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Despite the hype, pandemic-driven remote work has not led to wholesale SASE and SDP adoption - study

Only 12% of enterprises worldwide have fully embraced Secure Access Service Edge, according to a new survey from NetMotion. 

Despite the hype, the survey found pandemic-driven remote work has not led to wholesale SASE and SDP adoption, and enterprise VPNs remain the most widely trusted technology to serve distributed workforces.

NetMotion, a provider of security solutions for the mobile and remote workforce, announced the findings of its inaugural Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) global survey, revealing that although many public and private sector organisations have elements of SASE in their IT stack, only 12% worldwide currently have a comprehensive SASE architecture.

Coined by Gartner in 2019, Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) represents a security framework or philosophy that combines the capabilities of SD-WAN and VPN technologies with cloud-native security functions such as zero-trust network access, CASB, firewalls and other technology. At its heart, SASE is an amalgamation of many existing tools coming together to help businesses reduce network complexity, deliver better security and reduce costs all things that todays distributed organisations desperately need.

As the unexpected growth of remote working greatly accelerated conversations around secure remote access solutions, NetMotion surveyed 750 IT leaders, including CIOs, CTOs, IT and network directors, as well as security analysts across legal, finance, public safety, transportation, healthcare and government sectors. The goal was to quantify and qualify the hype around SASE while ascertaining the popularity of various network and security solutions deployed by organisations around the world.

The survey found that two-thirds (67%) of respondents report confidence in their understanding of the comprehensive SASE framework. However, one quarter of organisations (26%) do not embrace the SASE philosophy at all (nor do they have immediate plans to), while just over one-third (35%) currently embrace it in less than half of their technology stack.

"While SASE is likely to represent the future of network availability, optimisation and cybersecurity, our survey revealed that the perception of accelerated adoption is much greater than the current reality, which is that the vast majority of enterprises are not yet close to fully embracing this framework," says Christopher Kenessey, CEO and President of NetMotion. 

"Our survey makes it clear that we are only at the very beginning of the SASE evolution, and that many organisations don't yet fully appreciate the benefits of going all in on this approach," he says.

Other key survey findings include:

Only 67% of respondents in the United States can confidently explain the principles of SASE, compared to 81% in the United Kingdom and 78% in Australia

The utilities and energy sectors reported the highest share of complete SASE adoption (17%), with legal (14%), finance (12%) and healthcare (11%) following closely behind

IT teams are taking the lead in SASE implementation (52%), while security teams (21%) and network teams (18%) are also responsible at some organisations

VPN is the most widely deployed SASE solution (54%), followed by WAN optimisation (49%), cloud secure web gateways (46%), firewall-as-a-service (39%) and SD-WAN (29%)

Despite their hype over the last two years, ZTNA/SDP and edge content filtering are the least widely deployed SASE solutions (15%), although filtering content at the edge is most prevalent in the US (23%), perhaps driven by the need to ensure compliance and security amidst the growth in remote working

Only 56% of organisations have begun to adopt a zero-trust posture while 24% do not plan to, suggesting that IT leaders either don't understand zero trust as well as they claim to, or that they are overestimating their own capabilities