MEF State of the Industry Report: SASE

How standards-based SASE certification addresses the pressing need for validated cyber defense and application performance.

Secure Access Service Edge—Validating Cyber Defense in an Era of Unprecedented Threats

The risk of major cyberattacks has never been greater. Organizations are responding by making cybersecurity a top priority for digital technology investment.

Increased usage of cloud services, the rise of remote and hybrid work, and the pressing need to apply Zero Trust (ZT) principles are fueling explosive demand for Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) technologies and services, which solve the problem of protecting users, devices, and applications at scale regardless of their location. SASE combines network connectivity (SD-WAN) and mostly cloud-based security functions (ZT and Security Service Edge) with subscriber policies to provide a high level of application performance with a tightly integrated set of security capabilities.

For many enterprises, their digital transformation journey with prioritized cybersecurity will involve a transition from SD-WAN to SASE and ultimately to secure NaaS solutions with integrated SASE that will be delivered across a standards-based automated ecosystem.

This report explains how networking and cybersecurity decision makers can take advantage of industry standards and new certification programs to evaluate and select the best SASE services and technologies to meet their needs in an unprecedented threat environment.

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With Contributions from these Analyst Firms

With Support from these Service & Technology Companies

MEF 3.0 SASE Certification

MEF formally launched the pilot phase of the MEF 3.0 SASE certification program in October 2023 with the public support of many leading technology and service providers. The program is transitioning from the beta phase to the general availability in the second half of 2024. SASE certification is comprised of three individual certification programs for SD-WAN, ZT, and SSE. When all three separate certifications are achieved, a final SASE certification is issued.

As a whole, SASE certification incorporates testing for functionalities such as: application performance; scale and performance of a SASE cloud service; threat protection against malware, exploits, and evasions; ZT principles applied to users, devices, and applications; and more.

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