2021: The year of SASE

Kelly Rogers, chief marketing officer, SDWAN Solutions, explains the networking trends that are around the corner.

SDWAN Solutions has long seen SASE as the new kid on the network technology block. This insight inspired us to forge a strategic partnership with Check Point Software back in May 2020 to create SDWAN SECURE, our own SD-WAN and SASE hybrid.

SDWAN SECURE was globally launched in June 2020 at a breakthrough price. For resellers and MSPs considering adding these offerings to their portfolio, clear SASE and SDWAN messaging is imperative – this is not an ‘either or’ decision. Some vendors use messaging that claims SASE is an SD-WAN replacement, instead of an absolutely essential element of SASE.

In addition, SASE accreditation will likely go the same confusing route as SD-WAN. Emerging accounts of even the tech giants implementing SD-WAN badly in recent years will add concern to confusion.

To succeed, partnerships will be paramount. Expert SDWAN and SASE partnerships will form in the coming months – but not all will be successful! To achieve success, they must be complimentary and provide clarity, trust and surety that the SD-WAN and SASE delivered is fit for purpose for a mid-Covid (and eventually, post-Covid) world.

Double disciplines

Providers who deliver SDWAN and SASE as tailored solutions based on customer will garner trust, become market leaders and gain competitive edge. A ‘new tech message’ weary audience will fuel the ‘double discipline’ trend. IT procurement teams are fully aware of the need for new network technology, but they will seek to digitally transform, crisis and future proof simultaneously.

As homeworking continues and looks set to become a work-lifestyle revolution, much data is being accessed and transferred across the homeworkers network. Reputation management has become a pressing concern. Customers and partners are already beginning to ask questions about how safe networks are – just one data breach and empires could fall.

Tech vendor reputations are at stake too. As McKinsey stated, “we technologically evolved five years in eight weeks” as lockdown dictated home working. We, as an industry, must get it right. No buybacks allowed! No one wants to be labelled with the term ‘profiteering’ for rushing out solutions to a desperate customer base.

The subscription payment model will become the expectation. Businesses are suffering financially, yet the pressing need to update networks and security to incorporate the home/remote working model, means costs must be incurred. Customers will remember those that make payments, and therefore access to the essential new tech, as painless as possible.

The elephant in the room

We cannot ignore the effects of Covid-19, nor yet can we fully predict what further changes it may bring. Of course, businesses across all sectors need faster, smarter, more secure networks that have been designed for remote working.

This means there will be a surge in interest in both SDWAN and SASE… but there is less money around for digital transformation, no matter how essential. One thing is clear: businesses that behave badly now and hawk tech not fit for purpose will be remembered for a very long time.

The integration and maintenance services segment is expected to hold a UK SDWAN market share of over 30 per cent by 2026. This is due to growing demand across enterprises to integrate SDWAN technology across the existing WAN infrastructure.

Finally, where the US leads the UK follows. As such, SD-WAN adoption is increasing, and the proof of this lies in the fact that this segment of the networking market will hit US$4.5 billion. There is a prediction that the year-on-year growth of this will be in the margin of 40.4 per cent up to 2022. If this is true of the US, expect similar here up to 2025.

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