What is SASE?
Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) is a term coined to describe an enterprise network framework that encompasses robust security with Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN). The result is one single cloud-based service — the benefits include simple implementation, safe and efficient access to critical areas of the network, and threat prevention. SASE solutions are scalable by design as a cloud service, meaning the level of protection and ease of use remains consistent — regardless of how your company network expands or evolves. As such, the benefits of SASE are many.
But there are more convincing reasons why modern companies should rapidly adopt SASE-inspired security services like NordLayer. Here are the 11 most important points we think you should familiarize yourself with:
1. Reduced costs
Existing legacy security models that many organizations still use typically comprise numerous solutions from various vendors — creating a disjointed security setup that is complex to maintain and often unnecessarily expensive, especially if maintaining a data center. Leveraging a cloud-based SASE solution allows for easy maintenance, reduces the burden on valuable resource time, and is a far more cost-effective way of protecting your company network.
2. Network scalability
Compared to traditional solutions, a cloud-based SASE security solution is far more flexible within a company Wide Area Network (WAN). Less physical hardware means less downtime needed for updates, and therefore scaling can be done quickly, efficiently, and across organizations of any size. However much a company evolves or grows, a SASE solution will adapt to meet those requirements.
3. Easy to use and manage
One of the key benefits of SASE is how easy it is to manage and maintain. Given the nature of SASE solutions being cloud-based, your IT admins can control the complete service from one place. Also, as the company network grows, the controllability and management remain the same. A simple service to use that contains an intuitive interface makes everyone's lives easier and streamlines the onboarding process for new employees to the system.
4. Less admin time and resource
Your IT admin's valuable time is often taken up with unnecessarily lengthy maintenance work such as conducting laborious tasks like implementing patches and replacing hardware. The low levels of network complexity involved with cloud-based SASE solutions mean not just your IT team but your whole staff will be able to use their time more effectively.
If you have a solution that is intuitive and simple to use - whatever your skill level is - then that means everyone will be able to benefit from it.
5. Edge-to-edge security
Many SASE solutions secure traditional network infrastructures in a simplified way. The individual components that make up the SASE framework work together in tandem as one holistic cloud platform — perfect for protecting your network security.
When implemented, SASE solutions typically provide functionality such as Secure Web Gateway (SWG) and Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW). As cloud-based solutions, the SASE framework offers comprehensive protection and complete visibility to the company's furthest network edge.
6. Simple security model
Legacy network solutions require regular updates to keep pace with the ever-changing security requirements of modern enterprises. Often, they aren't able to deliver the latest technological capabilities of their cloud security counterparts in spite of this.
SASE addresses issues like these through Firewall-as-a-Service (FWaaS), which has security features like URL filtering, Intrusion Prevention System (IPS), anti-malware, and of course, firewalling built into its infrastructure. FWaaS is unlimited by the geographic dispersion of the organization endpoints. Its aim is to detect and target any attempts of unauthorized access to a network. FWaaS reinforce network security, applies advanced threat prevention, and focuses on monitoring and filtering all incoming and outgoing traffic created by remote users.
7. Data protection
Collecting, storing, and sharing data is common practice for companies of all sizes today. How to safely protect that data has become more of a pertinent question over the past few years, as the threat of data breaches has grown exponentially. Protecting sensitive information is known as Data Loss Prevention (DLP).
SASE removes the need for multiple tools to protect this data by automating several DLP processes — discovery and classification of data storage locations, used data, or data in transit. It also utilizes security measures like user and device authentication to help control over who is accessing data and resources at any given time. SASE DLP also enables protection policies to be rolled out seamlessly across your entire company network.
8. Increased reliability and performance
Secure Access Service Edge solutions will monitor data flows to analyze network performance in real-time (usually from a centralized panel). As company networks are expanding to support remote workers and those working on-site, SASE enables employees to connect to the network safely and securely, wherever they are in the world — with very little to no latency.
9. Increased network visibility
Assessing immediate threats to company network integrity is a necessary but often tricky process. Organizations try to mitigate risks by first examining the interactions between users, devices, and the applications or resources they use.
Moving to a SASE platform built around Zero-Trust capabilities (implementing the principle of 'deny all, permit some') enables granular visibility, providing far greater transparency and control over company network access. Having complete visibility of network activity helps to highlight any potential security vulnerabilities quickly.
10. Secure access to cloud data
Businesses need to ensure they hold their most critical data under lock and key. SASE operates with a Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB). Together, they form a compact solution that helps maintain secure access to vital data, applications, and resources.
Network and security functions utilize CASBs for security governance as a third-party security software tool that works as a middleman between cloud applications and cloud service users. CASBs monitor the ongoing transaction of services and enforce any action, including security policies, to maintain healthy security functions.
With access to a cloud data center comes increased visibility and control for IT admins to manage data security, threat protection, and compliance for the entire company network — including on-site network users, devices, and remote workers.
11. Integrated security and routing
SASE condenses several security solutions into one service. Teams can move to system-wide policy services, which are fully integrated and not disjointed. SASE is not strictly limited to a specific number of components — a combination of additional features can help improve the security levels of the approach, including SD-WAN, SWG, FWaaS, CASB, and Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA).
Integration with routing assures company traffic is secure, encrypted, and adequately routed. Some vendors like NordLayer will utilize cloud-based security systems, while others may depend on customer premises equipment (CPE) devices.
Conclusion & expectations you can achieve with SASE
Organizations today have their users, applications, data, and resources in far-reaching places over several cloud services. With that in mind, all network areas that contain or handle data must be secure. SASE addresses the challenges companies face with a high-efficiency level and provides a far more manageable and futureproof security framework than traditional legacy infrastructures.
Every framework or solution has a downside, and despite the many SASE benefits, it is no exception. The biggest challenge to implementing SASE is likely the requirement of a wholescale upheaval of traditional infrastructure that organizations (and even individual, coexisting teams) have relied on for a long-time.
It would be best to remember that SASE is a guiding principle or a framework, not a specific product. As Gartner indicates, with any technology, you can roll it out steadily and in a strategic, organized fashion to minimize any disruption. First, you should understand its security capabilities and how they fit with your business requirements. Then, the unique benefits of SASE solutions will become evident.