Organizations looking to improve resilience and security for remote users, branches and edge devices should consider implementing SASE. This architecture delivers low-latency connectivity via a worldwide fabric of points of presence (PoPs) while centralized security management and minimizing hardware and internal resources.
Ideally, a SASE solution offers unified services that include SD-WAN, CASB and zero trust access network security in a cloud-native framework. But which features are essential?
It is essential to know what are the capabilities of SASE. SASE scales easily to meet changing network needs, eliminating the need for complex hardware infrastructure or cumbersome updates. This provides greater operational agility as existing IT resources can do more, seeing further to detect and respond to threats faster.
The software-defined nature of SASE enables it to be delivered as a single service, providing significant cost savings compared to traditional security solutions with hardware appliances. For example, a centralized SASE solution eliminates the need for costly firewalls and web gateways on-premises. It can deliver security functions such as threat prevention, CASB, data loss prevention and next-generation firewall policies as a single service.
In addition, the WAN optimization capabilities in a SASE solution can reduce costs by improving performance through reduced network congestion and routing optimizations. This can also lead to better latency and speed for users connecting to applications, the internet and corporate data.
SASE can provide a secure direct connection from users to apps, data and cloud services, with granular context-aware controls that eliminate the possibility of lateral movement by an attacker. This approach also allows organizations to leverage the power of cloud-like agility in their IT infrastructures, helping them improve business efficiency while reducing risk and mitigating the financial impact of data breaches.
Digital business transformation demands greater agility, scalability and improved security, particularly for remote users and distributed applications. SASE offers an efficient solution to this challenge.
Unlike legacy hub-and-spoke architectures that require enterprises to backhaul traffic for security inspections, SASE delivers consistent network performance and secure access to users wherever they are. In addition, the cloud-native nature of SASE provides flexible scaling as organizations expand or scale back down without requiring additional hardware deployments.
SASE is also more cost effective than traditional approaches to networking and security. For example, a leading SASE service can offer a single unified platform that bundles software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN), zero-trust network access (ZTNA) and cloud web security (CWS) in one cost-effective per-user subscription. This reduces network complexity and the number of vendors, which helps lower costs.
In addition, SASE can reduce latency by routing traffic directly to destinations rather than through a data center or private network. This helps improve the user experience, which is critical for delivering employees a positive work-from-home (WFH) experience.
For example, the WAN optimization capabilities in SASE allow connections to internet exchange points (IXPs) near your users to be prioritized for low latency. This eliminates the need for expensive Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) lines and helps to ensure that cloud apps and services are accessed as quickly as possible.
As SASE aims to break down tech siloes, eliminate outdated technologies like VPNs, and automate mundane networking and security chores, IT teams will likely face challenges transitioning to the technology. Vendor lock-in is a significant concern as IT teams risk losing the ability to source and combine individual networking and security functions from the best-fitting providers. They also could be exposed to a single point of failure for the entire network, especially if the SASE architecture is cloud-delivered and managed by a single provider.
The key to overcoming these challenges is ensuring that SASE delivers on its flexibility, scalability and performance promise. By leveraging a global edge network of PoPs and a private backbone, SASE reduces latency by processing traffic closer to the user without relying on the internet. Additionally, SASE architectures leverage multiple redundant connections and dynamic routing to ensure optimal availability.
In addition, the natural convergence of networking and security capabilities enables IT to implement, manage and scale a SASE framework across the entire enterprise with fewer vendors and less hardware in branch offices and remote locations. Simplified policy management also reduces configuration errors and improves security efficacy. As a result, SASE enables enterprises to deploy a unified security framework that runs end-to-end on SD-WAN infrastructure.
As the security market grows, a key feature enterprises seek in SASE solutions is predictive analytics. This combines network and security intelligence to predict potential vulnerabilities, threats or anomalies. This can help organizations to prevent attacks, speed up response times and improve operational efficiency.
A few SASE vendors also integrate data loss prevention (DLP) capabilities. These use AI to track sensitive information that has already left a company’s systems. This can protect against insider threats and prevent data from being exfiltrated to an external threat actor.
In addition, many SASE providers are offering an integrated platform that brings together network and security functions such as SD-WAN, zero-trust network access (ZTNA), cloud secure web gateway (SWG) and unified threat management (UTMaaS). This reduces complexity and makes it easier to spot and isolate issues.
An integrated platform approach is important because it offers more consistent and better performance, simpler operations and lower total cost of ownership. However, IT teams must be aware of possible vendor lock-ins due to this approach. They may also lose the flexibility of choice in sourcing networking and security functions, potentially creating a single point of failure or exposure. In some cases, SASE can make a single point of contact with the provider, so any technical issues on their part could affect all services for end users.