The cybersecurity approaches we rely on to secure our government networks and protect our IT resources from attackers may no longer work. In fact, some of the most devastating cyberattacks in history have occurred in the last year.
About the Author
Ed Elmore, Director of Federal Markets, Versa Networks.
It is clear that the decades-old platforms we relied on and their vulnerabilities exploited by today’s sophisticated attacks contribute to the weaknesses of the existing network. Wide area network (WAN) technology, for example, hasn’t changed much in more than 20 years.
With the next big thing just around the corner, now is the time to redesign government IT for the future. But with today’s network foundations so well established among government organizations of all sizes, preparing our networks for the future can be a significant undertaking.
Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), a term introduced by Gartner in 2019, has quickly become a popular and well-established solution as government agencies journey to upgrade the security and functionality of their networks required in today’s environment of I work from anywhere.
SASE is the integration of networking capabilities and security solutions, along with analytics, into a unified platform; for example, the marriage of software as a service (SaaS) and firewall as a service (FWaaS). While emerging rapidly, this approach is proving successful as government organizations roll out higher-performing and more secure networks.
The Post-2020 Journey
For years, government organizations have migrated to more agile solutions away from traditional on-premises network and security platforms. The 2020 events highlighted new work-from-anywhere needs for government workers and accelerated this migration. The new networking and security needs of an instant remote workforce forced agencies to quickly refocus their efforts and quickly adapt.
Traditional SD-WAN solutions have long been the popular software-defined architecture to meet these types of requirements, but they no longer address all the challenges government teams face, particularly when it comes to security. The need for further evolution has opened the door for new solutions, such as SASE, to emerge to address these growing needs.
SASE proves to be up to today’s challenges
The capabilities provided by highly integrated, full-featured SASE solutions position agencies well in the ever-evolving cyber threat landscape. Agility and flexibility are key benefits for SASE, which can be deployed through the cloud, allowing government organizations to apply security controls to any area of the network, across multiple locations. These benefits help strengthen the line of defense by eliminating the risk of security breaches, implementing consistent policies and controls, and lowering overall cost because organizations eliminate the need to pay for multiple solutions for each area of the network.
According to a survey on this topic, 87 percent of organizations have already adopted VPN or SASE, or are considering adopting SASE within the next year. With 32 percent of organizations surveyed concerned about protecting the IT network from security threats, it’s clear how priorities stack up for government leaders facing these challenges.
SASE not only enhances the level of security of the applied network, but also ensures that required network service levels are met across all office locations and users. In today’s remote and work-from-anywhere environments, the ability to manage network performance and security from a single platform is advantageous for government IT teams.
The advantages of the integrated solution
SASE is a proven approach for any organization, especially because of how easy it is to apply to the network. With just an existing SASE solution, agencies can simply expand their service to cover more areas of the organization. Adopting SASE is not a huge rip-and-replace effort for the entire network. Instead, government IT teams can start small and tackle one area at a time, adding SASE services as they expand.
Awareness is critical to the progress of SASE, and it is important that organizations take the time to fully understand the different features of the solution and what they can offer. As it stands, according to the survey, only 31 percent of teams were able to correctly define what SASE is, and 13 percent of organizations not planning to implement SASE admitted to not knowing the actual benefits of the service.
To effectively support long-term workforces working from anywhere, organizations must invest in future-proof solutions that enable them to operate both physically and digitally to keep up with the changing network and security needs of the world. equipment. One of the biggest benefits organizations can take advantage of is not having to manage networking and security as two separate entities. With advanced SASE solutions that tightly integrate these functions, agencies automatically reduce the amount of time and resources required to run them, and can instead focus on other high-priority areas of the organization.
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