which was mainstream even before the pandemic, but has seen another bump in the last couple of years. According to a O’Reilly pollroughly 90% of respondents now use the cloud.
In parallel, 5G and fiber became widely available and enabled a revolution in the way we work. As a result, the Internet has become the new corporate network.
Over the next 10 years, we will see companies continue to replace their on-premises network and security appliances with a secure corporate network over the Internet. It has already started with modern, cloud-centric and mobile businesses and will continue to expand into legacy businesses.
The demand for remote access solutions like virtual private networks (VPNs) and zero trust network access (ZTNA) tools took off in the early days of the pandemic and is here to stay. With users logging in from anywhere and applications no longer necessarily inside the office, the concept of the corporate network has fundamentally changed, expanding beyond the buildings the company owns or rents. It is now available anywhere there is an internet connection. Remote control is the new standard.
This change has had a trickle-down effect on the cybersecurity concept known as Secure Access Server Edge (SASE). This model is based on software, instead of hardware, and allows companies to protect all networks and users in their organization in an agile, cost-effective and scalable way.
SASE has three primary use cases: remote access via ZTNA, Internet security via Secure Web Gateways (SWGs) and Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASBs), and interconnectivity via software-defined wide area networks. (SD-WAN).
Let’s explore that third use case and how it’s changing as the Internet emerges as the new corporate network.
New infrastructure is changing the game
Fiber optic broadband and 5G are coming of age, bringing the fastest internet speeds to more locations and making it easier for employees to work from anywhere.
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), fiber infrastructure accounts for 32% of fixed broadband subscriptions in the 38 OECD member countries, up from 12% a decade ago. the Fiber Broadband Association says fiber is available in 43% of American homes and 60% of Canadian homes. And 5G is rolling out so quickly that Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA) says networks are likely to cover a third of the world’s population by 2025.
This infrastructure is compatible with the public Internet and enables the growth and adoption of corporate networks as they branch out to be available anywhere. As a result, we will see a decreasing need for SD-WAN solutions that provide optimization and quality of service to connect branches and offices effectively.
As the Internet matures and the need to optimize network traffic diminishes, companies will be able to use standard and simplified edge devices to create interconnectivity between offices or branches over the Internet. With remote work here to stay, there are fewer people in those branches to begin with, so companies don’t need to invest in quality of service because there are no bandwidth issues.
We’ve already seen efficiency as a business driver for cloud decision makers. According to the Flexera Cloud Status Report 2022 survey, savings was ranked as the top metric (74%) that organizations use to measure cloud progress. The same motivation will be at the core of internal connectivity in the future.
What this means for SASE
ZTNA is a common starting point for developing the SASE architecture. It supports remote work and introduces a new level of security that was not possible with a VPN.
Remote access and Internet security use cases will dominate the evolution of SASE as the need for interconnectivity declines. The table is already set by the trends established in the last two years.
Cybersecurity has become a bigger priority for most organizations, with 77% planning to increase their investments this year, according to ConnectWise’s State of cybersecurity for SMEs report. Since the corporate network looks very different than it did before, security will need to be adjusted accordingly.
SASE may be the key to success for businesses as their operations become more remote, but interconnectivity won’t be part of that equation. SASE’s future is to secure corporate networks over the Internet.