Matrix-NDI Telecom 10 Podcast 6: SASE Post-COVID

In this episode of our Telecom 10 podcast, we’re speaking with Matrix-NDI Account Executive, Vlad Novosad, about the SASE in the post-COVID work environment, including a conversation about Firewall as a Service (FWaaS).


Tana Larsen (00:01): 

Hello and welcome back to the Telecom 10 with Matrix-NDI. My name is Tana and today I have our account executive Vlad here with me again, and we are going to further discuss SASE and how it fits into a post-Covid world. So Vlad, let's just dive right into it. Starting off with how the work world was before Covid. 

Vlad Novosad (00:22): 

Yeah, absolutely. Thanks for having me back, Tana. Well, I think everybody remembers the VPNs. Everybody knows the VPNs. Everybody's been into an office where you walk in and you have that one room that says telco or Keep Secure and it's locked, right? So everybody has a room of some sort that keeps all the hardware, all the equipment and all the layers of security for your internet, for your office in general, all in one room. Well, I mean those VPNs and that equipment that's there only has limitation of how many VPNs, how many people can connect to the network, how many people can connect to the office data that's in place so on and so forth, right? And that's all a cost. So for you to be able to work remote, be out and about, you almost had to be categorized as special. You had a special privilege to be able to access your files from home or from an office or from across the country. 

Vlad (01:13): 

And that's what the norm was and still is in a lot of different cases. And as things started to shift and migrate into the cloud, we started introducing things like a hybrid cloud, we have some equipment in the office, we have some equipment in a co-location somewhere, and we have different types of accesses. And that all kind of scattered and blew up into, well, hold on a second, now we have to manage all of these equipments and the offices and the hardware specifically and the hardware specifically, like the firewalls that are in place. And all that arose a big concern of cost - cost and maintenance. And operationally, it was very, very expensive to scale up and not be able to scale back down because you're paying per license, you're paying per contract, so to speak. And that's the world that we got used to very, very quickly. 

Vlad (02:03): 

And then as everybody knows Covid happened and we still had to maintain and operate and function as a society. So we had to go to work one way or another. We started leaning in super heavy into the cloud infrastructure and that hybrid cloud that we barely relied on because we gave special privileges to special people, now it became the norm of, well, everybody has to be able to access at work from anywhere, including their home or heck even a hospital. And that's how quickly it all scaled up. And the flags that it rose almost immediately is, well; How do we maintain all of this equipment? How do we maintain all these licenses? How do we provision all the security that has to be provisioned in the world, especially in the times where 90% of the workforce had to go mobile at one point or another for a short period of time? 

Vlad (02:53): 

And then the other side happened where we had too many people working mobile. We scaled up too heavily to find out that we need to go back to the office so people actually work, not just stay at home and hang out. So it's a bounce up and a bounce down that kind of happens in the technology world. Doesn't matter the the industry that you're working. We kinda learn that lesson the hard way, that the flexibility needs to be in place and we have to have that agility - already have a plan for the agility in the workspace. 

Tana (03:23): 

Yeah. And especially since with Covid, I mean a lot of businesses laid people off. So we went from, you know, having a ton of employees to maybe cutting it in, you know, 75% and then after Covid things really picked up quickly and so people are hiring left and right. And so scalability has been definitely an important part of business operations and I don't think we're gonna see that changing, especially now that we know we can do remote work and have these tools in place to be scalable. So another component of working remote that I've noticed even personally is the ability to connect to, you know, proprietary data at work from my phone, my laptop. I have five devices, I think, that I have my email on alone. So how does that fall into this? 

Vlad (04:12): 

Well, I mean I wanna, I want to give a hats off to that one IT guy that's sitting at at the office somewhere that's provisioning the logins. Cuz at one point or another that was the hands-down the biggest headache, right? You had to give a, a VPN access, a tunnel access to a specific item, and that's how they got connected. You couldn't have your cell phone, you couldn't have your mobile app without a specific VPN or a specific login created for it. So with cybersecurity field growing in the negative way of everybody trying to hack and steal data and manipulate one person or another, it also meant the other way where now we have that access, we have the access control of all the devices into a pretty simple solutions that are out there and those are both physical layers and the cloud layers that are in place. 

Vlad (05:00): 

And there are solutions kind of like the SASE platform, the SD WAN that we mentioned, the Zero Trust. You know, the two form verification I think is one of the older ones that everybody can kind of recognize. Where you would sign in with a username and password, then get a text message. All those things helped the IT bottom line. It all started with helping the bottom line without overloading your one or two IT people that are having to provision everybody but also your bottom line on operationally not having to invest into more hardware that you might need or not need. 

Tana (05:31): 

Right? So along with a lot of devices, we work from a lot of places. I have friends that leave for a month and go work from an Airbnb or like you said, if some someone's sick and they're in the hospital you know, I've seen that happen too in our family, you know, so there's a lot of places people are working. I'm working at home in the office, at my parents' house, at my grandparents' house, sometimes I wanna go get coffee. That adds another layer to this, right? Because public networks, which everyone has heard now are not secure. So does this SASE platform help with that as well? 

Vlad (06:06): 

Yeah, absolutely. And that's the, that's the whole entire goal is we're going away from that traditional hybrid level of security that everybody's used to. Just about 90% plus of the focus has to be on when you're remote and when you're in the cloud. Take something as simple as when you have your cell phone and you're logged into your Outlook email, you can access everything that's in place, but you're also using that phone for personal reasons as well. Something as simple as buying on Amazon, or I'm sure you can imagine the amount of text messages that you got of this is not deliver, click here to verify your account. All of that has to be protected one way or another. And this is where the SASE platform is going to give you that firewall protection, the web protection, the application protection, the zero trust where it doesn't, it doesn't trust Amazon, right? So it's not gonna let that phishing scam or whatever scam that is out there, you know, go back to your network or, you know, hurt your bottom line one way or another. 

Tana (06:59): 

Okay. So there is one component of SASE that we didn't have time to go into in the last episode, and that's Firewall as a Service. I feel like that kind of comes into play with a lot of this, including the public access networks and things. So could you just give us a high level overview of Firewall as a Service? 

Vlad (07:18): 

Yeah, absolutely. Well, I think a lot of people know what a firewall is when it's in the office, right? You have a physical device that has provisions in place and it has protocols in place and what's allowed, what's not allowed. Firewall as a Service is the same exact process and it has the same exact configuration options available, but it's for all your devices that are mobile, it's to the cloud. It's what has access from Amazon to to your Outlook to your Teams. And that Firewall as a Service access, that gateway of blocking the malicious sites, the malicious phishing that's out, there not just to the cloud, but also individually from application to application. 

Tana (07:56): 

Okay. Awesome. Well, I think that that is all the time we have today, but thank you so much for joining us to chat about SASE and I'm sure we'll touch on these topics again in the future. 

Vlad (08:06): 

Yeah. Hey, thanks for having me. This was a sassy conversation for sure. 

Tana (08:10): 

All right. And thanks for tuning into this episode of the Telecom 10 with Matrix-NDI. I, again, my name is Tana, and if you'd like to learn more about Matrix-NDI, I, you can find our Or you can find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter with the handle at matrix_ndi. 



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