IBM gets SASE to speed adoption of zero-trust security

Security secure lock
The five new offerings target specific business objectives, including hybrid workforce access, third-party access, mergers and acquisitions, network transformation and 5G, edge and IoT protection. (Getty Images)

IBM rolled out a suite of new secure access service edge (SASE) offerings alongside Zscaler, aiming to smooth the path for enterprises looking to adopt a zero-trust security posture.

The move builds on IBM’s launch of four zero-trust blueprints in May which were created to address key business priorities, including protecting customer privacy, reducing the risk of insider threats, protecting hybrid cloud environments and securing remote workforces.

Laurène Hummer, program director for Digital Trust Security Services at IBM Security, told Fierce the new SASE services it is introducing are designed to make it easier for companies to adopt the remote work blueprint. She noted five options target specific business objectives, including hybrid workforce access, third-party access, mergers and acquisitions, network transformation and 5G, edge and IoT protection.

RELATED: What is SASE?

The options will be provided by IBM as managed services, with cloud-based SASE capabilities supplied by Zscaler.

“The use case-based approach, we consider that to be really important because for many organizations adopting SASE can seem like a long road,” she explained. “What those use cases can do is they can be steps along that journey and they can bring immediate business value, improved user experience and improved security posture to the organization so that the organization can see quick return on their investment.” That in turn can help generate support for additional security enhancements on the road to full-fledged SASE and zero-trust architecture, Hummer added.

She noted businesses can decide to pursue one or multiple SASE use cases depending on the risk level they’re facing, their budget and their “appetite for change.”

RELATED: Inside the zero-trust networking and SASE land grab — Raynovich

Gartner analyst Joe Skorupa told Fierce that overall the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated enterprise adoption of SASE and zero trust network access, pointing out “people had to do it” as the world shifted to a work from anywhere environment. But he noted “making the transition is not trivial,” especially for large enterprises with global branches and organizational silos.

Addressing IBM’s use case-based approach to SASE, he stated “There is something to be said for saying let’s be very pragmatic…Let’s pick something where we know there’s a well-understood problem, where it’s easy to identify the outcome and the value and go there first. That can be easier than a massive architectural transformation.”

IBM is far from alone in trotting out a SASE offer. Operators Comcast, Verizon and AT&T have all also done so in recent months, as have CiscoJuniper and VMware.