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When and where are your employees at their most productive?

If you can answer, “Anytime and anywhere,” you’re one of a few organizations whose employees have the tools they need to do their jobs from anywhere – securely.

As new ways of working have become a pillar of employee experience (EX) strategies across industries, up-to-date approaches to cybersecurity are fundamental to protecting sensitive employee, customer and corporate information.

New ways of working require a new approach to security

NTT DATA’s 2023 Global Employee Experience Trends Report shows that EX is now the number-one C-suite priority in terms of improving customer experience (CX) and customer satisfaction, with 94% of CEOs agreeing that improvements in EX will directly affect their bottom line. In a nutshell, they know that happy employees mean happy customers.

To give their employees the benefit of work flexibility, many organizations are adjusting their operating models to balance remote, hybrid and on-premises working. This requires cloud-based collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams and other platforms; AI and automation; and services that support employee mobility, such as mobile device management.

But in this new working environment, traditional network security approaches are no longer sufficient. Different types of infrastructure (on-premises, edge and cloud) in the mix have different security tools, which drive up complexity, cost and latency and are likely to function in a silo, making it easier for cyberthreats to enter the infrastructure.

SASE: a new frontier of security

According to the EX report, 94% of organizations agree that hybrid work has caused them to increase their investment in data protection and security capabilities. Yet, only 46% agree strongly that their current cybersecurity controls are effective in protecting and enabling their employees wherever they work.

In their quest to excel in EX, organizations are therefore looking for new ways of securing their digital infrastructure.

Secure access service edge (SASE), a cloud-based framework that integrates the networking functionality of a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) with zero trust network access and other cloud-native security features, is fast becoming the architecture of choice in this context.

SASE is particularly relevant in the age of hybrid work because it enables dynamic and secure access for users, applications and devices at any location. It also provides comprehensive visibility of network activity, allowing organizations to identify security challenges and address their root causes faster and more effectively.

Managed SASE is best practice

However, a SASE transformation is not as easy as it seems. Often, organizations lack the experience, knowledge and resources necessary to design, implement and manage it. It’s not a simple box swap and requires expertise to untangle the security complexities that lie underneath.  

Enter managed SASE.

Already, nearly 5 in 10 organizations plan to procure SASE solutions from managed service providers (MSPs) by early 2024, according to ESG Research.

MSPs with a deep understanding of best practices in security capabilities provide scalable SASE solutions that adapt to an organization’s evolving business needs – and they have the experience to help organizations comply with industry-specific and data-protection regulations.

The benefits of managed SASE

Once a managed SASE solution becomes part of an organization’s network, there are several benefits:

  • SASE already allows employees to access the applications and data they need from any location, as consistent security policies ensure data protection and a seamless, uniform security experience. So, the organization moves from perimeter-based security to identity-level security – an essential step in securing hybrid and remote working.
  • Deployment now becomes faster and more efficient as it is supported by insights and end-to-end visibility that simplify the troubleshooting of network configuration issues.
  • The managed SASE provider has a holistic view of the organization’s endpoints, applications, network and security policies in a single dashboard. They can isolate network issues quickly, and integrations with leading IT service management solutions automate the end-to-end incident management process.
  • Because it’s a cloud-based consumption model, there are cost savings in terms of security operations, infrastructure expenses and deployment. Not having to hire and train in-house staff to manage the SASE solution is a further saving.
  • Access to innovation is a key benefit of working with an MSP. It becomes easier for the organization to access technologies such as AI-enabled security incident management, including predictive monitoring and anomaly detection.
  • Many MSPs offer full-time monitoring and support – a proactive approach that can prevent and address issues promptly, minimizing downtime and security breaches.

Should your organization decide to go this route, it’s worth consulting an MSP to tailor a SASE solution to your needs and guide you through the complexities. The effectiveness of the solution will depend on its configuration, so you need to optimize your network and security configurations from the outset.

NTT DATA and Palo Alto Networks: a strong partnership

Palo Alto Networks Prisma SASE uses the principles of zero trust security to break down trust assumptions and secure users, infrastructure and applications. Users have access only to the specific data, resources and applications they need, and their access is continuously validated to check their trustworthiness. There are also regular traffic inspections to safeguard an organization’s data and applications.

Prisma SASE integrates seamlessly with NTT DATA’s Sentient Platform for Network Transformation (SPEKTRA), our global services platform for managed network solutions that brings together security, observability, AI, incident management, automation, reporting and more in a single, fit-for-purpose service.

The power of this managed solution lies not just in the technology but also in the strong partnership between NTT DATA and Palo Alto Networks – a double layer of expertise that keeps your employees, applications and data safe and your customers satisfied.


Read an NTT DATA and Palo Alto Networks white paper on SASE and working with the right partner for a managed SASE solution.