The era of traditional IT infrastructure is long gone as we search the horizon for better, more efficient ways to transfer, carry and store our data. The modern age has been full of enlightening innovation and the advent of Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) has marked itself a milestone achievement – but what is Secure Access Service Edge?
What Is Secure Access Service Edge (SASE)?
Gartner defined Secure Access Service Edge as being able to deliver converged network and security as a service - including SD-WAN, SWG, CASB, NGFW, and zero trust network access (ZTNA) capabilities. Additionally, the arrival of hybrid and remote work environments boosted the prevalence of it as “SASE supports branch office, remote worker and on-premises secure access use cases.”
Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), pronounced “sassy”, is a cloud-native combination of network security functions and solutions that is designed to provide secure access required by enterprises globally faced with an ultra-dynamic cyber security landscape. It puts together a software-defined network with functional network security within a single service – providing improved control and visibility of network traffic, user access, and data for your organization.
The term “SASE” was coined by Gartner in its August 2019 report “The Future of Network Security in the Cloud” and was later expanded upon in their 2021 Strategic Roadmap for SASE Convergence. The report states that “security and risk professionals in a digital enterprise need… a worldwide fabric/mesh of network and network security capabilities that can be applied when and where needed to connect entities to the networked capabilities they need access to."
The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the need for solutions to connect distant employees, offices, and branches - while making it the kiss of death for travel, social interaction, and SD-WAN. As businesses rushed to digital transformation in the wake of the pandemic, SD-WAN capabilities became a star in security and cost-effective connectivity for remote networks and third-party applications, however, VPNs and web gateways have now surpassed the abilities of SD-WAN to provide total connectivity and security.
The arrival of SASE has changed the game indefinitely. Gartner predicts that “by 2025, 65% of enterprises will have consolidated individual SASE components into one or two explicitly partnered SASE vendors, up from 15% in 2021.”
Gartner is a global leader in IT research and advisory fields - providing trusted practice advice, information, reviews, and tools for IT infrastructure. In 2019, they saw a gap in available solutions designed to streamline cloud transformation and network security, leading to the creation of SASE.
According to Gartner, “SASE capabilities are delivered as a service based upon the identity of the entity, real-time context, enterprise security/compliance policies, and continuous assessment of risk/trust throughout the sessions. Identities of entities can be associated with people, groups of people (branch offices), devices, applications, services, IoT systems, or edge computing locations."
So, now that we know who created it, let’s learn more about this revolutionary service.
How Does Secure Access Service Edge Work?
Secure Access Service Edge is now widely considered to be the successor to SD-WAN. But how does SASE work and why is it quickly overtaking SD-WAN as the connectivity solution of choice?
Secure Access Service Edge is a perfect blend of network security and connectivity - controlled centrally and administrated from the cloud with added visibility and automated analytics. SASE applies policy-based rules to network devices and users based on the device or user, role, behavior, and location - or any number of adjustable factors – to provide secure access to applications and data however far you are from the main data center.
Secure Access Service Edge provides a secure, automated, and reliable connection for organizations to link their locations across the globe, improve application performance and enjoy advanced network security.
Technically, instead of replacing the Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN), SASE adopts a multifunctional approach that includes SD-WAN, as well as SWG, CASB, ZTNA, and FWaaS as core capabilities. Being able to identify sensitive data, malware, or being able to decrypt content rapidly under supervision. SASE works by being:
- Cloud Native: Operating from within the cloud allows SASE to be adaptable, flexible, and accessible anywhere.
- Based on Identity: The network access and quality of service are determined by the user and resource identity is determined by company policies to ensure that optimal function is allocated as needed.
- Global Scale: SASE delivers across all networks to provide services and security capabilities across the board.
The Components of the SASE Model
SASE combines SD-WAN capabilities with several network security functions from the convenience of a single cloud platform. This gives organizations better control over their network traffic and data. The key components of SASE include:
- Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN): Instead of overtaking SD-WAN, SASE enables optimal WAN management by leveraging its capabilities to provide optimized internet security, remote access, network routing, global connectivity, and cloud acceleration.
- Secure Web Gateway (SWG): Secure Web Gateway solutions protect users against cyber threats, such as malware, phishing, and data breaches through extensive filtering of network traffic. SASE provides a Secure Web Gateway anywhere across your network – ensuring that remote network security is maintained as well.
- Firewall as a Service (FWaaS): Firewalls are often the first line of defense for your network against a cyber-attack. SASE includes a Firewall-as-a-Service function that can secure your network within a cloud-based infrastructure and provides a virtual, scalable, and flexible solution to keep your network safe.
- Zero-Trust Network Access (ZTNA): A zero-trust network access platform relies on the idea that applications should adjust access according to each user and require real-time verification of every device used – thus ensuring maximum security.
- Unified Management: IT infrastructures can be tedious to manage at times, especially when implementing multiple services. SASE eases this by supplying all the network monitoring and security solutions you need within a single platform.
- Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB): A cloud access security broker helps your organization adapt to new threats within cloud computing. SASE adds this essential function to its roster to ensure that your cloud security and data are always in safe hands.
While these are all great functions to apply within your infrastructure, what are the actual benefits of a SASE model in your business?
The Benefits of Secure Access Service Edge
Essentially, SASE is a mere extension of SD-WAN. The service provides a host of advantages for an enterprise that bridge the gap between connectivity and security. A few of the benefits SASE users enjoy are:
- Scalability and Agility: SASE networks have adaptable and flexible resources that allow them to connect globally with employees and offices across the globe. The platform can be used to connect users and deploy resources – all without the need to maintain an on-premises infrastructure quickly and securely. SASE also improves the network traffic control and performance of your organization and therefore provides automatic adjustments as required.
- Control: SASE allows IT administrators to have full control of all user and application traffic from one place while using the cloud to set management and security policies within all areas of the network.
- Simplicity: SASE provides simplified monitoring and reporting capabilities that will ensure your operation runs smoothly. The single-pane-of-glass management removes the need for multiple vendors and solutions – therefore reducing the complexity of the operation.
- Cost Efficiency: SASE employs an infrastructure that ensures a reduction in operation and maintenance costs. The need to employ IT experts or multiple cybersecurity vendors is dramatically brought down. A virtual infrastructure also maintains a minimal cost on hardware expenditure and completely mitigates the need for on-premises supervision.
- Improved Security: A good SASE service will provide a full security stack with consistent deployment and management of network security policies across all locations, for all applications and data traffic. With SASE, your company’s security is boosted due to uniform policy deployment and zero-trust networking capabilities. Your organization is actively protected against data breaches and cyber-attacks within on-premises and cloud networks.
- Latency Routing: Optimizing latency routing allows SASE to determine the fastest network path based on network congestion and other factors. This will ensure that user experience is improved.
Who Is SASE Most Valuable to
Enterprises that need secure direct access between branches or remote offices will find the most value in deploying SASE services. SASE is also the solution of choice for budget-conscious businesses that might not be able to afford the ease of deployment from any location. Ultimately, SASE is chosen by those enterprises moving towards digital transformation with the cloud as it prioritizes the easy distribution of secure access for everyone in the organization.
Secure Access Service Edge is the Future
Gartner suggests that by 2026, network and security vendors that are unable to deliver a compelling SASE offering will be relegated to niche market opportunities. SASE is a blend of everything network security and cloud – providing the best of both worlds.
Enterprises have always struggled to provide the best and easiest system management for their networking solutions. With so many critical systems like SD-WAN, NGFW, secure web gateways, and VPN devices, management can get understandably complex when operating each solution independently.
Additionally, the lack of qualified IT and security personnel and the drastic rise of remote office locations easily display where gaps in management lay. Enterprises are sometimes hesitant to deploy a SASE approach, yet most of them have already in some way. The key steps to fully adopting a SASE model include:
- Migration to the cloud
- A secure remote workforce
- Moving DDoS protection to the edge
- Putting branch offices behind a cloud perimeter
- Replacing security appliances with unified, cloud-native policy enforcement
Sangfor Technologies is an APAC-based, global leading IT vendor that specializes in cybersecurity and cloud computing and has a ready-to-use SASE model for your enterprise to deploy.
Sangfor Access SASE Solution
The SASE Sangfor Access solution provides a secure, cloud-based connection for HQ, branches, and remote users. Deploying Sangfor Access gives you consistent network security from malware, viruses, and ransomware. The platform can audit all traffic - external and internal – and protect the enterprise from any insider threats.
- Seamless Connectivity: Sangfor’s total secure access connects branch offices securely and seamlessly and was created based on unique customer needs and guidance from Gartner. The SASE Sangfor Access platform serves over 100,000 customers who operate branches and offices in some of the most remote locations - across continents, oceans, and borders. Remote locations and users need only install a lightweight client on their devices to become connected and secured by Sangfor Access.
- Advanced Security: With Sangfor Access SASE, users are authenticated and constantly protected from malware, ransomware, and cyber-attacks. Administrators can easily audit users and behavior to discover any misuse of applications, bandwidth, or data leakage - no matter how remote the user is.
- Cost Effective: Additionally, Sangfor Access SASE decreases costs for its users with Sangfor’s pay-as-you-grow strategy, allowing enterprises to scale as needed, and save their money for other critical functions or upgrades.
- Active Analytics: Finally, the Sangfor Analytics Platform tracks data leakage and deploys extensive data analysis to uncover hidden security risks. The platform works closely with Neural-X to uncover invisible threats within the network before they can cause damage.
Sangfor Access Secure (SASE) Solution Case Study Video
Emily is the marketing manager of a SaaS company that embraces the hybrid work model but faces some IT connectivity challenges in her daily work life. Sangfor Access Secure is here to save the day. Watch the video to learn how #Sangfor Access Secure, solution, empowers Emily to work efficiently and securely across all her devices and platforms.
Secure Access Service Edge is going to be around for a very long time and Sangfor is proud to provide the most advanced and innovative SASE solution with Sangfor Access – for those who are leaders in every industry and value security and reliable connectivity for their organizations. For more information on Sangfor’s cyber security and cloud computing solutions, visit www.sangfor.com.