Insights / Research Report / A Network Perspective on SASE and SD-WAN
November 30, 2023

A Network Perspective on SASE and SD-WAN

Bob Laliberte

Market Topics

Cybersecurity Networking

The level of interest in secure access service edge (SASE) architectures has exploded recently as organizations struggle to use traditional, on-premises-based network and security solutions to support distributed, cloud-centric enterprise environments. While this has been an increasing challenge over the last few years, the pandemic and resulting spike in newly remote workers pushed many organizations to a tipping point when it comes to both security and network traffic. Additionally, the broad applicability of SASE leads to some confusion on where to begin and which technologies are required, exacerbated by legacy organizational dynamics. While Enterprise Strategy Group has seen SASE elevated to a CIO/CISO-led initiative in some cases, inconsistencies remain for many organizations in day-to-day collaboration across network and security teams.

In order to investigate how the network is factoring into SASE adoption plans, TechTarget’s Enterprise Strategy Group surveyed 374 IT and networking professionals at organizations in North America (US and Canada) involved with networking technology and processes, specifically those familiar with both SD-WAN and SASE technologies.

This study sought to answer the following questions:

  • Do IT professionals believe their organizations’ network environments have become more complex over the last two years? What networking challenges have been most impactful to organizations? Specifically, what challenges do organizations face specifically with connecting employees to corporate applications and resources?
  • What types of network technologies comprise organizations’ network ecosystems?
  • What is the status of organizations’ SASE plans in terms of both SD-WAN and security services edge? Do organizations expect their initial approach to SASE to be security- or network-first? What are the drivers of interest in SASE?
  • How long do organizations expect it to take to fully adopt a SASE architecture?
  • How many technology vendors do organizations expect to work with to support their SASE architectures, both initially and once their implementation is complete? For organizations that expect to use more than one vendor for SASE once their initiative is complete, what are the reasons behind this strategy?
  • What are, or expected to be, organizations’ initial SASE use cases? What benefits have early SASE adopters recognized to date?
  • What are, or will be, the drivers for organizations to deploy SD-WAN?
  • How important is it to have AI/ML technology driving automation in organizations’ SD-WAN environments? What features make AI/ML important to these environments?
  • What actions will organizations take over the next 12-18 months to implement or optimize their SD-WAN strategies?
  • Do organizations plan to deploy SD-WAN to support their remote/hybrid workers? Would organizations be more likely to deploy SD-WAN technology to remote/hybrid workers, or do so more extensively, if it didn’t require deploying new hardware?
  • What actions have organizations taken, or do they plan to take over the next 12 months, to improve the collaboration across the different groups responsible for networking and security?

Survey participants represented a wide range of industries including manufacturing, technology, financial services, and retail/wholesale. For more details, please see the Research Methodology and Respondent Demographics sections of this report.

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