Why Cellular SASE Defines the Future of Distributed Enterprises

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Startups seeing double-digit growth rates tell VentureBeat that combining networking and security on the same platform is essential for protecting every identity, endpoint and threat surface that is exposed as their businesses rapidly grow.

Consolidating network and security together into a unified platform also allows them to be more flexible, agile and scalable in anticipating the needs of existing customers and delivering expected results. That’s one of the main reasons why secure access service edge (SASE) is seeing greater adoption among highly distributed, fast-growing companies that rely on real-time data and insights to grow.

VentureBeat sees more AI, enterprise software, professional services, manufacturing and financial services companies turning to hybrid networking, software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) and SASE as part of their roadmaps to support their growth. The SD-WAN market is predicted to grow $7.2 billion in 2023 to $69 billion in 2032achieving a compound annual growth rate of more than 27%.

CISOs tell VentureBeat that legacy systems cannot meet the demand they have for real-time data from IoT devices and networks. Cellular connectivity and WWAN meet those demands, but the downside is that all the new connected devices are now expanding the network edge and number of endpoints. Unfortunately, this expansion means a massive attack surface that bad actors can take advantage of. The latest mobile SASE was built specifically for that challenge, because Cradlepoints recent launch of theirs NetCloud SASE platform illustrates. NetCloud SASE’s architecture reflects the progress Cradlepoint has made integrating its acquisition of Ericom and the goal of having a mobile SASE platform that can scale across enterprises.

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While Cradlepoint has made significant progress in the mobile SASE market, several other leading cybersecurity providers are also doubling down on SASE, including Cisco, Fortinet, Palo Alto Networks, VMware and Zscaler.

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Gartner’s definition of SASE says that “secure access service edge (SASE) provides converged networking and security-as-a-service capabilities, including SD-WAN, SWG, CASB, NGFW, and zero trust network access (ZTNA). SASE supports branch offices, remote workers, and on-premises secure access use cases.”

How SASE made cybersecurity a business decision

Every startup and high-growth small business that VentureBeat interviewed says that protecting their intellectual property and growing number of endpoints has made cybersecurity the most important business decision and investment they can make. Many are turning to zero trust to shut down their proprietary systems and potential attack surface. Investors, venture capitalists and private equity firms want evidence that risks are being managed, adding to the pressure to get SASE right.

In VentureBeat’s series of interviews with founders of financial services, healthcare, and manufacturing companies who have led their companies to double-digit growth rates, senior management says the cost savings from relying on legacy systems aren’t worth the poor user experiences. security gaps, lack of extensibility and scalability. Risk levels are rising to board-level concerns, giving CISOs the kind of internal visibility they don’t want.

Esmond Kane, CISO of Steward Health, said: “Understand that SASE – at its core – is zero trust. We’re talking about identity, authentication, access control and privileges. Start there and build from there.”

“One of the most important trends to emerge from the pandemic is the broad rethinking of how network and security services can be delivered to distributed workforces,” writes Garrett Bekker, senior research analyst for Security at 451 Research, part of S&P Global Market Intelligence, in his article. 451 Research note. Garrett continues, “This shift in thinking has in turn fueled interest in zero-trust network access (ZTNA) and secure access services.”

Integrating network and security into a single security architecture and enabling access with cellular technology is what security operations center (SOC) and network operations center (NOC) teams are looking for. The goal CISOs are trying to achieve is greater effectiveness and visibility across the network infrastructure while reducing the number of conflicting alerts, false positives, and incompatible historical data sets. Consolidating network and security architectures through SASE is proving effective in streamlining ZTNA deployments.

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How Cradlepoint Gained an Edge in Cellular SASE

Cradlepoint has benefited from its many years of expertise in network technologies, including mobile/5G, SD-WAN and key network technologies, combined with the acquisition of cybersecurity company Ericom. Last year’s acquisition of Ericom shows how Cradlepoint identified the opportunity to define SASE’s future in the enterprise.

By combining Cradlepoint’s flexible cellular, 5G SD-WAN and ZTNA and Ericom’s zero-trust remote browser isolation, unmanaged device security, virtual meeting protection and generative AI security solutions, Cradlepoint positions itself to capitalize on the needs that enterprises have to a more streamlined, quickly deployed SASE solution that can keep up with how quickly they expand their networks. The result is the industry’s first 5G-optimized SASE solution in NetCloud SASE.

Pankaj Malhotra, Head of WWAN & Cybersecurity Business at Cradlepoint, told VentureBeat: “Cradlepoint has more than a decade of experience simplifying mobile networks for companies operating in the world’s most challenging environments. We are now improving the simplicity of enterprise-level network security for even the leanest IT organizations by introducing a SASE solution that integrates mobile networking, SD-WAN and security into a unified platform.”

NetCloud SASE from Cradlepoint is a single-platform Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) solution optimized for 5G and Wireless WAN (WWAN). “Our goal with NetCloud SASE is to provide enterprises with an architecture that allows them to manage their network infrastructures more efficiently while maintaining the highest security standards,” Camille Campbell, Senior Product Marketing Manager, told VentureBeat.

At RSAC 2024, Cradlepoint demonstrated how cellular optimization improves performance and provided examples of how their advanced isolation technologies can minimize the attack surfaces of managed and unmanaged devices, protecting against cyber threats. Their AI-based NetCloud Assistant (“ANA”) uses natural language processing to assist NetCloud users with everyday questions about the operation of their network, and provides recommendations to troubleshoot network performance issues. It’s a must-have in any SASE platform to give lean IT teams the tools they need to better manage the number of alerts, false positives, and conflicting data they receive.

The figure illustrates the intersection of 5G, SD-WAN and security and highlights their integration within the NetCloud SASE solution with a focus on Zero Trust security. Source: Cradlepoint

Campbell told VentureBeat: “Startups and fast-growing small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) need a networking solution that can scale with them and provide robust security without adding complexity. Cradlepoint’s cellular approach with NetCloud SASE addresses this need by combining high-quality connectivity with comprehensive security measures.”

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How Cradlepoint designed their NetCloud SASE architecture

Cradlepoint chose to have app-based traffic control and WAN resiliency for networking among the core components of their platform architecture, along with ZTNA, secure web gateways, security brokers for cloud access, and remote browser isolation for security.

Zero trust security is at the core of Cradlepoint’s NetCloud SASE. Unlike traditional security models that rely on trust within the network perimeter, Zero Trust continuously authenticates every user and device that attempts to access resources. This model is essential for protecting today’s decentralized and dynamic work environments.

Campbell explained to VentureBeat: “Our NetCloud SASE solution is designed with a zero trust foundation, which is critical to protecting today’s decentralized and dynamic work environments.”

The image below highlights the NetCloud SASE architecture. It also emphasizes optimizing the system for mobile use, including vehicles, IoT devices and remote users, while securely connecting to private data centers and cloud environments and Internet/SaaS services such as LinkedIn and Office 365.

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NetCloud SASE Architecture illustrates the integration of 5G SD-WAN with Zero Trust security, supporting vehicles, IoT, remote users, and fixed locations while connecting to private data centers and Internet services. Source: Cradlepoint

AI improves Cradlepoint’s network intelligence

Cradlepoint’s architecture set the challenging goal of making AI native while absorbing the Ericom acquisition and integrating with mobile, SD-WAN and 5G technologies. Their recent launch of NetCloud SASE demonstrates how the company is leveraging its unique technology strengths to shape the future of enterprise networking.

Campbell told VentureBeat: “AI plays a critical role in our NetCloud SASE by providing real-time insights, making recommendations on how to resolve issues, and analyzing traffic patterns moving across the network to detect when something is abnormal. This provides a robust zero trust security model, essential for protecting modern, decentralized work environments.” AI is the cornerstone of the Cradlepoint platform strategy and broadly reflects how these technologies form the DNA of cybersecurity.

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