Bridging the IT skills gap with SASE: A path to radical simplification and transformation

Imagine a world where IT is not a labyrinth of complexity, but a streamlined path to innovation. This world is not a pipe dream – it is a SASE-enabled reality.

As we navigate the complexities of an ever-evolving digital world, the insightful comment from a customer on stage with me at Cisco Live in June sticks with me: “We don’t have time to manage management tools.” This sentiment is universal and extends across all industries and organizations. According to a Deloitte survey, a staggering 82% of U.S. companies have been prevented from completing digital transformation projects due to a lack of IT resources and capabilities.1 Without the right experts to get the job done, teams often find themselves tangled up in complex, disparate systems and tools that require specific skills to operate.

The IT talent shortage

Today’s technology landscape presents IT leaders with a challenge they cannot ignore: complex IT requirements coupled with a highly competitive talent market. Internally, teams are overwhelmed and often struggle to keep up with ever-evolving technical requirements. In fact, many teams are in crisis and relying on young talent to fill the large gaps left by their more experienced predecessors. And the problem is only getting worse.

It’s an attractive time for experienced IT employees to pursue new opportunities. According to a global Deloitte study, 72% of U.S. technology workers are considering leaving their job to find a better position.2 Interestingly, only 13% of employers said they were able to recruit and retain the tech talent they needed most.2

Now more than ever, companies need to rethink their approach to talent management and technology adoption to stay ahead of the curve.

Convergence as a catalyst for transformation

At a time when time is scarce and complexity is the norm, the need for convergence has never been more evident. While technical skills are essential, they are not enough. The real game changers are adaptability, cross-functional collaboration and strategic foresight. And yet, these “soft skills” cannot be used to their full potential when teams are embroiled in complex, disparate systems and tools that require specialized skills to manage and operate.

How do organizations address this dilemma? How do they manage to not only keep the lights on, but also innovate, improve and lead? In a word: convergence. Bringing together siled network and security teams, systems and tools with a simplified IT strategy is the key to overcoming complexity.

A platform to radically simplify networks and security

Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) is more than just an architecture; It is a vision for the future where the worlds of networking and security are not isolated and form one. Cisco takes a unified approach to SASE, where industry-leading SD-WAN meets industry-leading cloud security capabilities in a robust platform to simplify network and security management.

SASE architecture graphic
Figure 1. SASE architecture merging network and security domains (click to enlarge)

Unified SASE merges the two domains into one, streamlining operations between sites and the cloud. Administrators of both domains gain end-to-end visibility into every connection, making it easier to optimize the application experience for users and provide seamless access to critical resources wherever work takes place. This converged approach to secure connectivity over SASE delivers real results that matter for resource-constrained organizations.

Simplify IT operations and increase productivity

  • Administrators find it easier to manage network and security when they are consolidated
  • A 73% reduction in application latency improves collaboration and increases overall productivity3
  • 40% faster performance on Microsoft 365 improves employee experience

Achieve more with less

  • 60% lower total cost of ownership for Zero Trust security enables budget reallocation to strategic initiatives3
  • A 65% reduction in connectivity costs helps ease pressure on IT budgets3

Increase security without increasing complexity

  • Simplify day 2 operations with centralized policy management that makes implementation easier for IT teams
  • Improve security posture with consistent enforcement – from endpoints and on-premises infrastructure to the cloud – across your organization

Scale and adjust

  • Cloud-native architecture supports scaling and addresses the challenges of rapidly evolving IT landscapes
  • Prepares your business for change and reduces the need for ongoing training or retraining of IT teams

Organizations can leverage SASE architecture to advance their technology frameworks and strategically address IT skills shortages, leading to long-term business success.

Switch gears: Unify, simplify, innovate

SASE is not just a technological advancement; It’s a paradigm shift in the way we approach IT management. This allows IT administrators to focus less on tool management and more on driving business innovation, enriching user experiences, and evolving in line with market needs.

Figure 2. Introducing Unified SASE with Cisco+ Secure Connect, a better way to manage network and security (click to play)

The way forward with Unified SASE from Cisco

Cisco offers a unified, cloud-managed SASE solution, Cisco+ Secure Connect. Whether on-premises or in the cloud, this comprehensive SASE solution delivers simplicity and operational consistency, enabling employees to work securely in hybrid form wherever they choose to work. The beauty of Cisco’s unified SASE solution is the principle of connecting everything, everywhere, securely – when it’s connected, it’s protected. As simple as that.

Let’s drive the future forward together – simpler, safer and more agile. The time for SASE is now; The future is united.

1. Tech Trends 2023, Deloitte Insights
2. 2023 Global Technology Leadership Study, Deloitte
3. Cisco research and customer results