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Soon after Gartner coined the term, vendors repositioned themselves to participate in the SASE conversation. Each focused on the components of SASE that played to their wheelhouses and may not\not have a robust solution.

While we now have a better sense of SASE, there is still some confusion.

How do you cut through the noise to find the best SASE solution?

Some of the world's largest organizations are examining SASE solutions in our Advanced Technology Center and, at the same time, leveraging five evaluation criteria to narrow down solutions to find the appropriate fit.

1. Operational simplicity 

The SASE vendors that are having the most success in the market have shifted away from the technical features of SASE. Instead, they're focusing on how their solutions can simplify IT operations. There are four areas you can examine to determine just how much a SASE solution will simplify ITOps.

  • Rapid turn-up: How easy is it for IT to quickly provision policies for hundreds or thousands of users or locations?
  • Extensible licensing: Does the vendor provide an easy way to scale service consumption up or down as needed to accommodate peaks in demand?
  • Policy flexibility: Can IT quickly and consistently apply business policies at all locations?
  • User Experience: Can IT easily visualize sessions traversing the SASE service and change policy handling?

2. Analytics, visibility and telemetry

SASE solutions require organizations to hand over a large part of user experience measurement and security policy enforcement to a vendor.

SASE solutions should provide comprehensive analytics and visibility into user experience, activity, network traffic and security events. The analytics should enable IT teams to detect and mitigate any potential issues, and the visibility should provide real-time insights into network performance, user behavior and compliance posture.

Not only are these capabilities necessary for effective IT operations, but it also helps build confidence in a SASE solution. It assures IT that they still have the visibility into performance and security that they're used to. 

3. Advanced & robust security capabilities

SASE solutions must provide a comprehensive range of integrated security features. These features should be able to detect and respond to potential threats in real-time to ensure data privacy and security.

The security functions should be integrated and delivered as a single solution rather than requiring multiple disparate products.

Many solutions in the market meet the technical definition of what it means to be SASE, but the capabilities of their advanced security capabilities can differ significantly. 

Some capabilities to consider when examining SASE solutions include the following:

  • Cloud access security brokers (CASB)
  • Data loss prevention (DLP)
  • Secure web gateways (SWG)
  • Remote browser isolation
  • Next-generation firewalls (NGFW)
  • Intrusion detection/prevention systems (IDS/IPS)
  • Malware prevention
  • Obfuscation and privacy
  • Web filtering
  • DNS protection
  • Zero-trust network access (ZTNA)

4. Understand your use cases

It is common for people to compare solutions against each other. While this helps to understand the difference in solutions, it does not mean the solution meets your needs.

Understanding your use cases, such as supporting a hybrid workforce, cloud access, Zero Trust network access and others, allows you to determine your requirements. 4-SASE-use-cases With this information, you can better choose the correct solution. 

5. User experience

SASE solutions should provide a seamless, user-friendly, consistent experience across different devices, applications and locations. Users should be able to access resources and applications quickly and easily without disruptions or delays.


These evaluation criteria are helping our customers make the right decisions for their organizations today. However, SASE continues to evolve rapidly. Non-traditional players are entering the market and traditional vendors are expanding their offerings. 

As SASE evolves, we'll continue to share insights based on our work with customers in our Advanced Technology Center where we're helping them prove out SASE solutions based on their business requirements. 

You can also check out our SASE briefing. This briefing is designed to help you better understand all the criteria to consider when evaluating SASE solutions.

If you're ready to get hands on with SASE, we have virtual, on-demand labs from multiple OEMs. See our SASE labs.

Explore more in a hands-on environment