WAN challenges steer auto-rental firm to SASE

SASE helps global car-rental company Sixt strengthen its network security architecture and ride out COVID-19 challenges.

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Latency and reliability concerns set car rental company Sixt on a path to rearchitect its WAN. That led the global company, which has locations in more than 100 countries, to become an early adopter of the network-security architecture dubbed secure access service edge (SASE) by research firm Gartner.

SASE, pronounced "sassy," blends SD-WAN's network optimization features with security capabilities such as zero-trust authentication, data loss prevention, threat detection, and encryption. Driven by demand for a more efficient, scalable network-security architecture, SASE can enable greater network reliability, more flexible deployment options, and pervasive security. The technology is in its infancy but projected to grow quickly. Gartner estimates at least 40% of enterprises will have explicit strategies to adopt SASE by 2024, up from less than 1% at the end of 2018.

For Sixt, SASE fit well with the company's broader digital-transformation efforts. "We needed something that would scale quickly, maintain our security posture no matter how many users and branches are added, and be able to optimize our global traffic network," says Chris Chowquan, who heads the information technology teams for Sixt Rent-a-Car in North America.

In the U.S., where Sixt is the fourth-largest car rental company, it has 1000 employees, 80 offices and more than 3000 connected devices. Its network traffic is a mix of in-house apps, cloud-based platforms like Office365, and voice and video traffic. WAN traffic at the edge is routed to a data center in Germany through a mix of MPLS and internet connections.

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