The pros and cons of Netskope SASE

The Secure Access Service Edge market is full of vendors claiming to lead the pack, among them Netskope.

A quick visit to Netskope’s website shows that the company considers itself “the SASE leader,” citing cloud access security broker (CASB), firewall, secure web gateway (SWG) and zero-trust network access (ZTNA) built into a single platform. However, Netskope falls short of delivering the promise of SASE, instead offering a comprehensive CASB product with added-on capabilities that loosely align to the SASE narrative.

What is SASE?

SASE represents the convergence of networking and security capabilities, ideally delivered as a cloud-native service instead of edge appliances that have been common to IT. While SASE encompasses about a dozen security capabilities, the focus is less on a feature-by-feature comparison and more about reducing complexity to deliver consistent, high-performance security and connectivity to users globally.

While the capabilities SASE vendors provide are nothing new, the convergence of technologies, coupled with the shift to a global, cloud-delivered service architecture, is revolutionary.

Netskope SASE

Netskope started with its CASB functionality, which provides protection and visibility for data at rest (Netskope API protection) and data in motion (inline CASB). It has also added capabilities, including an integrated next-generation firewall (NGFW), cloud SWG and Netskope Private Access, to position itself as a SASE competitor. Netskope delivers these capabilities from a single platform with a single management console, which is essential to the SASE vision.

Netskope delivers its service from data centers in 50-plus regions via its NewEdge private cloud, with each data center providing all service features. (Some SASE players, such as Zscaler, only deliver certain capabilities from certain data centers.) Netskope manages these data centers itself rather than using public cloud vendors. This management approach is superior because it not only indicates a true multi-tenant service, but enables complete control over data center expansion, getting the service closer to users in regions that matter to customers and prospects.

While Netskope…