New Zscaler report finds secure remote access a key weakness in European businesses
October 2020 by Zscaler
Zscaler, Inc. reveals a move towards the internet as the new corporate network according to the release of the State of Digital Transformation Report EMEA 2020. This year’s report finds that two thirds (66%) of Europe’s enterprises have the majority of their business applications now running in the cloud. Nearly half (48%) of the European enterprises expect the number of people working remotely to grow between 25-50% in the next year, however, only a third of the decision makers (33%) are confident they have a secure remote access infrastructure in place. To read the full study and the implications on the future of work, see the State of Digital Transformation Survey EMEA.
Compared to last year’s report, unsurprisingly security still tops the list of transformation obstacles with even higher importance this year— 42% of respondents across Europe reported security related challenges. Costs and lack of in-house expertise were cited by more than one-third of respondents (36%), closely followed by complexity (35%).
“Businesses are waking up to the benefits of the cloud, both for business agility and workforce flexibility. However, the challenges they point to imply that they are not transforming fast enough. The struggle with multi-cloud set-ups, complexity and security are the same as they’ve always been but require a new vision with regards to modern network infrastructures”, said Ismail Elmas, VP EMEA & APAC at Zscaler. “The fact so many enterprises are still combining their cloud infrastructure with traditional remote desktop and VPN solutions will not effectively address these challenges. With remote working likely to be the standard in current work environments for the near future at least, businesses need to look to more secure methods of securing their employees and offer user-friendly and performant access” Elmas said.
Just over a third (34%) of organisations are evaluating new security solutions based on the growing remote workforce requirements. When asked about their knowledge and plans around secure-access service edge (SASE), the user-focused security framework combining comprehensive WAN capabilities with a range of network security functions defined by Gartner, 55% plan to adopt this approach, either transitioning all entities at the same time (36%) or transitioning separate entities (branch offices, mobile entities etc.) over time (19%). Whilst almost half (49%) of German and Swedish and 41% of Dutch businesses plan to transition all entities to SASE at the same time, UK, French and Italian businesses are already falling behind. Only 27% of UK and French businesses, and 23% of Italian plan to transition all at once, putting these regions at a disadvantage, as German, Swedish and Dutch businesses will reap the rewards of a SASE approach far quicker.
Although the SASE framework can enable a range of benefits, it’s clear that security concerns are driving the move to SASE. The most commonly cited, and most appealing benefit respondents mentioned was reduced risk of security threats and data loss across distributed data (50%), followed by improved network visibility and control across all users and cloud platforms (39%) and reduced complexity/increased agility of infrastructure (36%).
“We were pleasantly surprised that SASE is so prominent on the roadmaps of this many European businesses, as its merits are broadly agreed upon across the various nations,” said Nathan Howe, Head of Transformation Strategy EMEA at Zscaler. “What only a year ago was a rather obscure framework that few seemed to pay too much attention to, the recent huge cloud uptake has pushed it up the agenda. If businesses can get their SASE adoption right, it could make the security challenges they’re currently facing a thing of the past.”
The report also found that the move to cloud has, more specifically, been the move to multi-cloud. On average, nearly half (49%) of the respondents said they operate in a multi-cloud set-up of two cloud service providers, whilst a third already have three providers. Only 13% are currently using one cloud provider. Country by country there are differences in cloud diversity. Sweden (52%) and the Netherlands (42%) are the most diversified, having already moved to three cloud service providers, followed by the UK with 30%. In Italy and Germany, most respondents operate with two cloud providers. The biggest challenge faced in a multi-cloud set-up (36%) is securing them.
Conducted by Atomik Research, 606 CIOs, CISOs and heads of network architecture in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Sweden and the Netherlands were surveyed within enterprises with more than 3,000 employees.