What is SASE, how can it help my business and when should we consider using it?
SASE stands for Secure Access Service Edge – a network architecture that combines software-defined wide area network, better known as SD-WAN, and security into a highly effective cloud infrastructure from a single provider.
SASE has been developed in response to the challenges faced by IT teams when deploying WAN services. This has been particularly obvious over the last year as Covid-19 has forced the majority of the workforce to adopt home working. It’s anticipated that this adaption may have permanently changed the way in which offices are structured going into the future.
Components of SASE
While the technologies of SASE aren’t anything new, the cloud-based solution for networking and security brings them all into a single package:
SASE security policies enforced on users are based on four factors:
- The identity of the person or device connecting
- The health and behaviour of the device and the sensitivity of the data being accessed
- Security and compliance policies
- An ongoing assessment of risk during each access session
The WAN element of SASE relies on capabilities that are supplied by entities including SD-WAN providers, content-delivery networks, carriers, network-as-a-service providers, bandwidth aggregators and more.
Meanwhile, the security element of SASE relies on cloud-access security brokers, zero-trust network access, firewall-as-a-service (FWaaS), cloud secure web gateways, web API protection as a service, DNS and remote browser isolation.
All of these capabilities combine into a single SASE service from a single provider, providing a range of advantages for businesses.
Benefits of SASE for business
There are a variety of reasons why you should be considering deploying SASE for your business.
Greater IT agility – There’s no need to offer hardware to connect-from-home employees. Just like SD-WAN, SASE is a software-defined and cloud-based solution that gives businesses greater IT agility and flexibility to operate in the way that suits them best, as well as swiftly changing direction and responding to competitive changes.
Reduced complexity in your IT model – Every business can benefit from simplified IT infrastructure. SASE enables you to minimize the number of security products your IT departments must manage, update and maintain. This frees them up for higher level tasks and saves your business money
Security and reliability – SASE includes a variety of security technologies that can inspect content and locate sensitive data and malware regardless of where users are located. This enables you to benefit from more security and visibility in your network.
Boost business performance – When your business uses cloud infrastructure, you can easily connect to your resources, wherever they are located. End users will have the same access experience regardless of their location or the resources they need. This means no delays for your business, enabling you to operate on a global scale, 24/7 if required.
Scalable and cost effective – There’s no need to buy and manage multiple point products. As a cloud-based service, SASE can be easily scaled up or down to meet the unique needs of your business. With billing based on your usage, you can ensure you only pay for what your business needs.
Improved data protection – Implementation to data protection policies within a SASE framework is much simpler. Data accessed is granted based on the user’s identity, not their location. Employees and business partners will be given access to only the data required to complete their job duties. This will help to prevent unauthorized access and the abuse of sensitive data.
Is your business ready for SASE?
With Gartner expecting that at least 40% of enterprises will have explicit strategies to adopt SASE infrastructure by 2024, it seems to be a case of when your business will need SASE, rather than if.
Some of the signs that your business could benefit from deploying SASE include:
- You have either temporary or permanent remote staff, or the need for workers to access resources from any location or at any time.
- You anticipate the need for a work-from-anywhere (WFA) workforce in the future.
- You’d like to maximize the connectivity of your workforce without compromising the integrity and security of your network.
- You’d like to control access to company resources based on identity and role rather than location.
- Your business wants the flexibility to be able to adapt to change quickly and seamlessly to support new business requirements.
- You would like to simplify your IT structure, reduced your costs and your IT resources.
- You are looking to extend cloud-based solutions without impacting your network performance.
Which SASE solution is right for your business will depend on the size of your IT department, your current business architecture and your anticipated needs in for the immediate future.
The good news is that while you don’t have to roll out SASE all at once, but starting its implementation will put the necessary framework in place to future-proof your business.