Masergy goes bigger and bolder into SASE arena by taking best-of-breed approach

Masergy has rounded up various vendor partners, its network and its SD-WAN expertise to beef up its SASE capabilities. While some vendors, such as Cato Networks and Palo Alto Networks, are building their own secure access service edge (SASE) platforms themselves, others, including, Masergy, are taking a best-of-breed approach.

Gartner introduced and defined SASE over a year ago, and since then the SASE has become one of the hottest tech topics in 2020. The short definition of SASE is it converges the functions of network and security point solutions into a unified, global cloud-native service, according to Gartner.

The longer definition is it's a new package of technologies that includes network security, FWaaS (firewall-as-a-service), zero-trust network access, DNS, cloud secure web gateway (SWG), and CASB (cloud access security brokers), among other features, for a hybrid cloud-based service model over a wide-area network (WAN). 

Masergy has bulked up its own SD-WAN Secure solution to make a bigger play into the SASE space by expanding cloud firewalls into all of its global points-of-presence (POPs). Masergy announced on Monday that it had integrated Fortinet’s FortiGate Next-Generation Firewalls integrate NGFW and SD-WAN capabilities onto a single platform and deployed them in all of its software-defined network POPs as well as integrated them into its SD-WAN and security policies.

Cloud firewalls enable faster deployments and more agility. Masergy is also offering a hybrid option that includes on-premise firewall appliances. Masergy said its approach allows it to put firewalls in the cloud and at the network edge. This past summer, Masergy announced it was using Fortinet's secure edge architecture for its Unified Threat Management service.

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Masergy also previously partnered with Bitglass for a managed CASB service and cloud workload protection. On Monday, Masergy announced it had integrated the Bitglass CASB solution into its software-defined network and cloud platform.

In its press release, Masergy said most software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications don't have integrated security controls. Using a CASB solution secures cloud applications, which is especially important in the current "work-from-anywhere" business environment.

The turnkey SASE service can be managed by Masergy's security analysts across global security operation centers in North America, Europe and Asia.

Masergy is also continuing to build out zero trust network access capabilities with a near-term roadmap that includes single sign on (SSO), authentication, and authorization based on user, device, and location, which enforces highly granular access controls on a need-to-have basis.

Additionally, Masergy is integrating its AIOps solution across its SASE capabilities. Masergy AIOps serves as a virtual network engineer by automatically evaluating the network and making recommendations to optimize performance. Masergy said it also plans to deliver AI-driven SASE solutions and autonomous networking, but didn't provide a timeframe for when they would be market-ready.

By 2024, more than 60% of SD-WAN customers will have implemented a SASE architecture, compared with about 35% in 2020, according to Gartner's latest SASE forecast. According to a recent report by Dell'Oro Group, SASE is expected to grow at a CAGR of 116% from last year to 2024.

“At this early stage in the market, each company is doing SASE differently, and the converged tech stack is a marquee moment,” said Zeus Kerravala, founder and principal analyst, ZK Research, in a statement. “Right now, IT leaders are trying to make a judgment call on whether they can trust one SASE provider with their own homegrown technologies to span five disparate industries, giving them a world-class experience across all arenas."