Challenges implementing SASE, and better strategies.


In a recent panel discussion at SECtember, industry experts John Spiegel and Jaye Tillson of Axis / HPE joined 3 Tree Tech managing partner, Eric Skeens to discuss the challenges implementing SASE.

The trio focused their comments on the evolving landscape of network security and the integration of SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) frameworks. The conversation not only centered on challenges implementing SASE, but the solutions on how to implement, and the need for a change in focus on network security, particularly in the context of distributed workforces and applications.

Tillson opened the discussion by explaining the concept of SASE. Introduced by Gartner in 2019 it was the convergence of network and security services into a single, cloud-delivered model aimed at supporting both dynamic and secure access needs of organizations. Tillson emphasized the importance of Zero Trust as the foundation of SASE, stating, “For me, the foundation underpinning all these technologies is zero trust.”

Challenges implementing SASE—information silos

Spiegel, reflecting on the dilemma faced by security and network engineers, underscored the traditional trade-off between speed and security. He argued that the SASE framework attempts to reconcile this by “bringing together the network sphere and the security sphere,” thus ensuring both speed and security without compromise.

Skeens highlighted the role of technology in aligning resources, and the importance of perspective-taking in overcoming the silos between network and security teams. He pointed out the financial benefits of adopting a SASE model, as illustrated by Tillson’s experience of reallocating savings from network budget cuts to enhance security measures.

How to encourage collaboration between network and security.

The panelists agreed on the necessity of breaking down silos within organizations and why these communication breakdowns leads to challenges implementing SASE. The antidote is to encourage collaboration between network and security teams. But how does this practically work? At Columbia Sportswear, Spiegel recalled how he aligned teams by co-locating them and setting common goals. Even for tech-minded folks, he stressed the power of storytelling and financial narrative in making real change internally.

Tillson shared a case study from his time at a global manufacturer, where he leveraged architectural budget savings to secretly boost security funding. He advised attendees to consider their overall budget and to collaborate with different departments to enhance security without compromising user experience.

The discussion concluded with Skeens, Tillson and Spiegel advocating for a unified approach to network security, where simplification and user experience are paramount. They called for security to be an enabler rather than a barrier, and for organizations to adopt a more holistic view of their technological and financial strategies. (The enabler/barrier concern goes beyond challenges implementing SASE, but even challenges implementing CX strategies.)

In summary, the panelists provided a compelling argument for the integration of SASE frameworks as a means to enhance security posture while maintaining, network performance and user experience. But even the best plans, can’t be integrated when critical team members don’t collaborate—strategic storytelling and co-location help break down technological silos, drive the adoption of SASE, and drive operations forward.

Justin Kent

Justin Kent is Editor in Chief for 3 Tree Tech. His work focuses on how security and CX technology empower leaders to scale faster. He has previously written for The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Harvard Business Review and others.