The world is changing, and the workforce is changing with it. The move to distributed teams, telework and pop-up clinics has only accelerated the path to cloud adoption that customers have been on the past few years. IT professionals surveyed by ESG say that half of the workforce will be operating remotely in 2021. The survey also says that 60% of organizations expect that the majority of their applications will be delivered as SaaS then, too*. This makes the Internet itself the wide-area-network, displacing traditional WAN connectivity like MPLS. Enterprises want to be able to extend their reach from campus and branch offices into their employee’s home offices and micro-branches, as part of this distributed workforce trend.
The architectural concept for today’s SD-WAN is often called Secure Access Service Edge (SASE). It reflects the reality that WAN security and features today must be distributed, cloud-based, flexible, and agile. But there is a clear need for an integrated solution from a single vendor and Cisco has been working on this for the past several quarters. Today, we are proud to announce that with the latest 17.2 release of Cisco SD-WAN, we have the industry’s first fully integrated SASE offering that combines best-of-breed SD-WAN with the cutting-edge Cisco Umbrella Cloud Security portfolio.
Cisco SD-WAN 17.2 offers customers:
- Simple Management and One-touch Connectivity from SD-WAN to Umbrella Secure Internet Gateway (SIG),
- Deployment Flexibility for any design – Teleworker, Branch or Campus
- Automatic assessment of the Identity of the user and their context, to enforce policies,
- Simple and Flexible Consumption models that include Cloud Security capabilities at no additional cost,
- A complement of the Cisco SD-WAN on-premise security stack that includes the newly added SSL Proxy capability.
We have heard loud and clear from our customers that they simply do not have the time or the resources to stitch together disparate products and build their own SASE solutions. The analogy that customers have given us is that no one wants to buy different parts of a car and assemble it themselves anymore!
Cisco has a clear, differentiated strategy that will enable customers to get the best of SD-WAN and Cloud security as a single, integrated solution. I truly believe no other company is better positioned than Cisco to help customers on their SASE journey as we navigate this new environment.
However, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to innovations in our new 17.2 SD-WAN release. We are enabling 60+ innovations in this release. Beyond the SASE innovations described above, here are a few more of the most noteworthy capabilities.
- Unified Communication Integration: With a growing demand from customers for reliable and secure unified communication from private and public clouds over broadband internet connections, Cisco SD-WAN now supports Unified Communications, with a voice gateway capability. This allows customers to create a communication network that ensures an optimized UC application experience, and it can be managed from a single dashboard.
- Cloud OnRamp for SaaS: We continue our Cloud OnRamp journey by adding OnRamp capabilities to the industry’s most-used SaaS products: Office365 plus 14 other SaaS products on the IOS XE portfolio. This will enable customers to get a differentiated user experience for SaaS, using their existing ISR router installed base.
- Managed Service Provider Innovations: Cisco has the largest ecosystem of managed service providers, reflecting our understanding of the complexity of providing a managed SD-WAN offering to our joint customers. We continue to enable our MSPs to deliver flexible and customized WAN services through capabilities like CLI templates that unlock the power of 30+ years of IOS innovations to the SD-WAN. This complements our new post-paid licensing packages.
We have already seen over 3000 downloads of our 17.2 software, which illustrates the demand for these capabilities from our customers. We look forward to even more customers and partners adopting these new SD-WAN and SASE capabilities.
For a deeper look at the latest features in Cisco SD-WAN 17.2, see this Cisco Live session: Designing a Cloud-Ready Secure WAN Architecture.
To learn more about Cisco’s view of SASE, please read, Cisco is Building a Bridge to Secure Access Service Edge, by Jeff Reed, Cisco’s SVP of the Security Business Group.
* ESG Research Insights Report, The Rise of Direct Internet Access (DIA): Securing Remote Users and Branch Offices, Commissioned by Cisco Systems, May 2019