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Make SASE a cornerstone to your digital transformation


5 min read

What is SASE? What are the components?

SASE helps you deliver better business outcomes, modernize and secure access and support your journey to cloud and digital transformation initiatives.

Intense competition, complexity, evolving threats and new ways of working have forced enterprises to move away from the traditional perimeter networks to cloud networking and cloud-based security. As a result, IT and security leaders realize that to meet more rigorous business and security needs, their organizations need to adopt secure access service edge, or SASE.

SASE (pronounced “sassy”) is a framework that converges network services, such as software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN), with cloud delivered network security technologies, such as like cloud access security broker (CASB), firewall as a service (FWaaS) and zero trust network access (ZTNA), into a single, cloud-delivered service model. This revolutionary framework has the potential to accelerate digital business, serve as a foundational element to zero trust security, and protect users and devices as they access resources anytime, anywhere.

The convergence of SD-WAN and cloud-based network security – Secure Access Service Edge (SASE).
Image 1: The convergence of SD-WAN and cloud-based network security – Secure Access Service Edge (SASE).

With SASE, Chief Information Officers (CIOs), Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) and other IT and security leaders can accommodate their businesses’ rapidly changing needs, including secure remote access, without sacrificing security or business functions. The challenge is to do so end-to-end for their organizations.

The need for a new approach

A disappearing perimeter means that security needs to allow users to connect to the network from anywhere on any device with seamless and secured access to information and technology. As organizations transform and the diversity of the security environment expands, new security models like zero trust can help support dynamic security needs.

With new approaches to security, there are new opportunities but also hurdles to overcome. An organization needs to work through many cultural, technological, and strategic considerations. Siloed network and security functions may exist, strategies may need to converge, integration into a broader cloud security program is paramount, and policies must be centralized for more visibility and context.

To adopt SASE, organizations can start by planning toward a future state in mind, understand the capabilities needed for the future state, prioritize their outcomes based on business drivers, and approach the journey at pace that balances security against innovation and transformation. Understanding how to integrate existing investments into a new zero trust network architecture is key.

Augmenting a SASE provider solution with your own controls, requires the right strategy, architecture and deployment for your organization. With an all-encompassing strategy for SASE, you get many advantages using one vendor, such as security integration, continuous improvement, management and orchestration, and consolidation of technologies. In fact, when successfully designed, deployed and managed, an all-encompassing SASE solution can increase visibility across software as a service (SaaS), cloud and on-premises applications, and optimize perimeter-less security across your enterprise to close gaps and minimize risks.

The good news is there’s now a way to easily add an all-encompassing SASE solution to your operations. And there are several compelling reasons why you should do so.


4 min read

Why IT and security leaders need SASE?

Advantages of SASE include zero trust security alignment, consolidation, and support the move to cloud.

Adopting SASE for use in your organization can benefit in several respects. The following features indicate some major areas where SASE provides help.

  • Support your business in its move to cloud and enable digital transformation:
    Aligning hybrid cloud security capabilities with a modern network architecture is a major challenge to address. SASE helps make this journey easier to accomplish with simplified and seamless network connectivity.

  • Simplify IT and security operations and use resources more efficiently:
    SASE gives you more consistency within your operations through convergence. Additionally, using SASE simplifies centralized networking policy control with a zero trust approach, bringing context across users, devices, locations and networks.

  • Better support a hybrid workforce and align with line-of-business needs better:
    The rise in Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies for team members and more remote access for your third-parties can benefit the efficiency of your enterprise. SASE helps you make sure that you protect and safeguard network access and implements centralized and consistent access management to applications.

  • Improve user access, productivity and security while minimizing costs:
    With SASE, you can scale your remote access infrastructure capacity, reduce latency associated a growing hybrid workforce using VPN, and consolidate and decommission legacy technologies.

  • Reduce the number of unintegrated tools in the IT and security stack:
    Many businesses have limited technical on-site resources to support and secure critical business applications. By requiring fewer tools, enterprises like yours can reduce the expense of having to hire more experts.

There are specific areas where SASE helps you optimize these benefits. These use cases involve situations which many businesses face daily regarding security, access management and related issues.


2 min read

A business driver approach to SASE

A business driver approach to SASE can help organizations accelerating and achieving their business goals.

When properly applied, a case-centric approach to SASE helps your organization to reach several major business goals and objectives. An all-encompassing SASE solution can offer key components to address the business pressures your organization faces in the following critical use cases:

Remote access to enterprise applications
Remote access to enterprise applications
Giving your remote team members access to applications across cloud environments and data is convenient and efficient for productivity, but it also increases your risk for data loss. SASE provides you with increased protection while offering frictionless user experiences when accessing applications and resources at any time, from anywhere. If your organization is changing from doing work primarily in the office — as was the case for many businesses when COVID-19 arose — this capability can be a big asset.
Contractor and third-party access
Contractor and third-party access
An end-to-end SASE solution allows you to require authentication for contractor and third-party users. This benefit fosters protected cross-company collaboration by providing you with access management and restriction at scale. You’re in control as to who can see sensitive data and resources, and can set up individual policies by user, group and application as desired.
Mergers and acquisitions
Mergers and acquisitions
When planning or undergoing any mergers and acquisitions for your enterprise, building the right network access and architecture during the merger can be a challenge. SASE provides you with access management using your organization’s and the other company’s existing identity provider solutions without the need establish network connectivity at the back-end. The result is a smooth and quicker transition and easy integration for all parties involved.
Network transformation
Network transformation
End-to-end network security from the edge to the cloud is a key opportunity from an all-encompassing SASE solution. You get seamless SD-WAN integration while your organization can reap savings through internet offloading or consolidating networking models for a simplified cost structure as well.
5G, edge and IoT protection and support
5G, edge and IoT protection and support
Reduce your worries about your enterprise’s use of the latest technological developments. Edge computing can receive branch-to-cloud protection. You can also use integrated edge computing security from the complete SASE solution, enabling additional Internet of Things (IoT) use cases. These activities offer you a big assist during your journey to cloud transformation.


5 min read

How to get started with SASE

Go at your own accelerated pace to modernize your network and network security infrastructure.

When some people learn that SASE is a new framework to be deployed, they worry about the time and expense involved for the entire organization to embrace the change. SASE doesn’t have to be a rip and replace model. The good news is that the transformation can occur in a phased approach without disrupting your operations. Consider the following SASE maturity model as a guide to your journey and where your organization might expand its security and networking capabilities.

A SASE implementation should work with your existing technologies and allows you to add on services as needed. Various elements address at least one of the business drivers previously discussed.

The deployment process includes digital transformation with a transition to SD-WAN and adding the security component. The following diagram shows how these processes can occur in relation to the use cases.

Executing network security transformation with SASE.
Image 2: Executing network security transformation with SASE.


6 min read

A blueprint for SASE success

An established way to get an end-to-end SASE strategy, migration and continuous improvement plan.

Installing a point solution is typically an insufficient and incomplete way to deploy SASE. You need a reference architecture that protects your data and applications through anything-to-anywhere access management. This means that all essential components connect with SASE, including workforce devices, SD-WAN, SaaS applications, the public cloud and more, as shown on the following image.

Protect your data and applications with anything-to-anywhere access management.
Image 3: Protect your data and applications with anything-to-anywhere access management.

This illustration was in response to a study from the global research advisory firm Gartner, who first mentioned SASE in 2019 and found a lot of traction among vendors that addressed individual components of the SASE framework. In that report, Gartner’s authors wrote that “No vendor has a single, complete, integrated end-to-end solution based upon this architecture, nor is any likely to deliver one over the next three years.

“In the context of this research, ‘end to end’ means between the demarcation points that can be thought of as networking and security service edges, such as API gateways, ingress controllers, ADCs and SDWAN nodes. An initial implementation is likely to have two parts, each with its own ends: the client to the API boundary, and the API code to the services (perhaps via a mesh). It does not extend to the application code itself.”1

In response to this prediction, IBM Security Services has developed a managed SASE solution that includes the key components of zero trust, network and network security transformation. This solution also provides a business-centric focus addressing key business drivers — from remote access to mergers and acquisitions and adapts to your needs rather than making you adjust to fit its requirements.

Ongoing steady management and best practices

IBM Security Services offers many elements as part of its comprehensive consulting and managed services for SASE. One is an extensive network of global operations with regional security centers. IBM is one of the largest global leaders in managed security services, recognized by leading industry analyst firms.

4.7 trillion

Average number of threat events managed monthly by IBM Security Services globally

IBM Security has global security operations centers with regional delivery and domain expertise.
Image 4: IBM Security has global security operations centers with regional delivery and domain expertise.

Another compelling feature is continuous improvement delivery capabilities to optimize security operations and provide expert guidance on program governance and strategy. Combined with worldwide coverage, IBM Security Services can collaboratively guide customers through their cloud-based network security and digital transformation journeys.

Consider a CISO of a major enterprise, who describes why he used a zero-trust solution based on SASE technologies from IBM Security Services as part of a three-year plan to protect the safety of data, operations and intellectual property while enabling business strategies.

We’re embracing zero trust to protect our(selves) and enable the new realities that we have, and identity and access management is critical for us. And adoption of the SASE role, I would say those two, from a technology standpoint. ” 1
– CISO of a multinational firm using IBM Security Services for SASE

For this global firm, the dedicated managed services from IBM Security Services reduced the amount of operation costs by more than 50 percent. We’re providing the firm with continued transformation support.

1 Gartner, The Future of Network Security is in the Cloud, Neil MacDonald, Lawrence Orans, Joe Skorupa, 30 August 2019.


2 min read

Why IBM Security Services for SASE?

Get market-leading consulting and managed security services designed to meet your needs.

The approach of IBM Security Services is to deliver an end-to-end SASE solution that includes all key components of a zero trust-based governance framework. We design, deploy and manage a SASE solution for your on-premises, cloud and edge devices, and can help your organization achieve the following goals:

  • Take advantage of SASE as a modern and secure network architecture
  • Implement a phased deployment with zero trust best practices
  • Accelerate your journey to the cloud
  • Support your digital transformation initiatives

IBM Security Services for SASE can deliver the following better business outcomes:

Fast time-to-value and certified expertise
Fast time-to-value and certified expertise
We employ more than 8,000 security specialists with certifications across the market leaders in SASE. Our SASE specialists can design and implement best practices, assets and methods to deliver a faster time-to-value with your solution.
Continuous security and compliance
Continuous security and compliance
Our managed security services operations monitor and manage client security environments around the clock with attention toward continuous improvement and enforcement. We’re a leader in 15 security segments and a trusted advisor for our customers.
Improved user experiences
Improved user experiences
With our business driver approach, your team members can securely access their key applications on-premises or in the cloud, from anywhere for any persona type. We follow a digital transformation mindset and methodologies.
Reduced costs and complexity
Reduced costs and complexity
One customer reported reductions in operation costs by more than 50 percent. These savings included accelerating the transition to cloud-based networking and security, helping to fundamentally decrease the enterprise’s network spend

As a trusted advisor and managed security services leader, our phased approach to SASE combines:

  • An adoption strategy focused on key customer uses cases at a pace that suits you
  • Zero trust network access security design best practices
  • A successful deployment to replace older perimeter-based network solutions
  • Ongoing monitoring and management to increase visibility into advanced attack types
  • Improvement of infrastructure security policies to address critical business and security requirements
  • An open ecosystem of the leading SASE providers

IBM Security Services can help deliver a complete and comprehensive network transformation you need. From rationalizing SASE provider capabilities with your own controls, determining a target future state based on maturity and supporting the overall pace at which your digital business transforms.

We can help your organization reach its full potential with SASE. Contact us for more information.