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Even as new technologies such as AI, cloud and automation reshape the business landscape, they are also making cyberthreats more dangerous and frequent. This calls for a transformation of how organizations do business and how they protect what they have built.

The pandemic also sparked the adoption of hybrid working models, which have led to a surge in the need for secure, cloud-based solutions.

As a result, organizations are turning to secure access service edge (SASE), a framework that enables dynamic and secure access for users, applications and devices at any location while providing comprehensive visibility of network activity.

It unites the software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) and network security services such as zero trust network access and secure web gateways through a single, cloud-native service at the network edge.

With the enhanced visibility enabled by SASE, organizations can identify security challenges sooner and address their root causes more effectively.

A new world of partnerships for security

A SASE transformation is not, however, always as simple as it seems. Many organizations are therefore opting to work with a managed service provider (MSP) to accelerate their adoption of the security framework.

In fact, the SASE market is experiencing rapid growth, with 45% of organizations planning to procure SASE solutions from MSPs by early 2024, according to ESG Research. This approach allows them to embark on and sustain their SASE journey more efficiently.

At NTT DATA, our end-to-end managed SASE solution is built on our partnership with Palo Alto Networks. In a recent webinar, Nicole Scheffler, Director of Solutions Management for SASE at Palo Alto Networks, and I discussed managed SASE solutions with Jim Reavis, CEO of the Cloud Security Alliance. I’ll share a few highlights here.

Business challenges and use cases

Three key business challenges are driving the need for managed SASE:

  • Hybrid workforces: The COVID-19 pandemic may have run its course, but hybrid working is here to stay. Employees, irrespective of their location, need consistent security policies and a uniform security experience.
  • Digital transformation and the move to cloud: As organizations embrace cloud-based operations, applications and workloads, traditional security methods are no longer sufficient. The integration of network and security infrastructure has become pivotal.
  • Branch transformations: Many large organizations are undergoing branch transformations – either in their network structure or in terms of their physical locations. These changes demand robust security solutions.

Against this backdrop, a managed SASE solution becomes an integral part of the ongoing enhancement of an organization’s network capabilities and performance.

It allows an organization to move from perimeter-based security to identity-level security – and, because it’s a cloud-based consumption model, there are cost savings to be realized in terms of security operations, infrastructure expenses and deployment costs.

And, because MSPs are at the forefront of innovation, it becomes simpler for organizations to access the tools they use, such as AI-based incident management with predictive monitoring and anomaly detection.

In 2023, according to Gartner® research, “over the next five years, the market for secure access service edge (SASE) will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 29%, reaching over $25 billion by 2027.”* We believe this shows that many organizations are making SASE their security tool of choice.

Start your journey to better security

If your organization is looking to improve security, you should first consider consulting an MSP to tailor a solution to your needs and guide you through the complexities while managing the project from onboarding to support.

Keep in mind that the effectiveness of a SASE solution will depend on its configuration. Having access to the expertise of an MSP from the start is therefore key to optimizing your network and security configurations.

The success of managed solutions lies not just in the technology but also in strong partnerships with MSPs that can leverage automation and AI scalability.

How NTT DATA and Palo Alto Networks work together

Palo Alto Networks Prisma SASE uses the principles of zero trust security to break down trust assumptions and secure users, infrastructure and applications. The solution emphasizes least-privileged access – meaning users should have access only to the specific data, resources and applications they need to complete a required task – and identity-based management.

Once users have gained access, continuous validation ensures their trustworthiness, while regular traffic inspections safeguard your data and applications.

Prisma SASE integrates seamlessly with NTT DATA’s Sentient Platform for Network Transformation (SPEKTRA), the next generation of our global services platform for managed network solutions, allowing us to present security infrastructure, observability, AI, incident management, automation and more as a cohesive whole.

In this way, the combination of Prisma SASE and the expertise of NTT DATA’s managed solution allows our clients to leverage the technology more quickly and efficiently.

* Gartner, Forecast Analysis: Secure Access Service Edge, Worldwide, October 2023. GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.

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