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SD-WAN

Windstream Enterprise teams with Cato to roll cloud-based SASE service to North American customers

Windstream Enterprise and Cato Networks are teaming up on a managed Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) service to provide cloud-based security and networking services to a distributed workforce.

Mike Frane, vice president of product management for Windstream Enterprise, said the service provider decided to partner with Cato to deliver a complete SASE service via one SASE provider.

"Cato really was the one technology provider that that met all [five requirements] and they were very interested in partnering with a managed service provider to move into the North American market," said Frane.

Frane said the managed SASE service includes five key components: SD-WAN, firewall-as-a-service (FWaaS), secure web gateways (SWGs), zero trust network access (ZTNA) and cloud access security broker (CASB). Together, these security and networking services provide features such as traffic inspection, network routing, visibility to cloud-based resources, remote access to business applications and more.

Cato added Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASB) capabilities to its SASE service in February, adding a component that improves visibility, assessment, enforcement and protection across cloud applications. Cato also launched a new Shadow IT dashboard to show SaaS usage, total and high-risk applications, number of users accessing those apps and more.

"The novelty of SASE is that single policy engine, and the cloud-native aspect of the solution," said Frane.

Frane adds that Windstream Enterprise will provide the managed SASE service via two tiers – Advanced and the Concierge Experience. The Advanced Tier includes a ticket-based support system which Windstream responds to as customer issues arise. The Concierge Tier is more of a hands-on, co-managed approach that includes "more of a personalized touch with dedicated support teams that are focused on the customer, their needs and their network, and provides proactive reviews of what's happening in the network areas so we can make the network, their applications or their security posture better," said Frane. He adds that 95% of customers choose the Concierge service for SD-WAN and expects about the same for the SASE service.

The SASE service will also integrate with other managed services from Windstream Enterprise including OfficeSuite UC and access to the service provider's Cyber Security Operations Center and Technical Service Management team.

In addition to Cato, Windstream Enterprise provides SD-WAN managed services in partnership with VMware and Fortinet.

By 2025, 60% or more of enterprises will have explicit strategies and timelines for SASE adoption, which is an increase from 10% in 2020, according to a recent report by Gartner.

— Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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