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Why CISOs and CFOs should care about SASE

A Bell solutions expert assesses how to best implement SASE within an organization.

Secure access service edge (SASE) is a security framework designed for the modern workplace, providing hybrid and remote workers with secure access to corporate data and applications anywhere within the sanctioned corporate compliance framework. For Canadian businesses to adopt SASE, it requires championing at the highest level of organizations: the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) and Chief Financial Officer (CFO).  

What’s in it for CISOs? 

CISOs are responsible for developing, implementing and enforcing security policies to fortify business systems and protect critical data. SASE offers several avenues to help them do all of that. With SASE, remote workers have access to only the data and applications that they need to do their jobs, limiting the possibility of lateral movement and damage to the rest of the corporate network in case of a breach. SASE is fast and easy to deploy, and it eliminates the common issues associated with traditional remote-access solutions. Even thousands of users across multiple locations can be quickly set up, and access can easily scale up or down as needed. 

Across all those users and locations, it’s easy for CISOs to know what’s happening at any time because SASE provides logs with comprehensive visibility into network congestion, application traffic, and user behaviour. Based on that information, CISOs can make required adjustments to ensure that their remote users have smooth and easy access to what they need. These logs enable faster troubleshooting and enhance policy refinement so as to strengthen the security protocols. These logs can also be feed into an SIEM, which enables automation of certain security routines (SOAR).  

CISOs are also responsible for making sure that security is cost-effective. When properly designed, deployed, and continuously monitored, SASE delivered over the cloud offers significant cost over the long run. When properly architected, deployed, and continuously monitored, consolidating multiple network and security functionalities into a single cloud-native platform reduces the need to invest in numerous physical network appliances, like firewalls, routers, and on-premises security stack. This also reduces on-premises equipment and the need to add headcount to the internal IT team to manage and secure the network.

The benefits of SASE from a CFO’s perspective 

CFOs are responsible for a business’ financial performance, prioritizing profitability, return on investment, cash flow, and other key metrics. SASE can help deliver a greater return on a company’s digital transformation efforts and cloud journeys in several ways. The first is cost control: because SASE is a utility-based subscription model delivered over the cloud, it shifts the traditional capital expenditure (CAPEX) model to one focused on operating expenditures (OPEX), with businesses paying based on usage or number of users. This predictable, pay-as-you-go approach offers better budget planning and cost predictability, while minimizing the large upfront (and often unexpected) expenses associated with replacing and maintaining on-premises infrastructure. In turn, this frees up capital for other core business activities. 

SASE can also help businesses comply with regulatory requirements around data privacy and security. A previous blog in this series looked at how SASE integrates robust security measures, including zero-trust network access (ZTNA) – making a breach of sensitive company data far less likely. This reduces the risk of fines and penalties. In addition, because logs can be generated on user demand and application usage, it’s easier to prove compliance with regulations when faced with an audit.  

When evaluating the business case for SASE, CFOs simply need to ask the following questions: Is our workforce mobile or distributed? Do we manage a diverse range of applications? Is our business transitioning to the cloud? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, it’s worth looking into SASE.  

SASE. Why? Because it enforces security closer to the end users, intelligently managing user connections at the internet exchanges and optimizing the peering to cloud applications/services to ensure optimal bandwidth and low latency. This improves business productivity and provides a better user experience, which can help with employee recruitment and retention. Additionally, its streamlined approach means that your IT teams can focus on more strategic, revenue-generating projects for the business as a whole. 

How a managed service provider can meet the needs of both CISOs and CFOs

When evaluating different SASE solutions, it is important to assess how well the solution integrates with many different technology platforms, including different clouds. An assessment of peering capabilities offered by SASE vendors is also important. How easily does data flow between the SASE platform and the cloud services or applications offered by AWS, Google, Microsoft, and other major providers? Do they offer enough bandwidth to ensure that connections aren’t congested or oversubscribed? All this makes a significant difference when it comes to efficient and secure operations.  

Getting started with SASE may seem daunting. That’s where a security leader like Bell can help. Our managed security operations centre (SOC) service lets you effectively outsource threat detection and mitigation to our dedicated team of certified experts. To help ensure that your business reaps all the benefits that SASE has to offer, we’ll handle all aspects of network management and protection. We also bring longstanding relationships with all the major cloud and technology vendors, along with expertise with their technologies.  

Visit our Managed Cloud Security Gateway to find out more about Bell’s SASE solution. Remember, you are not alone on your cloud transformation journey. If you ever need guidance on how to best implement SASE to suit your business needs, just reach out to Bell, and one of our security experts will help you plan your next steps.