2021 SASE Trends Report Shines a Light on SASE Adoption

While 2021 didn’t hold the victorious triumph against the pandemic that we had hoped for, it wasn’t all doom and gloom either. Flexibility and resilience continued to be in high demand, as organizations of all kinds found themselves adapting to shifting regulations and customer demands, employee needs, strained supply chains, inflation, and countless other forces. We’ve seen cloud adoption accelerate rapidly during the last two years, either directly or indirectly in pursuit of the flexibility and resilience that cloud-based solutions can offer.

Interest in secure access service edge (SASE), a cloud-delivered model for networking and security, exploded in 2021. But how far along are most organizations in adopting this new model? A recent research report from Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) uncovers just that.

ESG surveyed 613 cybersecurity, networking, and IT professionals worldwide regarding their thoughts and experiences with SASE. The results paint a picture of robust SASE adoption and contain lessons for anyone planning or considering SASE.

Hybrid work and the public cloud are driving new technology adoption

Two major trends leading to SASE adoption are undeniably here to stay. According to ESG, 98% of organizations surveyed use public cloud services and 62% will work remotely or in a hybrid manner, on average. Additionally, 71% of organizations will support at least 25 branch or remote office locations.

As environments become more widely distributed, the advantages of a cloud-delivered approach become even more apparent.

Early SASE adopters are seeing benefits now, and expect more to come

While nearly all organizations have some plans to implement, more than a third (37%) have already begun implementation. This is quite significant for a category that was introduced just two years ago. What’s more, organizations who have a broad zero trust initiative underway are much more likely to have begun to implement SASE, at 61%.

The most common benefits reported by early adopters include faster problem resolution (38%), reduced security solution costs (38%), and ease of management (37%). Additional benefits included fewer security incidents, improved user experience, and even reduced staff turnover. Most organizations reported experiencing at least three benefits, which indicates significant success.

Improving internal organizational alignment is critical for SASE success

As SASE brings security and networking together into a single service, it’s only natural that planning and evaluating SASE will include multiple teams and roles, with senior IT management, senior security management, and IT operations being the most common stakeholders involved.

The research uncovered that getting cross-functional agreement on a SASE strategy and/or vendors to be the most common SASE challenge. ESG asserts that senior IT management needs to be involved across all stages of the planning, evaluation, and decision-making process.

Get a complimentary copy of 2021 SASE Trends: Plans Coalesce but Convergence Will Be Phased report from ESG to learn more about SASE adoption and trends.