Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) combines several security and networking functions to help protect corporate networks, data, systems, and applications while increasing their operational performance and saving costs.

In the modern era, maximum applications live outside the data center, and many cloud services have sensitive information. Not to mention, businesses seek to grow rapidly using various cloud-based systems and deal with massive data. 

In addition, the distributed workforce is becoming prominent across the globe, where users connect from any device from anywhere, extending or blurring perimeters. Therefore, securing a network is essential for every organization. 

However, traditional security systems like physical firewalls may not offer consistent and robust security due to current security demands and increased cybercrimes.

To this, SASE seems to offer advanced capabilities to protect your data and systems no matter where you work from using what device. This is why businesses from various industry verticals are leveraging this technology. 

In this article, I'll discuss SASE, how it can help SMBs, and the best SASE solutions you can consider.

Let's begin!

What Is SASE?

Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) is a cloud-based security technology to deliver security controls and wide area network (WAN) directly to the connection source such as a device, user, edge computing device, internet of things (IoT) device, branch office, etc., instead of using a data center.

The term “SASE” was coined in 2019 by Gartner, a technological research and advisory firm. It combines network security functions with software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN), delivering them using only one service provider.

SASE offers enhanced visibility and better control of an organization's traffic, users, and data access in and out of its network. It is vital for modern organizations distributed globally for scalability and smooth remote work, connecting offices and employees working anywhere with any device.

How Does SASE Work?

In SASE, security works on digital identity, regulatory compliance, company policies, and in a real-time context. Digital identity could be given to any user or device, cloud service, IoT system, application, and so on.

Since SASE combines SD-WAN capabilities with several network security functions delivered from a cloud platform, it offers many advantages. SASE allows an organization's employees to securely connect, authenticate, and access internal services from any location or device. This way, organizations can better control their data and traffic entering and leaving their network.

There are four main components of SASE:

#1. Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB)

Due to the increasing need to move systems to SaaS applications, methods like authorization, authentication, and secure access controls have become essential. This is where CASB helps.

For cloud-hosted services, A CASB executes various security functions such as:

  • Revealing unauthorized corporate applications and systems
  • Ensuring regulatory compliance by implementing consistent data privacy policies
  • Protecting sensitive data through data loss prevention (DLP) and access controls

#2. Secure Web Gateways (SWG)

Modern businesses run in a distributed environment, not confined to a specific perimeter. Employees, contractors, freelancers, vendors, etc., may work from anywhere using any device or system. They may also need to access various resources, but it may involve security risks from malicious sites, and even an internal user may try exposing your sensitive data.

To this, SWG can help protect your network, data, systems, and applications from such instances. Its capabilities encrypt traffic in the cloud and work alongside other network security systems to:

  • Enforce security policies
  • Manage security effectively
  • Prevent cyber risks by filtering harmful content from your web traffic and blocking malicious users

#3. Zero-Trust Network Access (ZTNA)

In the age of cybersecurity, you can't really trust anyone whether they work for your organization or outside it. Threats can come from all directions and even within your own team!

Hence, trust no one when it comes to your data, systems, applications, and other assets. This is what the concept of Zero Trust entails. 

ZTNA solutions hide internal resources from external or public view in order to protect your systems, data, and applications from cybersecurity risks such as data breaches. For this, it requires real-time authorization for every device and user when they try accessing an organizational asset, trusting no one.

#4. Firewall-as-a-Service (FWaaS)

In today's distributed workforce environment, computing resources and users are both located at the network edge. In order to protect them, a cloud-based and flexible firewall or FWaaS is needed. It can support a growing number of IoT devices and edge computing demands.

FWaaS constitutes security capabilities like URL filtering, policy management, intrusion prevention, etc., unlike traditional firewalls. This way, it becomes easy for you to manage network security, spot incidences quickly, make changes, and set firm policies. It helps protect your cloud-based applications, platforms, and infrastructure. 

Why Do Organizations Need SASE Solutions?

Conventional security methods were good at securing users, devices, and systems inside a network perimeter.

However, the corporate network is expanding and moving to the cloud. A distributed workforce is prevailing, and employees are working remotely from across the globe using any device and system.

Hence, there is a need to employ advanced technologies that can secure your data, users, devices, and systems no matter where they are located. You also need stronger access controls and threat protection mechanisms to fight sophisticated cyber attackers looking for weakness in your networks and systems.

In addition, backhauling the entire WAN traffic for security to data centers over a long distance creates network latency, especially in distributed workforce scenarios.

To this, technologies like SASE seem to be helpful. So, let's discover how beneficial SASE solutions are for SMBs.

Improved Security

SASE offers consistent security through a single cloud-based service for WAN connections and security functions. It uses a universal set of rules, policies, and security functions for every access session irrespective of users, devices, applications, or destinations.

In addition, SASE works on the Zero Trust model to grant access to data and applications only after a user or device has been authorized. Its CASB and FWaaS components help mitigate internal attacks and external threats, such as DDoS attacks, protecting both cloud-based and on-premise systems. They also filter URLs, incoming and outgoing traffic, and DNS queries to prevent data exposure, malware, and other threats.

Reduced Complexity

Using a single vendor and cloud model for your network security functions and WAN reduces complexity compared to using multiple security systems from different vendors for different locations. It also streamlines the inspection of traffic using a single policy engine.

High Performance

SASE reduces latency by routing your network traffic throughout the global edge network processing the traffic closer to the user. It optimizes routing and lets you determine a faster network path according to factors like network congestion. It is also advantageous for latency-sensitive collaboration applications, VolP systems, and videos.

Cost Efficiency

Cloud-based services can save your expenses by shifting up-front capital investment to monthly subscriptions or pay-as-you-go. It also reduces the maintenance needs for SMBs as they can leave everything to the vendor for updates, patches, and security checks. All this significantly saves money, effort, and time.

Secure and Fast Access

SASE offers fast, secure, and consistent access to applications, systems, and networks for users and devices from any location and any device. In addition, implementing SASE in your organization is also easy, with fewer agents and apps for devices.

Now, here are our best SASE solutions to protect corporate networks for SMBs.

Perimeter 81

Modernize your way of securing users, resources, and data with Perimeter 81's Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) solutions. This SASE platform combines security and network functionality into a cost-efficient, cloud-based, and scalable service.

Perimeter 81 gives the least access to the network segments based on role, device, identity, and more. You can also secure your network with agentless or client-based access. In addition, it provides low latency and secure connections by encrypting tunnels through public or private gateways.

With all the security features, an organization can control the interactions between resources based on various factors. This architecture allows organizations to implement key capabilities of the cloud that provide an agile, adaptive, self-updating, and holistic security posture.

Moreover, branch offices, cloud resources, remote users, data centers, mobile users, etc., can connect with one network to give multi-layer security. Perimeter 81 offers a multi-regional SASE network for secure network options for organizations.

You will get a firewall as a service, cloud access service broker, secure web gateway, endpoint security, SD-WAN, and more. You can also discover the capabilities of the SASE model and experience how it can transform your enterprises' security.

Pais plans start at $8/user/month. Not satisfied with the service? Apply for a full refund within 30-days of the subscription.

NordLayer

Secure your business resources, data, and users in your network with NordLayer's SASE Solution. It provides network access security solutions for your modern business.

NordLayer protects your critical resources by building encrypted tunnel connections, introducing multi-factor authentication, verifying users' identity via biometrics, and enabling conditional access to various business applications. You will get multi-layered security features to tackle any threat.

Using NordLayer is simple and easy. You can quickly deploy the application into your system and experience a better world. It is hardware-free, so the deployment is instant. In addition, NordLayer is easy to combine into all sizes of businesses and compatible with various cloud services. You can easily integrate the solution with your current infrastructure.

Furthermore, NordLayer lets you manage and track everything right from the start in a single place. It offers useful security capabilities in protecting your organization's network and is designed to save your time with its intuitive control panel.

Start using the SASE solution within minutes and allow NordLayer to adapt according to your business requirements. Get this powerful solution at $7/user/month, including an unlimited number of users and 24/7 tech support.

Zscaler

Get a modern network security architecture for your organization Zscaler's SASE platform. It can address the challenges faced by every enterprise for their network security and define security along with performance, scalability, and reliability.

You can deploy this SASE model easily and manage cloud-delivered and automated services. It can help reduce complexity, and IT costs by enabling safe transformation without any technical debt. Plus, it can eliminate unnecessary backhauling while providing low latency and optimal bandwidth in order to bring policy and security close to users across the world.

Zscaler secures the core of every organization network that ensures all the connections are secured, irrespective of application access, type of encryption, and location. Zscaler's SASE is unique as it provides a multitenant and native cloud architecture that scales according to your business's demands.

In addition, it provides a proxy-based architecture for complete inspection of secured traffic and Zero Trust network access that eliminates the access for application segmentation. You will also enforce stringent security and policy to restrict backhauling.

Cloudflare One

Fix your corporate cracks with Cloudflare's SASE platform and connect users to the resources based on identity security controls. Cloudflare One replaces the old model of your network infrastructure with a secure on-premise network perimeter.

Cloudflare combines network connectivity service with Zero Trust security service on a global network. Your organization will no longer need proprietary and expensive circuits. This single global network provides DDoS mitigation, traffic acceleration, network firewalling, apart from Zero Trust functionality. 

Block ransomware, malware, phishing, and lateral movement to connect users to organization resources directly. You can also deploy the SASE model easily in your network and manage complete security without manual operation.

Each data center provides single-pass routing and traffic inspection that protect users across the globe in the same way without compromising the speed. In addition, connect your internet services, self-hosted applications, servers, remote users, SaaS applications, and offices with Cloudflare One and secure everything in your perimeter.

Make your internet connection fast, reliable, and secure for your business by starting your transformation journey with Cloudflare. You can also consult them to understand how it can provide a better security model for your organization.

FortiSASE

Forget about traditional security solutions and give your organization a modern solution with Fortinet's cloud-based service – FortiSASE. It is powered by FortiGuard Labs AI-driven Threat Intelligence and FortiOS innovations.

FortiSASE can deliver high-class security and protect your hybrid workforce across the globe. You will also get better visibility and orchestrated policy control to secure your internet access for users, no matter where they are.

Fortinet gives a unified and distributed SASE model to the users to deploy the solution instantly and manage the services with ease while ensuring consistent protection. It delivers enterprise-grade security by eliminating common security gaps and cloud-based consumption without impacting workflow.

FortiSASE helps eliminate numerous point products to secure various networks. It also offers a single solution service for every network at a low cost so that you wouldn't think twice while choosing it.

In addition, FortiSASE offers various capabilities, such as firewall as a service, domain name system, intrusion prevention, data loss prevention, secure web gateway, VPN, ZTNA, and sandboxing. These extensions make Fortinet the unique vendor that provides security at the edge of the network.

Cisco

Join the revolution of secure access with Cisco. It offers AnyConnect and SD-WAN to deliver secure and seamless connections everywhere, along with established security and Zero Trust access with threat protection.

Control your security with Cisco Umbrella and Duo security. You can also integrate SASE solutions with your organization's security and gain valuable insights over any network. Read Cisco's ebook to know how to integrate the architecture inside your network frame.

Furthermore, Cisco provides every building block of SASE architecture so that you can:

  • Deliver a seamless and secure connection to unleash the power of the workforce.
  • Streamline your policies, enhance protection, and simplify security with a multi-talented security service
  • Unite networking and security via an integrated and flexible approach to meet your organizations' security demands

Cato Networks

Cato Networks offers a SASE cloud platform that you can deploy today and benefit from high-level security. Its architecture converges SD-WAN, a full network security stack, and seamless mobile devices and cloud resources support.

Give your IT teams the ease of managing security service through a self-service and single console. The platform provides security and enterprise network capabilities to all the edges through a globally distributed service. 

Allow your teams to deliver powerful security along with optimized networking to every application, user, and site irrespective of their location. The SASE solution can maximize visibility into security events and network traffic. In addition, IT professionals can configure the solution and enforce policies around the enterprise.

Using Cato Networks will help you focus more on business, have a simplified cost structure, and avail of many other benefits. Secure your current and future projects, stay ahead in every aspect, and witness overall service improvement and effective cross-team collaboration.

Prisma

Secure your workforce with one of the best SASE solutions – Prisma. This is a safer SASE platform for cloud-enabled and agile organizations and converges with the next generation SD-WAN into a cloud platform.

Prisma consolidates other point products, such as Cloud SWG, ZTNA, ADEM, FWaaS, and NG CASB, into a single service that reduces complexity in your security and network in order to enhance agility.

Prisma enables Zero Trust access to secure all the applications used by the workforce regardless of their location. In addition, it leverages ML-powered threat prevention to stop 95% of online threats and reduce the risk of data loss.

You will get end-to-end insights and visibility across all the users so that your team can be more productive. It also includes Autonomous Digital Experience Management (ADEM) to provide an exceptional experience for the end-users.

Netskope

Get complete security insights with the Netskope SASE solution that delivers network and security services in the cloud-based architecture. It simplifies connecting to the SASE service for users to access web services safely and use data, systems, and applications with an excellent security policy.

This SASE platform helps provide safe access regardless of users, applications, data, or devices location. You will get cloud-native microservices, the ability to inspect TLS/SSL, inline proxy, intrusion protection, firewall protection, advanced data protection, threat intelligence, and more. 

By using the SASE cloud platform, you will experience flexibility, lesser complexity, enhanced performance, cost savings, Zero Trust network access, threat protection, data protection, and more.

Implement SASE in your working culture and help your organization receive actionable insights instantly about traffic, data, activity, services, etc. It will help secure your network now and prevent risks. 

Versa

Versa SASE is one of the best platforms for SASE architecture that can fit your security and networking needs. It integrates services via Versa Operating System (VOS) that delivers analytics, networking, security, and SD-WAN.

Versa enables secure, scalable, and simple deployment of SASE architecture into your organization so that you can start securing your information immediately. While delivering a better service, it focuses on the application's performance.

Moreover, it provides many services in the single deployment, including ZTNA, SWG, CASB, RBI, NGFWaaS, Routing, Analytics, and SD-WAN. You can choose any deployment options, such as the cloud, on-premises, or a combination of both.

Versa offers role-based access controls (RBAC) to separate tenants allowing granular roles and segmentation. In addition, Versa Concerto is an excellent platform that updates, upgrades, and automates VOS software and security packages to protect applications, devices, and users.

Forcepoint

Get the SASE solution for your organization to protect data uniformly from end to end in the cloud with Forcepoint's SASE. It covers an extra mile in terms of networking and security to offer unique control over all your data. 

Forcepoint can help you become more productive and secure your applications, devices, and users. It will protect your workforce from advanced threats regardless of their location with the help of cloud-delivered SASE. 

Keep malware out of your network, eliminate security gaps, and control access effectively using this solution. This SASE architecture will also help you write policies and emerge more powerful than ever before.

Furthermore, Forcepoint will help implement Zero Trust access and prevent sensitive data exposure using enterprise-grade DLP technology. In addition, using this solution will help you reduce cost and complexity.

Conclusion

Security technologies like SASE are instrumental in safeguarding data, networks, and systems while offering streamlined security management and saving cost, effort, and time. Thus, if you are looking for the best SASE solution, you can consider the above options.