In today’s world, everything is “smart.” From phones to televisions and even cars, we are more connected than ever before. With new connections to the network comes greater risk for the security of your network. This increased risk provides an added element to OT security.

Zero Trust and SASE are two of the most common approaches to security that have evolved to mitigate these risks. Marc Carney, Go-to-Market Practice Lead, CX Security, discusses the factors that organizations must consider when implementing Zero Trust and SASE to better secure your organization.

How do Zero Trust and SASE differ from traditional approaches to cybersecurity?

MC: The added complexity of our connected world requires a more dynamic and flexible approach to cybersecurity. In the past, on the operational technology side, the traditional model of securing the network involved DMZ’s or ringfencing. These strategies have been around for over 25 years and no longer work. Particularly with manufacturing environments, organizations could not be sure what would happen if they shut it down, or if they had cause to shut the network down manually to contain a threat. Zero Trust and SASE provide that dynamic and flexible approach that has been missing.

How can Zero Trust and SASE architecture be achieved?

MC: I would caution all organizations against assuming that there is a tool to achieve zero trust. There are tools that do achieve it, but Zero Trust and SASE is a methodology. The outcomes that you want from providing that more dynamic, perimeter-less environment for your users must be fundamentally based on your desired outcomes as an organization. As a methodology, there are tools that will be implemented and deployed over time but understanding the outcomes you want from a flexible and perimeter-less environment should be the priority.

What are some of the things that need to be considered and factored in?

MC: As mentioned previously, the user outcome is driving the industry to change. Speeding down the Zero Trust or SASE journey will only introduce more risk to your environment. Organizations should build their journeys around understanding the outcomes they want to achieve and how these approaches will both benefit the business and make it more agile. Suppliers like Cisco can help organizations determine what these outcomes may be.
Where do you see the industry moving when it comes to Zero Trust and SASE?

MC: I recently had a conversation with an analyst about research on cybersecurity trends in the industry. An interesting highlight of the study, conducted with C-level technology executives, was around the SASE strategies for companies. When asked if they had plans to consolidate and rationalize their strategies to only one vendor, almost half said they planned to have three or more vendors in their SASE strategy, with no plans of changing that any time soon.

The industry is also seeing a large gap in skills and resource shortages. With the complexities of multiple tools and technologies, organizations need to make sure everything works together. This can be achieved with consolidation through something like a Cisco XDR platform, that provides a single management console to manage many aspects of cybersecurity for an organization.

The cyber security industry is constantly evolving, and organizations must keep up to protect their environment. Zero Trust and SASE are methodologies that can be implemented through a variety of different tools in an organization. Companies are not going to have a single vendor for their product portfolio, but for security to be effective, they need to work well together. The architecture and the technologies need to work together to secure the network, and supplies like Cisco can make that happen.

Learn more about Cisco Zero Trust Strategy and Analysis Service here.


Marc Carney

CX Security GTM Practice Lead

Customer Success (CX)