Have you ever used a recipe to make a dish without modifying it in any way? We often choose and modify the ingredients to suit our tastes and preferences. In the same way, choices with networking (SD-WAN) and security (SSE) solutions allow you to choose, build and modify your SASE solution by creating an ecosystem that is tailored to your specific business needs and objectives. 

Hybrid work and cloud-transforming enterprise networking 

With the accelerated shift towards hybrid work and cloud-first strategies, the definition of networking and security has changed for most of us. By the time you read the introduction of this blog, millions of users will have accessed applications and workloads outside their network perimeter. Network transformation is changing the way networks are connected, moving from traditional networks to more cloud-based architectures to add more services and keep costs down. As we expect this demand to accelerate for Software-as-a-service and cloud services, organizations are seeking seamless transitions and flexible approaches for delivering secured connectivity and superior user experiences.

This is where secure access service edge (SASE) comes in – combining networking and security functions into a single service delivered from the cloud to support the dynamic secure access needs of modern enterprises. However, with diverse business environments, each with its own unique security needs and limitations, transitioning to a SASE architecture can be challenging. No two organizations today are in the same place when it comes to adopting SASE. We understand everyone starts from a different place and that’s why a flexible approach that provides incremental wins along the way is significant.

Expanded Cisco SASE ecosystem for flexibility and choice that accelerates your SASE journey 

Every SASE journey is unique, and you need the flexibility to get there your way. Cisco can help your organization realize SASE in many ways. If your organization is looking for a unified SASE architecture, Cisco SD-WAN and Cisco Umbrella will meet your needs.  Cisco Umbrella provides leading security solutions and has deeper integration with Cisco SD-WAN. However, some may prefer a gradual implementation or a two-vendor strategy for the SASE deployment. Cisco has expanded its SASE ecosystem by collaborating with third-party Secure Service Edge (SSE) vendors Zscaler, Cloudflare, and Netskope, allowing you to build SASE architectures using your preferred cloud security vendors. The collaboration with third-party vendors offers greater flexibility and choice for your IT teams and facilitates seamless evolution to a dual-vendor SASE architecture. This flexible approach allows our partners to offer a range of deployment options for SASE services.

Cisco SD-WAN expands the range of SSE choices available to organizations implementing SASE  
Figure 1. Cisco SD-WAN expands the range of SSE choices available to organizations implementing SASE

Greater monitoring and visibility to meet your security needs  

In addition, Cisco has begun a collaboration with Splunk, one of the market leaders in the Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) space, to help you with a comprehensive Security Operations Center (SOC) dashboard. The Cisco SD-WAN and Splunk collaboration enable visualization and analysis of the security and connection-related logs generated from SD-WAN. Some examples of use cases enabled by the collaboration for the security operations persona include:

  • A holistic view of all the security events captured by the SD-WAN security stack.
  • Ability to examine any security event at the device level along with traffic patterns occurring when the security event was triggered.
Cisco SD-WAN App for Splunk Provides SecOps with Increased Visibility into Threats 
Figure 2.  Cisco SD-WAN App for Splunk Provides SecOps with Increased Visibility into Threats

Benefits of Cisco SASE Solutions

Get a jumpstart on your SASE journey with these key benefits:

Simplified configuration and streamlined IT management

The flexibility and ease of integration between Cisco SD-WAN and SSE vendors – Zscaler, Cloudflare, and Netskope, makes it simpler for your IT teams to use the combination of advanced SD-WAN and cloud security capabilities to set up and maintain a secure and efficient network. The reduced configuration workload for your IT teams frees them up to focus on more strategic initiatives while still ensuring optimal performance and security of your network.

Cost efficiencies by protecting existing SSE investments

The collaboration between Cisco SD-WAN and Zscaler, Cloudflare, and Netskope will allow you to safeguard your existing cloud security solutions investments.

Quick deployment with proven integration

End-to-end validation of these SSE integrations on Cisco SD-WAN architecture with design, deployment, and reference guides that enables easy deployments of SASE.  You won’t need to spend time and resources on testing, configuring, or integrating Cisco SD-WAN with these cloud security platforms. Our team has already completed the necessary evaluations to confirm that the integration of Cisco SD-WAN with Netskope/Cloudflare will be successful for our customers.

Multiple deployment options for Partners/MSPs

The Cisco SD-WAN and these SSE collaborations provide a range of SASE deployment options for our Partners and Managed Service Providers (MSPs), allowing them to utilize a mix of networking and cloud security solutions to offer multiple managed options to enterprises at different stages of their SASE journey. Whether an enterprise is just starting out on its SASE journey or has adopted a SASE architecture, Partners and MSPs can use Cisco SD-WAN and SSE collaborations to offer them the right level of support and security.

Improved security operations with advanced analytics

In addition to visibility and analytics one can get from vManage, integration between Cisco SD-WAN and Splunk gives you access to important security analytics, ensuring that your Security Operations Center (SOC) team is aware of all security events happening on your network. This integration allows you to have a complete view of your network security and enables your SOC team to promptly identify and address any potential threats.

Flexibility to build a unique SASE solution

The journey towards fully realizing the benefits of SASE requires the transformation of both WAN and security architectures. For some, this may mean taking a flexible approach to SASE by leveraging a range of networking and security solutions to meet their unique business needs. Cisco SD-WAN and ZScaler, Cloudflare and Netskope collaborations offer you the ability to configure, build, and deploy a SASE solution that best fits your needs, giving you the freedom to choose the ingredients for your unique SASE recipe.

Learn more about our vast

Cisco SD-WAN Technology Alliances


JL Valente

Vice President, Product Management, Enterprise Routing and SD-WAN

Networking Experiences Team