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Computer Futures held a virtual cybersecurity meet-up hosted by Gino Bautista, along with industry experts to discuss COVID-19 attacks, ransomware, the future of network security and implications for companies. Our valued guest speaker Yosuke Shiraishi, Senior Sales Engineer at Netskope, shared his view on the future of network and security with its main focus on Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) and spoke about the rise of SASE and the challenges ahead.

Below is an overview of the session by covering the future of network and security.


What is SASE and why the rise in demand?

SASE is a concept introduced by Gartner. Simply put, it is an integration of a network and its network security. Previously, Heavy Branch model which keeps the key data at hand while keeping the minimum amount of data on cloud, has been the norm. However, the prevailing model will be shifting to a Heavy Cloud – Thin Branch, which is the opposite from the previous model, in a world where people can access  data from anywhere. As a result, security within the cloud has become more important than ever, which also leads to the demand for SASE.

Since a clear definition of SASE has yet to be established because it’s such a new concept, each vendor's SASE offerings can thus vary greatly. But what remains typical for SASE is the fact that it’s based on the premise of zero trust – meaning all communication, internal or external, cannot be trusted. It inherits a security model that requires authentication each time and adopts to the increasing complexity of network and traffic that we see nowadays rather than the traditional perimeter network.

As many organisations experience internal digital transformation and IT systems moving to cloud, there is an increasing number of shadow IT, which refers to a rise in applications and cloud services that individual employees or departments use without IT departments knowing or having administrative access. These can pose a threat to corporate security. In fact, as many as 500 to 600 shadow ITs can be found in a company with a scale of 1,000 employees.

As network shifts from perimeter to cloud, traditional security tools easily reach the limits for what they can achieve which leads to the demand for SASE to increase faster than expected in the near future. While less than 1% of companies have adopted SASE as a security tool as of 2018, 40% of companies in Japan are expected to have a clear strategy for SASE adoption by 2023.


Challenges of SASE solutions

As mentioned above, as vendors offer varying SASE solutions, each company will need to find a solution that fits their organisation and meets their objectives. Some solutions can be "patched together" by function as a result of acquiring other systems but they can be hard to manage and operate so it’d be better to check all requirements beforehand. You may also want to make sure the API functionality is well equipped for your organisation.

Other evaluation criteria that can be considered particularly important include:

  • Is the architecture based on cloud?
  • Number and location of Points of Presence (POPs) around the world
  • Scalable and encrypted communication investigation system
  • Single-path scanning (lesser delay because the details of each communication are checked at once)
  • Identification of important data and its applicability control
  • Agent support (to understand the details of what each device contains)
  • Monitoring and storage of all user operations of cloud services
  • Behavioural analysis during the session (e.g. only granting access to behaviours that meet certain criteria)


Benefits of SASE to users

If you implemented security systems that offers the same level of security as SASE on your own, you would need to implement a dozen solutions and products. Management and operations of these can be very complex and the costs can be enormous. So one of is the efficiency from both time and cost-savings. Another benefit, especially valuable these days, is its capability to address threats to its network security in remote working conditions.

Netskope's security solutions have been famous for its Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB): by setting up a single control point where cloud usage can be visualised and controlled, consistent polices can be applied to the entire system. But their new and upgraded offering covers a lot more than CASB. As SASE is expected to emerge as a go-to security solution in the future, bringing security cloud to SASE is their current focus.


Interested to find out more?

Scott Jarkoff, Director - Strategic Threat Advisory Group APJ and EMEA at Crowdstrike, also shared extensive insights on threat intelligence and the importance of knowing your ‘attackers’. Visit here to read the full report on his sharing.

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