Verizon jumps into SASE with multi-vendor play

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Verizon is also working to bring a single-vendor option to market. (Traitov / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Verizon Business followed rival AT&T in rolling out a Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) solution for enterprises, opting for a multi-vendor approach that combines SD-WAN and network security capabilities in a single managed service.

Vincent Lee, director of product management at Verizon Enterprise Solutions told Fierce the offering is Verizon’s “first official standardized SASE service” and incorporates technology from Versa Networks and Zscaler alongside the operator’s software-defined perimeter service. It plans to add additional technology partners “in the short-term.”

Lee explained Verizon initially went with a multi-vendor approach after finding “our enterprise customers are looking to leverage existing technologies they have in place, or have requirements that single vendor solutions don’t currently meet.” Still, it is working to bring a single-vendor option to market, he said.

“With this package, we now have a strong base reference with the ability to modify the package to suit individual needs,” Lee said. “More than ever, customers are looking for scalable, managed solutions that can be adapted to meet their changing requirements."

RELATED: What is SASE?

Verizon’s move comes amid a bit of a SASE frenzy, with vendors including Versa Networks, Juniper, Aryaka and Cisco all making moves in this space in recent months. In March, operator AT&T teamed with Fortinet to launch its own SASE offering. As in Verizon’s case, though, AT&T’s deal with Fortinet isn’t expected to be exclusive.

During Fierce’s Telecom Blitz Week event this week, AT&T Cybersecurity VP Rupesh Chokshi pointed out the mad dash is what happens with the rise of any new technology.

“I have seen at the entry point when the new technologies are born, it starts to kind of change the landscape,” he said. “You see lots of technology providers or vendors kind of jump in. Even if you go back six or seven years ago we could have had the same conversation about SD-WAN, where you had 20, maybe even 30 providers.”

RELATED: AT&T will use Fortinet for its managed SASE

He added, eventually the number of SASE providers will be whittled down based on who can keep up with research and development spending, who has the best go-to-market routes and what technology really works best in the field.

“We will go through the same evolution where it all boils down to the technology that works,” he continued. “I do see in the future more and more what we call as single technology provider, multi-use solutions.”

A panel at the event also addressed initial SASE targets, with MEF CTO Pascal Menezes and Perimeter 81 CEO Amit Bareket both pointing to small and medium businesses as prime candidates.

“For me, I think SASE and cybersecurity in general as a managed offering is really well suited certainly in the small and medium enterprises for sure,” Menezes said. While multi-national companies have by and large managed their own systems to date, Menezes said he expects as SASE continues to grow, eventually these bigger players will get onboard and realize “this is not our business, we’re not into doing security and cybersecurity.”