Aryaka gains SASE features with Secucloud acquisition

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Aryaka, provider of a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) service, today revealed it has acquired Secucloud GmbH, a startup offering a secure access service edge (SASE) service. Terms of the deal, which closed in April, were not disclosed.

Secucloud will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Aryaka to give customers the option to continue employing other security frameworks on top of the Aryaka SD-WAN service, Aryaka exec Shashi Kiran told VentureBeat.

Integration

Secucloud’s firewall-as-a-service capabilities will be embedded in the Aryaka service starting later this year, Kiran added. Organizations will have the option of employing that embedded capability or continuing to rely on firewalls and gateways from the third-party partners — such as Check Point Software, Palo Alto Networks, and Zscaler — that Aryaka deploys in various points of presence on behalf of customers. In some cases, customers will opt to do both, he noted.

Interest in SASE platforms and services has risen in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Gartner predicts the SASE market will grow from $4.5 billion in 2021 to $10.9 billion in 2024, a 42% compound annual growth rate. The return of on-site employees following increased vaccination rates highlights SASE services’ ability to help people flexibly work from anywhere. “First we saw the great migration from the office to the home,” Kiran said, “Now we’re starting to see the reverse migration.”

Industry shift

As a result, more IT organizations are debating the degree to which they can continue relying on legacy virtual private networking (VPN) platforms and services that secure connections by creating a tunnel through a firewall. A SASE service, by contrast, secures connections over an SD-WAN using firewalls. That approach provides the added benefit of routing network traffic more efficiently by enabling direct access to a cloud service versus backhauling network traffic through a datacenter. In effect, the SD-WAN replaces a traditional router with a platform that ensures a better application experience within the context of a larger zero trust IT architecture. In comparison, it’s relatively easy to compromise the credentials of a VPN user.

Many organizations are already moving toward integrated SASE/SD-WAN platforms and services. Aryaka recently surveyed 1,300 global enterprises and found 29% are deploying networks based on what they describe as a SASE architecture. Another 56% are planning to deploy a SASE architecture in the next 12-24 months. Only 12% plan to rely on their security vendor to provide all the WAN components, which is one of the reasons the company is acquiring Secucloud.

Secure networking services

It’s not clear to what degree IT organizations are going to rely on a network service managed via the cloud versus deploying SD-WANs themselves. But as organizations devote more resources to building and deploying custom applications, many of them are opting to reallocate resources by, for example, relying more on networking services instead of hiring additional network engineers.

The transition to the next generation of secure networking services will take time, given the current widespread reliance on VPN software and services. In the early days of the pandemic, many organizations simply increased the number of VPN licenses they could simultaneously employ to enable employees to work from home. The inertia within organizations that employ VPNs is fairly high. VPNs are relatively simple to employ when less than 10% of the workforce needs to work remotely, but when the bulk of employees are working remotely in ways that are hard to predict from one day to the next, VPNs don’t tend to scale well. An integrated SASE/SD-WAN approach will more flexibly scale up and down to address the needs of an unknown number of remote users requiring access to an undetermined amount of network bandwidth.

It’s too early to say how integrated SD-WAN/SASE service providers will fair as legacy providers of telecommunications services and various providers of cloud services and content delivery networks (CDNs) continue to evolve. The probability of a wave of mergers and acquisitions is high.

Regardless of how that network bandwidth is delivered, however, securing connections will always be a paramount concern.

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