Thinking SASE Transformation? Use Criterion SDCloud to Answer These 3 Guiding Questions to Get There

Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) architectures are rapidly gaining ground as enterprises look to modernize and transform their network and security infrastructure to better accommodate for cloud computing and distributed workforces. Popularized by Gartner in their 2019 report ‘The Future of Network Security is in the Cloud’, SASE represents the confluence of SD-WAN and cloud security capabilities such as firewall-as-a-service (FWaaS), cloud access security broker (CASB), and zero-touch network access (ZTNA). It is estimated that by 2024, at least 40% of enterprises will have explicit strategies to adopt SASE, up from less than 1% at year-end 2018.

Architecturally, SASE is a significant break from the past for enterprises, reflecting an entirely new set of traffic patterns and security policies for cloud and application, and end-user and endpoint.

The goal for SASE is a more agile, more secure, more cost-effective infrastructure. To get there, you’ll need to answer these 3 guiding questions:

  1. What’s the right SASE architecture for my business?
  2. How am I going to evaluate all of the different vendor options?
  3. How will I put the solution I select into production?

At Criterion Networks, we eat, breath, and sleep network transformation. So naturally a lot of our time with customers and partners is devoted to SD-WAN and SASE transformation use-cases. What we’ve found is that for many customers transformation to SD-WAN and SASE can be challenging in part because of the scale of some of the undertakings, but more because the new architectures themselves are virtual and largely abstract in nature. Unlike current architectures where much of the infrastructure is physical and concrete, be it physical switches, routers, appliances, etc., the new architectures are heavily virtualized and more service based, making it more challenging to build prototypes or lab environments for testing, validating and staging solutions.

This leaves many enterprises stuck in neutral. They need an environment where they can design and validate new networks, evaluate new products and technologies, and stage solutions for team readiness and production rollout. Our Criterion SDCloud platform is designed to meet these needs, helping enterprises get out of neutral and in gear. With Criterion SDCloud, you will be able to answer the three guiding questions and build a SASE transformation game plan with ease and confidence.

What’s the right SASE architecture for my business?

Your network infrastructure, like your business is unique. It’s unique today, and it will be unique again after you transform it. For SASE transformation, you’ll invariably be connecting legacy networks and resources plus a slew of new cloud-based security services, all tied together with a cloud-controlled SD-WAN fabric. So how do you develop and validate an architecture with such complexity and scale? Building something physical won’t do the trick as we discussed earlier.  And simple network diagrams won’t allow you any way to validate designs or model performance in advance of deployment.

Our Criterion SDCloud platform and Design Center re-write this playbook. The drag-and-drop canvas allows you to design new networks, SASE of note, and allows you to simulate real-world traffic conditions and security policies. You can even connect these newly created designs directly to public cloud services, lab resources, and production networks and run live traffic or impair links to see just how your new designs will perform and behave. More than you ever could do with a network drawing package and more than you could ever do in a traditional lab setting. And in the end, an architecture or set of architectures that you know will work for your needs.

How am I going to evaluate all of the different vendor options?

With design(s) in hand, the next big and obvious question is what vendor or set of vendors to select. The way it is today, each SD-WAN or SASE vendor wheels in their own kit, or virtual kit as the case may be, to demonstrate their respective capabilities. And while each of the demo kits serve the vendors and products well to highlight differentiators and benefits, what’s missing in the equation is how exactly these products and services will perform in your network environment. Not solving for this part of the equation leaves considerable guesswork as you try to move from vendor product demo to production pilot to production rollout.

To solve for this, you can create a new playing field for your vendors with Criterion SDCloud Experience Center. Import the designs you’ve created with Design Center into the Experience Center to create proof-of-concept and sandboxing environments for vendor evaluation. Use the Experience Center to your advantage and arrive at the SASE solution that’s best for you by having the vendors of your choice all work off of one common set of topologies and conditions…yours.

How will I put the solution I select into production?

Designs created. Check.

Vendors selected. Check.

The last question, how will you put the new architecture into production? In the old world, if you had built a prototype in the lab you would still need to go through a number of steps to procure equipment for the build, do the staging, and then deploy it to various locations. A lot of physical, manual steps and a lot of time.

In the world of cloud networking there’s a better and faster way. Our RapidDeploy feature, for example, built into Design Center allows you to go from design to production in just a few clicks. Validate routing topologies, failure scenarios, and security policies in Design Center and then let RapidDeploy do the rest by pushing policies and configurations to production elements via an automated API-driven framework. These same capabilities can even be extended to post-Day 1 operations, streamlining software upgrades and policy updates.

Take the next steps – Make your SASE transformation a reality with Criterion Networks

Now is the time to build your game plan for SASE and here are some next steps. Start by asking yourself the three question above. If you need answers, then take the next step and join us for our upcoming webinar ‘Accelerating SASE Transformation’, Thursday, October 8, at 9am PT. See Criterion SDCloud in action for yourself with some of the leading SASE use-cases. After that, contact us to schedule your own free trial in your environment. Together, let’s answer these three questions for you and make your SASE transformation a reality.