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Network Security Demands Drive SD-WAN and SASE Adoption

Businesses today face new security challenges that were not imaginable a few years ago. Workers and applications are widely distributed, meaning there is no hard edge to the enterprise network. And there is a need to integrate a large number of devices (smart sensors, wearables, IoT devices, and more) that the business has no control over. As a result, traditional security approaches must be replaced with modern ones that converge networking and security. These developments are driving great interest in technologies, including SD-WAN and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE).

Several recent reports confirm the demand and growing interest in such technologies.

In its SD-WAN platforms market analysis in April 2022, for example, research firm Omdia projected SD-WAN revenue of $6.4 billion for 2025, which represents a $600 million increase from the previous forecast. (Network Computing and Omdia -- both part of Informa PLC -- are teaming up to conduct new research on enterprise use of and opinions about SD-WAN and SASE.) 

Take Network Computing and Omdia's survey on SD-WAN and SASE here.

The Dell’Oro Group found that SASE growth soared over 30 percent in Q2 2022 vs. Q1. “Even in an environment of macro-economic angst, enterprises continued to strategically invest in SASE technologies to secure and improve connectivity for cloud-based apps and hybrid work,” said Mauricio Sanchez, Research Director, Network Security, and SASE & SD-WAN at Dell’Oro Group. “Both SASE’s components, SSE and SD-WAN, saw more than 30 percent growth, showing enterprises value SASE’s network and security transformation benefits.”

Another from Future Market Insights finds the adoption of SD-WAN security is anticipated to increase with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.2% from 2022 to 2032. That market is set to surpass $16.9 billion in that time.

The report notes this increased financial spend is due to the growing demand for complete protection and control against cyber threats. Another driving factor is the widespread move to hybrid and remote work, which has required employees to connect from outside the corporate network.

SD-WAN is considered to be one of the best technologies for addressing today’s connectivity and security challenges due to its blending of Software-Defined Networking (SDN) with fixed and mobile networks. In addition, SD-WAN security brings intelligence to the network, providing users with immediate visibility and control of network traffic, and is also a lower-price alternative to conventional networking.

What changed?

Security has always been an issue. But now, attacks are growing more sophisticated, well-financed by bad actor states, and driven by geopolitical reasons. And the consequences are more severe. The average cost of a data breach has increased 2.6% from $4.24 million in 2021 to $4.35 million in 2022, according to IBM’s annual Cost of a Data Breach Report, featuring research by the Ponemon Institute. Additionally, the average cost has climbed 12.7% from $3.86 million in the 2020 report.

Network managers and businesses are taking notice. The 2022 State of the Network Management Report, based on a survey of 300 information technology professionals, found that:

  • 81% of those surveyed were concerned or very concerned about cyberattacks.
  • Half of the respondents rated network security as one of their most pressing network management priorities for the next 12 to 24 months, making it the top priority.

For most, the path to security modernization requires a hybrid approach that combines on-premises solutions and data center elements, such as firewalls and VPNs.

That is a change from the past. For years, security was added on, an overlay to networking solutions. But networks and threats have changed, so security needs to evolve as well. To improve agility and productivity, businesses must address new digital technologies and practices that redefine the network edge. And in today’s network-connected devices and work-from-anywhere world, users and devices move between on-premises locations, interconnected branch locations, home offices, and temporary locations during travel.

That means the network edge is more dynamic and dispersed than ever, which increases the attack surface and exposes the business to new, advanced threats. Now, multiple edge environments may include WAN, multi-cloud, data center, Internet of Things (IoT), and home and other remote workspaces. Each edge has different types of risks and vulnerabilities that allow attackers to gain access to the network.

Now businesses must adopt new technologies that might include Zero Trust, SD-WAN, and SASE. These security approaches shift the focal point of security to the identity and context of the user or device.

Take our SD-WAN and SASE survey

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