In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, the intersection of security and networking presents both challenges and opportunities. As a renowned security expert once said, “The worst enemy of security is complexity.” This statement underscores the pressing need to simplify how network security is delivered and embedded across our increasingly complex technology stack.

According to Enterprise Strategy Group, 73 percent of organizations believe their network environment is more complex than it was two years ago.

Consider the impact this kind of complexity has on the supremely digital world we live in today. Digital experiences in our hyper-connected world have a ripple effect across our lives. They influence customer satisfaction, employee retention, and competitive differentiation. These digital experiences span locations, things, and applications through people, teams, communities, and organizations, and they rely on stable, secure connections between everyone and everything.

In my last blog, I highlighted the growing talent gap that is presenting huge challenges that IT leaders simply cannot ignore. Employee experiences matter just as much as customer experiences, and convergence can be a catalyst to transform everyone’s experience while also addressing the talent gap.

Network and security convergence is needed now more than ever

In a world where digital transformation is not an option but a necessity, converging network and security with a simple, unified framework has never been more critical. As organizations grapple with expanding connections, a distributed workforce, and applications across multicloud environments, complexity and risk increase, making a converged network and security strategy essential.

In the words of a customer I met at last year’s Cisco Live, “We don’t have time to manage management tools.” This underscores the necessity for streamlined processes in an era where this proliferation of connections, dependencies, and potential threats makes traditional network and security operations silos untenable.

Convergence is not merely a technical adjustment but a strategic imperative that necessitates a shift toward a unified, simplified IT framework. By enabling converged networking and security access with secure access service edge (SASE), IT professionals can transition from managing architectures to orchestrating a platform blueprint to experience a streamlined, secure, and agile IT environment and ecosystem.

Embracing this convergence also fosters innovation, ensuring robust security and optimal user experiences in an increasingly interconnected world.

Discover exciting new enhancements coming to the Cisco unified SASE platform

Trusted, unified experiences center on what Cisco delivers through the Cisco Networking Cloud platform—our vision to transform business and securely connect the world. Built on this foundation, Cisco Secure Connect seamlessly converges software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) and security service edge (SSE) in a unified solution that provides customers with a blueprint for SASE made easy. Through this single platform, customers can easily manage secure connectivity for branch and remote connections, delivering a seamless experience for hybrid users wherever they work.

This week, Cisco announced that it is delivering the most complete unified SASE solution with Cisco Secure Connect, now powered by Cisco Secure Access as the newly embedded SSE engine. This convergence presents another step forward in bringing Cisco Networking and security clouds together to deliver a unified SASE fabric with advanced security capabilities, starting with client-based zero trust network access (ZTNA). With this advancement, Secure Connect is evolving zero trust to better support remote workers and power hybrid work. This delivers several key outcomes for customers, including:

  • Rich ZTNA functionality powered by Secure Access to deliver better remote worker experiences and stronger security with high-performing zero trust access.
  • Seamless end-user experiences that eliminate the need for users to take extra steps to connect to private apps—access is instant and “just works.” This includes:
    • Quick UDP Internet Connections (QUIC) support with multiplexed application substrate over QUIC encryption (MASQUE) proxy, which provides mobile device support for users to instantly access apps from anywhere
    • Unified Cisco Secure Client with connection brokering automated on the back end to ensure seamless user experience everywhere
  • One place to manage all connectivity options (VPN, browser and client-based ZTNA, as well as the branches) for streamlined operations and better user experiences.

All of this new functionality is now available via streamlined management through the Meraki dashboard to make it easier for admins to manage zero trust and policy enforcement across networking and security functions.

Ultimately, this evolution of the Secure Connect SSE engine with Secure Access delivers a simple, complete, and unified way to flawlessly connect users to both private and public applications anywhere they work.

In addition to this exciting first step forward in converging with Secure Access, Cisco is also announcing these Secure Connect updates:

  • An expanded footprint with the addition of new data centers to support global availability for secure private access across more regions.
  • Global transactability for the Secure Connect Complete package option, giving customers more flexibility in choosing the path to SASE they want and need.
    • Customers around the globe can now choose between the Secure Connect Foundation or the Secure Connect Complete package based on their needs.
    • Secure Connect Foundation is designed for organizations that want to get started with unified SASE and includes secure internet access for sites and roaming users.
    • Secure Connect Complete offers the full suite of unified SASE capabilities, including remote access and ZTNA, that now includes both clientless and client-based zero trust.
  • EA 3.0 availability makes it easier for customers to purchase and consume unified SASE with Secure Connect as part of their enterprise agreement.

Through these new advancements to our unified SASE platform, Cisco is taking steps to continually make secure networking easier for customers and helping power flawless experiences anywhere work happens.

Think unified SASE to navigate your way to secure networking

If you are seeking an easier way to manage secure connectivity, simplify IT, build greater security, and create more operational consistency, unified SASE is the clear path forward. Cisco Secure Connect is designed to make it effortless to interconnect everything through the unified fabric and to seamlessly secure devices and connections everywhere. IT wins, users win, and everyone is happy. Secure networking has never been this easy.


Learn how Cisco Secure Connect can help you deliver seamless,

trusted experiences for users everywhere.


Omri Guelfand

Vice President, Product Management, SASE

Cisco Meraki