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  • Would it surprise you to learn that SASE is becoming the latest buzzword and market trend? If so, why?

    Adopting Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) brings a scalable, adaptive, flexible, and secure network model to overcome challenges associated with traditional networks.

    The reason is, many organizations are allowing their employees to work remotely who may use different types of devices and unsecured networks. As a result, they face networking and security issues.

    It has increased the need for network resiliency and reliability. In addition, there is a massive volume of network traffic, so modern solutions are required to ensure working from home is seamless and secure. The traditional networks with complicated device configurations and slow remote-site deployments are unable to meet these modern demands.

    Therefore, deploying a new virtual network model – SASE – can solve these problems.

    This article explains the basic principles of SASE and the benefits of implementing this model in your organization.

    But before that, let’s find out some SASE history.

    History of SASE

    It’s essential to understand the background of SASE because networks and technologies evolve, and existing approaches and technologies become ineffective to provide the level of security and access control that digital organizations need.

    Regardless of where their users are, organizations demand instant and uninterrupted access. As remote users and SaaS applications grow, data moves from data centers to cloud services, and more traffic is directed to cloud services than data centers, it is imperative to find a new approach to network security.

    Most leading companies focused on the emerging concept of next-generation cybersecurity when SASE became the latest buzzword in recent times. This concept was first described in the August 2019 Gartner Report. Since then, SASE has generated colossal hype that the industry hasn’t seen since SD-WAN first appeared in 2014. In short, enterprises could take advantage of the long-held benefits of moving applications and workloads to the cloud without sacrificing security.

    What’s SASE?

    Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) refers to a service or technology that delivers security controls and Wide Area Network (WAN) as a cloud service to the connection source directly, such as a device, user, edge devices, IoT devices, etc. instead of a data center.

    In SASE, security depends on real-time context, continued risk assessment throughout the sessions, enterprise security or compliance policies, and digital identity (of a user, device, application, cloud service, IoT system, or an edge device, etc.).

    SASE combines the following network and security functions:

    • Software as a service (SaaS)
    • Firewall as a service (FaaS)
    • Malware protection
    • Data loss prevention
    • Intrusion detection and intrusion prevention
    • Secure web gateways
    • Cloud access security brokers (CASBs) and
    • Zero-trust network access.

    Why should organizations adopt SASE?

    SASE can help users from anywhere, from traditional offices to remote. It also offers easy WAN deployments, improved security, and greater efficiency.

    SASE

    SASE can provide your organization with several benefits:

    Security: End users, including employees, vendors, and customers, can instantly access corporate networks without the security risk of traditional technologies such as VPNs, thereby avoiding cyberattacks. For businesses, SASE combines security features such as SWG, CASB, FWaaS, and ZTNA with SDWAN to offer secure access needs. 40% of organizations will have explicit strategies for adopting SASE by 2024.

    Privacy: Including data protection guidelines in a SASE framework provides confidential data protection against unauthorized access.

    Zero Trust: Zero Trust is an evolved security strategy; it’s not a product or service but a framework. Its approach to the cloud eliminates assumptions of trust when users, devices, and applications connect with your network.

    Flexibility: The SASE platform is very flexible. Its cloud-based infrastructure lets you implement security services like threat prevention, web filtering, sandbox, DNS security, next-generation firewall policies, and protection against access data theft and data loss.

    Scalability: Because of its cloud-centric architecture, SASE can easily be scaled up or down, making it attractive given the rapid changes in the way businesses operate.

    Streamlines IT infrastructure: Consolidating a security stack into a cloud-based network security service helps you streamline IT infrastructure. It can minimize the number of security services/products your IT team needs to maintain, manage, and update.

    Location independent: The cloud infrastructure allows you to connect to resources no matter where they are. You can access corporate data, web, and applications anytime, anywhere with complete session protection.

    Saves resources: Using a single platform instead of multiple individual products helps you reduce the number of IT resources and time it takes to maintain those products.

    Transparency: SASE solutions with complete content checking offer you more security and transparency in your network.

    Reduces costs: SASE as a single service that combines SD-WAN and other network infrastructures on a single cloud-based platform reduces the number of providers and the associated complexity and costs.

    How has SASE evolved from SD-WAN?

    Security vendors’ playbooks appear to include SASE and marketing messages these days. However, they are often at odds with each other. Vendors and media have expressed varying perspectives on SASE.

    Some consider it a replacement for SD-WAN, while others argue that its primary purpose is security; it’s only a minor bonus with SD-WAN features.

    Hence, if you try to comprehend SASE, you can be confused by this diversification of messaging and positioning.

    Gartner defines SASE as a combination of SD-WAN and a cloud-delivered security service. The SD-WAN and cloud-based security are core components of the SASE architecture to deliver on the vision of a secure access service edge.

    Even though SASE and SD-WAN are similar, their objectives are different.

    • SASE aims at securing end-user devices and endpoints; on the other hand, SD-WAN is used to connect branch offices to a data center.
    • SASE is a cloud-based platform with PoPs, while SD-WAN is a branch-office overlay network.
    • At-home work favors the SASE model than branch-office work, which is inclined more to SD-WAN. It’s because at-home networks tend to be more mobile and have less standardized designs, so they pair well with SASE’s more flexible deployment options.

    However, SD-WAN has a crucial role in the SASE model as it acts as a central point for branch and campus environments. It also provides routing logic for locations with redundant WANs or legacy connections like MPLS.

    How did the pandemic help in the fast adoption of SASE?

    The COVID-19 crisis has pressurized enterprises to address their network and security requirements since more and more businesses carry out their business operations using cloud services. As a result, SD-WAN vendors and enterprises are embracing SASE security functions more rapidly.

    pandemic and SASE

    Lastly, since SASE is an ever-evolving framework, businesses should avoid vendor lock-in in order to acquire the freedom to adopt new security innovations as they become available.

    The Gartner report predicts that 20 percent of enterprises will deploy several tools from a single vendor (including SWG, CASB, ZTNA, and branch FWaaS) by 2023. Hence, it’s smarter to deploy a thin WAN edge platform that integrates deeply with multiple vendors.

    Conclusion

    As cyberattacks and data privacy risks are increasing at an alarming rate, businesses and individuals must adopt advanced security solutions like Secure Access Service Edge (SASE). So, implement SASE in your organization to witness better security, data protection, flexibility, and other benefits.