Is Secure Access Service Edge the Future of Network Security?

secure access service edge

All Hail, SASE!

SASE, pronounced “sassy”, stands for Secure Access Service Edge. It is a cloud-based network security model and category, proposed by Gartner in 2019. This model includes the network security solutions in a global and cloud-native service that allows IT teams to easily connect and secure all of their organization’s networks and users in an agile, cost-effective, and scalable way. This is especially useful in the currently globally dispersed digital enterprise.

According to Gartner’s analysis, SASE can be characterized as an identity-driven, cloud-native, globally distributed technology that supports and impacts all enterprise edges and IT domains. For example, this would include a branch office in LA along with the main HQ in London, while traveling/mobile team members can connect on the go.

SASE addresses the numerous problems with traditional network security methods, many of which are rooted in the idea that network security architectures should be placed at the center of connectivity in the HQ or data center, where typically branch locations are more vulnerable to attack.

The Fundamentals of Secure Access Service Edge

According to Gartner, cloud-centric digital business, users, devices, and the networked capabilities they require secure access to are everywhere, and what security and risk professionals in a digital enterprise needs is a worldwide fabric/mesh of network and network security capabilities that can be applied when and where to connect entities to the networked capabilities they need access to.

Implementing a SASE architecture would benefit enterprises by providing:

  • Lower costs and complexity – Network Security as a Service should come from a single vendor. Consolidating vendors and technology stacks should reduce cost and complexity.
  • Agility – Enable new digital business scenarios (apps, services, APIs), and data shareable to partners and contractors with less risk exposure.
  • Better performance/latency – latency-optimized routing.
  • Ease of use/transparency – Fewer agents per device; less agent and app bloat; consistent applicate experience anywhere, any device. Less operational overhead by updating for new threats and policies without new HW or SW; quicker adoption of new capabilities.
  • Enable ZTNA – Network access based on identity of user, device, application – not IP address or physical location for seamless protection on and off the network; end-to-end encryption. Extended to endpoint with public Wi-Fi protection by tunneling to the nearest Point of Presence (POP).
  • More effective network and network security staff – Shift to strategic projects like mapping business, regulatory, and application access requirements to SASE capabilities.
  • Centralized policy with local enforcement – Cloud-based centralized management with distributed enforcement and decision making.

SASE & Network Access Control

In essence, SASE converges the functions of network and security solutions into a single, unified cloud service. This marks an architectural transformation within the realm of enterprise networking and security, and it means that IT teams can now deliver a holistic and flexible service to their businesses.

The logical next step in the evolution of network security is for organizations to be able to leverage a NAC solution that’s delivered as a cloud service. This eliminates the need for costly on-site appliances and on-going maintenance. Now, all that’s needed to control network access at branches and the headquarters alike, is an internet connection.

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