As described by Gartner, Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) is a combination of networking and security services. Unifying both provides businesses with a streamlined and future-thinking approach to orchestrate their IT infrastructure. However, as a solution, it has its fair share of challenges in terms of deployment, administration, and management.
There are several routes that a business can take to transition to SASE: doing everything themselves or going to a vendor are just some of the options. For this reason, Managed Service Providers (MSPs) can be incredibly useful when making the leap more streamlined and convenient.
How do MSPs help enterprises migrate to SASE?
MSPs can reach out a helping hand to businesses that don’t want or can’t implement SASE by themselves. Enterprise as a client just picks what they need from MSPs, and everything is done for them. Though, it’s not unheard of to have a MSP provider choose the needed components for the organization. This converged approach is more effective and saves client organizations time.
The external experts help businesses that may not have on-site specialists that could help them navigate various specific challenges associated with SASE. Choosing a SASE vendor is one of the most important IT decisions a business can make, so it’s very helpful to have someone to deal with product analysis, narrowing down the needed technologies, and planning network security schemes. It’s one of the most hassle-free methods to ensure optimal user experience when the transition to SASE is completed.
MSP benefits for SASE implementation
Here is the list of principal benefits that MSPs bring to businesses moving to the SASE framework.
As MSPs provide their security and networking services in a very niche field, they have amassed considerable expertise in helping clients overcome various challenges associated with SASE. Dealing with various vendor platforms is something that MSPs deal with daily, so they already have all the necessary knowledge for in-depth consultations.
One of the most important benefits that MSPs can provide is scale. Simultaneously they can support thousands of clients as their multi-tenant architectures are equipped to do just that. Most MSPs also invest resources to have multiple points of presence across the globe to provide service without interruptions for globally distributed workforces. A broad reach is paramount in ensuring stable connectivity when setting up SD-WAN elements of SASE infrastructure.
MSPs are often regarded as the quickest route to implement SASE. Going from the drawing board to operating infrastructure takes little time. As MSP has all bases covered, this means very rapid implementation of SASE services. In turn, this also cuts the time and creates a quick route to instant value.
As SASE is a complex service with many critical components, it can be difficult to wrap your head around what should be done first. MSPs can guide organizations through this minefield by clearly defining priorities that should be achieved. Not to mention that some SASE service components can be implemented only after completing some prerequisites. MSPs, therefore, streamline the whole rollout procedure by keeping it on track.
A typical business could be stuck at the proof of concept level when planning its SASE service approach, which can be costly and time-consuming. MSPs have an in-depth understanding of their client's pain points, which makes them more equipped to tackle various practical issues. This saves the trouble of going the trial-and-error route when implementing SASE without external help.
How to choose the right MSP for SASE implementation
While MSPs help you to create SASE that works for you, you still need to pick an MSP provider that would be the right fit for you.
1. Know which MSP type is right for you
The first decision you’ll have to make is to pick one of the main MSP types.
Build and operate — this type handles full SASE deployment, including software and hardware configurations, monitoring performance, and integrated response to incidents. This involves not only the setup but ongoing maintenance.
Build and transfer — MSP designs, configures, and deploys all needed equipment and transfers it to the client. From the handover, the customer is responsible for its maintenance.
Takeover — after the organization creates and deploys its SASE solution, MSP makes strategic decisions for operations outsourcing.
Note that there still can be varieties and hybrids of these models. The agreements could be time-based, as the provider will maintain everything for a set duration, after which the organization agrees to take over.
2. Do background research on MSP capabilities
The second part of the equation is that MSP should match the organization’s requirements:
Can MSP match the enterprise’s scale?
Are necessary network security services provided?
Does MSP have the required expertise within the customer’s industry?
Are connectivity services provided along with security?
Is MSP providing an integrated product or combining different tools from separate providers?
A good match should align across the board with your setup requirements.
3. Check the price/value ratio
It’s essential to calculate whether relying on MSP makes sense financially. The return on investment can vary greatly depending on the used services, company size, and other agreements. This is a helpful exercise to rethink priorities and get the best solution that makes sense not only securely but money-wise.
4. Look into the SLA agreement
Finally, there is a question about legally binding contracts. MSPs heavily rely on Service Level Agreements to establish expectations with their clients. The document outlines the services that will be provided, the objectives, and any other relevant prerequisites. SLA metrics can vary greatly from one MSP to another, and it’s a client’s responsibility to ensure that their needs are addressed.
How can NordLayer help?
SASE and its network security component, Secure Service Edge, is an essential cornerstone of most enterprises’ digital transition. SSE combines cybersecurity technologies and concepts like ZTNA to deliver internet access security and network access management. This allows the development of a future-focused approach to an organization’s cybersecurity for growing modern businesses.
NordLayer's ZTNA solutions help to reduce risks associated with hybrid work or globally distributed workforces. As a complimentary addition to your IT infrastructure, it enhances network access control by segmenting the user base through Virtual Private Gateways and filtering out malicious websites from the employees’ browsing.
Get in touch with our experts today, and learn how NordLayer could improve your network security with a click of a button.