- Published on 26 December 2023
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The continued rise of single-vendor SASE offerings promises benefits to businesses. What are the pros and cons of the security architecture option?
Mounting interest in single-vendor SASE solutions looks to be on the road to flipping the market away from multi-vendor offerings that have been tracked since pre-Covid.
Some market research reports done this year confirm that more enterprises are opting for one company, as opposed to multiple technology firms, to provide and pull together all crucial pieces of the SASE architecture. One example is from Dell’Oro Group, where its research found that while multi-vendor solutions have accounted for most of the market for years, single-vendor SASE solutions will take the lead this year.
Another report by the Gartner Group found that single-vendor SASE offerings are expected to constitute one-third of all new deployments by 2025. That is up from just 10% last year.
Why is the single vendor SASE trend paramount to IT leaders?
Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) is an enterprise networking technology category introduced by Gartner in 2019. It converges the functions of network and security solutions into a unified, global cloud-native service. SASE allows an architectural transformation of enterprise networking and security. That, in turn, lets IT provide an agile and adaptable service to its users. It combines WAN edge services with Secure Service Edge tools and services to securely connect remote users and sites to data, cloud services, and the enterprise.
Enterprises are finding single-vendor SASE offerings more appealing than before. That's largely because the segment maturity has and continues to increase, which has resulted in an increase in comfort in purchasing an entire security architecture package from a single vendor, according to Dell’Oro Group.
Single-vendor SASE benefits
With this approach, one SASE provider delivers multiple benefits. The offerings typically:
- Converge network and security capabilities into a single, cloud-delivered service.
- Enable enterprises to consolidate different point products, drop appliances, and empower consistent policy enforcement.
- Cut integration and management times and resources between multiple SASE components.
- Make it easier to monitor and troubleshoot.
- Attain granular SLAs spanning all aspects of performance provided by the single vendor to cut finger-pointing.
Potential disadvantages with single vendor approach
Going with a single vendor approach with SASE is not without risk, according to Ian Barkin, a business of technology and management issues expert, founder of 2B Ventures, and an MIT Management Graduate. He notes that some points to consider with a single vendor solution are that:
- Enterprises face vendor lock-in, where you are dependent on one vendor with limited power in negotiations and changes.
- Businesses may miss innovation and new capabilities that working with multiple providers can often deliver – and faster.
- Depth and breadth of expertise and resources that may exceed what is available with a single vendor that may be available by a multiple vendor team.
- Enterprises may have to deal with quality issues or service disruptions if the vendor underperforms or fails.
Another technology expert believes single vendor SASE solutions are an “overpromise” and that finding a single SASE provider is easier said than done.
"They promise simplicity, integration, and a single point of contact for support," began Matthew McKee, Director of Technology and Transformation at Bluewave Technology Group, a tech assessment and evaluation firm. "However, in practice, finding a single vendor that excels in all the areas encompassed by SASE can be a daunting, if not impossible, task, and that's before layering in the unique requirements of your business." Network solutions and security are complex fields, each comprising multiple sub-disciplines. It is rare to find a single vendor with top-tier expertise in all these areas."
The top SASE vendors: Key takeaways
The most important point when it comes to teaming with a top SASE vendor is that the companies in the market offer a wide array of services and solutions. Some of the vendors deliver a complete and managed SASE service. These offerings are often called single-vendor SASE solutions. Others supply either critical SD-WAN or cloud-based security solutions and then, in turn, team with a vendor or provider that complements their offering to build a complete SASE solution. Given these points, how should businesses advance their understanding of SASE single vendor approaches and beyond?
Technology research and analysis firms such as Gartner Group and Dell 'Oro Group have recently published reports on single-vendor SASE, with most positioning vendors based on what they offer and what they lack.
Reviewing independent research combined with content that explains SASE basics, market trends, and relevant industry developments will aid in your undertakings.