Lumen widens SASE reach with cloud-first security, global access

Lumen Technologies has revamped its secure access service edge (SASE) service to make more security options available for cloud environments. The company also made its Lumen SASE Solutions available to U.S-based enterprises operating outside of the country for the first time.

SASE is a converged networking and security framework coined by Gartner that integrates networking (typically an SD-WAN) and security capabilities, providing a cloud-native solution to ensure secure access to applications and data for distributed users. The security component of SASE, dubbed security service edge (SSE), is a cloud-based security suite that includes cloud access security broker (CASB), zero-trust network access (ZTNA), secure web gateway (SWG) and firewall-as-a-service (FWaaS).

Last year Lumen launched its SASE Solutions, an all-digital integrated service for the purchase, configuration and management of enterprise SASE. Lumen first partnered with Fortinet and VMWare, later adding Versa Networks to offer SASE software, on-premises equipment and remote access clients. The company deploys its partners’ SASE software across fiber provider networks by leveraging the Lumen Platform.

Initially, Lumen was only able to provide on-prem SSE functionality for its Fortinet and Versa portfolios. Now those capabilities will be pushed into the cloud environment, allowing Lumen customers to “in some cases almost instantaneously access SSE on cloud,” said Darren Wolner, Lumen senior director of SASE product management. VMware’s SSE portfolio was already available in cloud environments before.

However, enterprises using Lumen’s SASE Solutions can mix and match their SD-WAN and security choices so that both pieces don’t necessarily need to be from a single vendor.

Lumen this week also introduced new cloud-hosted gateways that reduce the need for premise-based equipment by providing remote access to data and cloud applications. “Lumen-hosted” gateways, as the company is calling them, enable SASE users to provision services in the cloud with help from automation. The gateways will also allow network teams to migrate off shared gateways and onto dedicated nodes for better centralized security.

Wolner noted that Lumen realizes enterprises are still going to need on-prem capabilities going forward, and will continue to facilitate a hybrid cloud and on-prem approach. The platform aims to allow enterprises to “grow as they go with their service adoption,” he told Fierce.

Lumen SASE goes international

In the company’s global expansion news, Lumen will now be able to service the Versa, Fortinet or VMware SASE portfolios in EMEA and Canada. Before, Lumen was limited to providing SASE solutions to U.S. sites unless enterprises went through the company’s professional services arm.

That expansion will still be restricted to U.S-based enterprises and apply only to premise-based SASE services, but Wolner said global availability will be “very important” for Lumen’s customers who have multinational needs.

According to Wolner, Lumen is in talks to add more vendor portfolios to Lumen SASE Solutions, although he was unable to disclose who those prospective companies are. Fortinet, VMware and Versa “are very strong,” he said, “but we are actively working with a couple of others to consider when to add them into the mix.”