Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) is a network architecture that merges security with Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) to create a single, unified cloud service. The benefits of SASE include simplified WAN deployment, increased security, and appropriate bandwidth allocation on a per-application basis. Because it’s a cloud service, SASE is scalable by design, making it a viable and welcome option during rapidly changing times.
SASE is also a combined package of technologies such as SD-WAN, Secure Web Gateway (SWG), Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB), Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), and Firewall as a Service (FWaaS). Thus, it can identify sensitive data and malware, decrypt content at line speed, continuously monitor sessions, and assess risk and trust levels.
Top 10 Benefits of SASE
Coming up are 10 benefits of SASE and why employing a SASE network architecture can increase both WAN performance and security. If you are a little unfamiliar with SASE, then our recent article What is SASE? Architecture Overview will get you up to speed.
1. Cost Reduction
With SASE, organisations eliminate the disjointed model of physical and virtual appliances from numerous vendors. Instead, they can leverage a single, cloud-native solution. Organisations can deliver more technologies and services through one provider rather than two or more, thus eliminating the cost of miscellaneous appliances and reducing the cost associated with unneeded network complexity. For example, SASE simplifies ongoing upgrades, patches, and network maintenance, reducing cost further.
Reducing network complexity also means reducing the workload for IT staff. Thus, SASE significantly reduces IT staffing costs while providing continuous coverage for network performance monitoring and security threat monitoring and response.
2. WAN Scalability
SASE does for WAN architecture what Azure, AWS, and Digital Ocean did for application delivery. SASE enables hyper-scalability and elasticity within the WAN infrastructure. Traditional hub & spoke and point-to-point solutions require excess time and resources to scale up and down, whereas a cloud-based SASE solution minimises the IT load and streamlines provisioning times.
With SASE, IT can get a site online in minutes rather than weeks as with a traditional WAN. Also, less physical hardware means less maintenance downtime and fewer additional software licenses. With these improved efficiencies, IT can assign staff to higher priority tasks such as security and network monitoring.
3. Ease of Management
One of the main SASE benefits is the ease of management. Because SASE management is one central cloud-based management application, it controls the entire service from a single point.
Consider this as an example: Managing SWG, SD-WAN, NGFW, and VPN devices across multiple office locations within an enterprise network requires more IT labour as additional sites get added.
However, SASE management complexity doesn’t grow along with the network because it’s a single cloud-based management application. Thus, it controls the entire service, and the IT department doesn’t need to take its time with cumbersome maintenance tasks like patches and hardware replacements.
4. Edge to Edge Security
By design, SASE secures and connects the enterprise WAN in a simple, holistic way that, in turn, increases performance. Network and security functions combine to form a single multitenant cloud platform that strengthens security and improves performance.
Because SD-WAN is an integral part of the SASE solution, features like an active-active failover and WAN optimisations increase network resilience and improve performance. As part of a full network security stack, a SASE solution often includes functionality like SWG, NGFW, IPS, and next-generation network architecture. As a result, the cloud-native model protects all edges and achieves proper network visibility.
5. Simplified Security Model
Legacy network solutions end up requiring additional security devices and systems added to keep up with the latest security requirements and standards. These legacy solutions are also often unable to deliver the latest security functions such as IPS, NGFW, and SWG. So, enterprises deploy more security solutions to fill that gap that only adds to the problem.
SASE eliminates this issue by employing FWaaS, which builds in security features like URL filtering, IPS, anti-malware, and of course, firewalling right into its infrastructure. Delivering FWaaS as part of the SASE solution makes it easy for companies to manage their network security, set uniform policies, spot irregularities, and make changes quickly. All edges, from physical sites to mobile sites to the cloud, receive the same uniform protection.
6. Consistent Data Protection
Companies today, collect, process, and distribute massive amounts of data. This collection includes everything from confidential business, customer, and sensitive intellectual property data. The practice of protecting this sensitive data against loss is called Data Loss Prevention (DLP). Enterprises must protect data against loss, theft, or misuse, no matter where data is stored.
SASE enables DLP delivery through the cloud and centres around the data itself. DLP is an embedded solution that exists within the enterprise’s existing control points. Essentially, it eliminates the need to acquire and maintain multiple protection tools.
A cloud-based SASE solution automates several DLP processes, including discovery and classification of sensitive data whether it is in storage, in use, or in-transit. Furthermore, SASE DLP authenticates users and devices, controlling who has access to information and applications.
SASE DLP allows you to apply protection policies across your entire network, even if that includes more than one cloud environment, multiple applications, mobile devices, and an on-premise datacentre.
7. Increased Network Performance
SASE provides constant network monitoring that reveals the performance of data flow, including remote data streams distributed across virtualised cloud environments and data centres. Efficient monitoring provides a real-time picture of all inbound and outbound process connections in a single portal or network interface.
Now that networks are expanding into remote areas, they are also connecting using an ever-growing variety of communications technologies. SASE enables more people to connect to the network reliably and securely.
Organisations can now target a new domain of users who may have traditionally been more challenging to monitor and control. As a result, users can rely on a stable and fast network, with little to no latency added due to network monitoring.
8. Greater Visibility and Control of Data Usage
Assessing risk is a dynamic, complicated process. The environment constantly changes as users and applications connect and disconnect. Organisations must mitigate that risk by understanding how their network’s users, devices, applications, and services interact. Visibility into these applications is essential for monitoring as well as identifying security weaknesses.
ZTNA is a relatively new approach that enables enterprises to achieve granular visibility and fine control of systems and users accessing corporate services and applications. Moving to a ZTNA enabled SASE platform allows companies to get and utilise these new zero-trust capabilities.
Because SASE condenses multiple functions into a single one, network and security transparency gains are significant because fewer software agents are required to deliver and maintain consistent network visibility.
9. Secure Cloud Data Access
Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) is a security solution that addresses the challenge of maintaining secure access to and for data stored while managing a constantly shifting workload to the cloud.
SASE and CASB work in conjunction to deliver cloud security along with overall network security services. Together, they address the cloud-native architecture of an enterprise’s WAN security requirements.
Enterprise IT achieves the proper level of visibility, data security, threat protection, and compliance for its entire network to include the cloud, mobile, and on-premises segments.
10. Fully Integrates SD-WAN
SD-WAN has revolutionised the way businesses connect to the cloud. With SD-WAN, an enterprise can migrate away from closed, proprietary Wide Area Network solutions. In doing so, they can gain flexibility and cost savings to their operations.
SD-WAN uses a centralised control plane to direct traffic across the WAN. This design results in increased application performance, enhanced user experience, increased business productivity, and lower IT spend.
SASE bridges cloud services into the SD-WAN, providing remote users and branch offices secure access from any location. SASE minimises or even eliminates the need for specialised hardware or security appliances. Further, SASE converges various network and security functions into a single cloud security platform.
Think of SASE as an overlay to SD-WAN that incorporates security protocols whilst increases a network’s reach, supporting mobile devices, IoT devices, and any other type of device that has an inconsistent connection to the network.
Now more than ever, companies must secure their data everywhere, as cloud services and remote offices distribute data beyond a centralised local data centre. Today’s enterprises have more users, services, applications, and data spread across multiple cloud services.
Security is a requirement at each endpoint, and SASE offers an efficient way to meet that challenge. SASE network architecture combines SD-WAN and enhanced security into one easy-to-manage cloud service. With its simplified WAN deployment and robust security, SASE is a powerful solution during this time of emerging technologies and rapid network expansion.
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