Everyone reading this will likely be operating increasingly in the cloud, or developing their plans to migrate their businesses to the cloud.
Is this the world of large companies? Not at all.
The value of the cloud is as important to small and medium sized businesses as it is to large corporations.
But as more businesses turn to applications such as Zendesk CRM, expand their digital help-desk and customer support functions, and expand their ecommerce and online sales fulfilment, they increasingly collide with cost and complexity around network management and security.
And as the opportunities the cloud creates become ever more relevant to more and more organisations (the cloud computing market is expected to grow by around 17% over the next 3-5 years), these complexities penalise smaller companies.
One thing is not in doubt: network security, visibility and management is as important as the SASE application.
The highest level of visibility, and of network security, come when the network infrastructure and the security solutions are tightly integrated.
The alternative - having distinct parts to a security solution that can still be separated - cannot provide the same depth of security as an SD-WAN network integrated with a security platform.
As McKinsey said as long as 10 years ago, when it comes to clouds, 'size is not a destiny.' Companies that aren't super large enterprises like Coles, Woolies or our banks may still employ as many as 2,000-3,000 people. They are still impressive companies, often the heartbeat of our retail, service, healthcare and financial industries, and their security and cloud requirements are no less important.
At Superloop, we've now taken new steps to bring simplicity of execution and management of cloud security
Security for all
As part of a broad set of security offerings we've recently announced the integration of Palo Alto Network's Prisma Access network Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) solution with the Superloop digital network.
This is the latest solution in what in reality is a growing portfolio of integrated security solutions designed to create new opportunities for more companies in the Australian market around secure cloud connectivity.
(Read more about Why our post-pandemic world is driving businesses to SASE)
And it's part of a continuing broadening of integrated security services that meet different solution needs. In this particular case, the Palo Alto Networks SASE solution provides a cloud delivered security solution, and it follows the acquisition of Exetel we made earlier in the year, which brought a Fortinet capability into Superloop to add to the existing security capabilities we've had in-house for some time.
What's most attractive about the SASE framework (developed by Gartner) is its ability to be executed in stages.
It allows businesses to plan and then execute migration from legacy network and security implementations (often bolted together as a hierarchy of legacy platforms from multiple suppliers) to an integrated alternative in which the network and the security are a single concept.
And by adopting this migratory SASE framework, a second multiplier effect kicks in: businesses can see out contracts they might have with either their existing telco providers or their existing security products, and then migrate.
Simplicity of management, excellence in execution
The third multiplier is the removal of complexity and expense. If the task of managing security becomes so overwhelming that it threatens to negate benefits of the security investments, the solution starts to become flawed.
Fundamentally therefore, SASE is about bringing simplicity of management alongside excellence in execution around delivering better security solutions to a broader segment of the market.
We understand the need to simplify to make it easier for organisations to consider. By making it an evolution, SASE becomes something you buy as a series of capabilities towards an end goal.
As long as you know what those objectives are, the adoption of a SASE solution such as the new Superloop-Palo Alto Networks option becomes accessible to most companies.
As an example, you might have existing Palo Alto Networks firewalls today and want to migrate to a modern digital network in the near-future. Alternatively, you might be using the Superloop network today, or have plans to do so, and have been seeking manageable SD-WAN solutions to deliver multiple services to share secure network traffic over multiple links, with better network visibility, and access to better application performance.
Follow the SASE road
According to Gartner, in a paper prepared for Palo Alto Networks, there's a roadmap that organisations of any size can follow to build a more secure cloud infrastructure:
- Start to consider security as being defined by software, not solely as point of risk in hardware
- Audit and assess the multiple vendors, policies and management consoles that might already exist within the organisation. (Smaller companies have one distinct advantage here over their larger competitors: being smaller, they are likely to have fewer of all of these)
- Companies that either already have in-house security skills, or that work with partners or vendors with those skills (Something we incidentally do have inside Superloop), can reduce their migration to SASE solutions by as much as half
- Consolidate vendors and cut complexity and costs as contracts renew for secure web gateways
- Seek leverage from a market that continues to converge across infrastructure and security