Secure access service edge (SASE) is a network architecture framework that combines cloud-native security technologies with wide area network (WAN) capacities to safely link users, systems, or terminals with various applications and services. These are offered as a service via the cloud and may be administered centrally to facilitate modern-day agile ops.
As enterprises experience digital transformation, cybersecurity is shifting to the cloud. This necessitates integrated services to minimize complexity, boost speed and agility, encourage multi-cloud networking, as well as safeguard new WAN frameworks.
The SASE model integrates multiple networking and security functions — which are traditionally offered as distinct point solutions — into an integrated cloud service.
What is SASE and How Does it Work?
SASE (pronounced “sassy”) alludes to a framework rather than a specific technology. In its 2019 report entitled “The Future of Network Security is in the Cloud,” Gartner described the SASE structures as a cloud-first cybersecurity solution that provides “comprehensive WAN abilities with extensive network security functionalities to meet the ever-evolving secure connectivity requirements of digital enterprises.”
SASE enables businesses to consolidate their security and network tools into just one management console. This provides a straightforward security and networking utility that’s independent of the precise location of employees and/or resources. Importantly, SASE needs practically no infrastructure.
Instead, it relies on:
- Firewall as a service (FWaaS)
- Software as a service (SaaS)
- Secure web gateways (SWGs)
- Cloud access security brokers (CASBs)
- Zero-trust network access (ZTNA)
SASE is not reliant on data center inspection engines. The SASE inspection devices are alternatively moved to a local point of presence (POP). A SASE client, such as a mobile device, an Internet of Things apparatus, or branch office machinery, sends traffic for scrutiny to the POP. The system then establishes a connection with the web or the centralized SASE architecture.
Here is how the entire system works:
- SD-WAN service through a private backbone is utilized by SASE. This helps prevent problems with latency and links every POP.
- In addition to connecting devices, SASE services secure them with in-line traffic encryption. Multiple engines, like malware detection and sandboxing, are utilized by SASE to analyze traffic.
- SASE must also offer protection based on the domain name system as well as defense against distributed denial-of-service attacks.
- The routing and security policies of SASE comply with laws like the General Data Protection Regulation.
- SASE employs cloud-based architectures and assets with no physical requirements. Multi-tenant software is required for cost-effectiveness.
- As opposed to the site, SASE services are accessible based on user identity indicators, like specific user devices or locations.
SASE Platform vs. SASE Portfolio
Since secure access service edge (SASE) refers to a framework rather than a technology, you could either assemble a DIY portfolio with the key ingredients (FWaaS, SaaS, SWGs, etc.) or purchase a platform.
Interoperability among SASE platforms is always a move in the right direction. This is because these platforms are designed to efficiently utilize the interdependencies and related functionalities of security components. In contrast, the SASE portfolio is an informal assortment of individual products. It may not eliminate functional gaps or overlaps.
Investment-wise, SASE platforms provide end-to-end services. Companies must adopt a brand-new security and networking strategy with diligent planning and budgeting. A SASE portfolio unites disparate products to create a SASE and will be consistent with your present setup. This preserves your existing investments.
“Is SASE Right for Me?” 5 Purchase Parameters
Companies looking to deploy a secure access service edge have two options in front of them – platform or portfolio. But is SASE a good investment for you? Here are five parameters you need to check:
1. “My organization is heavily invested in WAN technology” – agree or disagree?
Those dealing with complex hybrid WANs and planning a change could benefit from SASE’s outsourcing and consolidation offerings. SASE presents an opportunity for large organizations that perceive their current WAN investments as fixed costs to dissolve that path dependence. However, abandoning current architectures — like MPLS for essential traffic or SD-WAN for all other traffic — can be very expensive, if you do not have WAN investments already.
2. “We manage a mid-sized to large remote workforce” – agree or disagree?
Consider SASE for businesses with no technical expertise or tools to handle cybersecurity for a distributed workforce. It is a successful way to enhance both safety and efficiency by offering quick, protected access to on-premises as well as cloud resources.
The SD-WAN component of SASE is also crucial, as many remote employees rely on residential broadband networks, which may be split with other work-from-home or school-at-home members of the family. Therefore, capacities like traffic management, the capability to consolidate 4G and 5G bandwidth, or sophisticated content delivery network (CDN) functions help create an office-like user experience.
However, mid-sized companies with a fully in-office staff and MPLS lines may not find SASE quite so beneficial.
3. “Our network edge is steadily growing” – agree or disagree?
Today, modern developmental tools, containers, as well as microservices extend the pattern of decoupling software from underlying infrastructure and hardware. The software-defined portion of the SASE service helps enterprises fully automate network selection in accordance with policy. Consequently, costlier MPLS connections can be allocated directly for applications that are vital (HR, ERP, CRM, etc.), and isolated devices can connect to peripheral data centers.
The cost of administering a cluttered network periphery is fast becoming unsustainable for many organizations. This makes outsourcing these duties to a SASE vendor a very attractive proposition. On the other hand, if your network and security capabilities are highly centralized – and you want to keep it that way – then SASE may not be the way to go.
4. “We are struggling to manage the negative effects of cloud adoption” – agree or disagree?
Productivity demands cloud-native tools in this post-COVID world. The elimination of silos by cloud-native frameworks enables apps to share data across the enterprise as well as from cloud to cloud. However, it can be difficult to get such information to the right location at the right time.
Simply put, hybrid and multi-cloud can cause major centralization issues without the right infrastructure or network support.
SD-WAN is a formidable tool for providing access to centralized on-premise or cloud-based services. SASE makes it even more effective through policy-based security and routing. It facilitates bandwidth as well as application access across the board — from WFH devices to industrial detectors, without jeopardizing security, confidentiality, or compliance.
5. “We would rather have consolidated than best-of-breed security tools” – agree or disagree?
In addition to legacy barriers, several large organizations may also prefer best-of-breed security solutions.
SASE provides a unified suite of security services, such as encryption, multifactor authentication, attack safeguarding and data leak prevention (DLP), DNS, and standard firewall services, contingent upon the service provider. If you are deeply invested in your existing technology stack or have painstakingly put together a best-of-breed network and security ecosystem, you may want to think twice before investing in SASE.
With Cisco, VMware, and others launching SASE services, however, businesses that have current vendor partnerships can potentially employ SASE without having to dissolve previous investments.
If you have agreed with two or more of these five parameters, secure access service edge or SASE is definitely an appropriate IT consideration for your team.
SASE has a chance of becoming an essential cloud optimization and security solution. Enterprises are getting increasingly interested in SASE, and study after study indicates that its use will only grow over the years to come. Gartner suggests that global end-user expenditure on SASE is anticipated to go up by 39% from 2022 to 2023, hitting a massive $9.2 billion.