In today’s digital era, where businesses rely on cloud-based services and employees need to access corporate resources from anywhere in the world, security is at the forefront. However, traditional security approaches are reaching their limits and are no longer sufficient to meet the growing threats and requirements. That’s where SASE comes in—an innovative technology that brings together the best of SD-WAN and zero-trust security in a unified, cloud-based platform. In this blog article, we take a closer look at SASE and what it means for the future of network security.
Table of Contents
What is SASE?
SASE stands for Secure Access Service Edge . It is a security framework designed to enhance network security for modern, distributed enterprises. SASE combines two essential components: SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Networking) and Zero Trust security solutions . This combination enables organizations to converge networking and security to create a comprehensive solution that operates at the network edge.
SASE features: Identity-enabled security for global protection of all edges in a cloud-native solution
A key feature of SASE is identity-based security. Rather than relying solely on traditional security measures such as firewalls, SASE grants access to resources based on user and device identity. Also known as “zero trust,” this approach ensures that every user and device accessing the network must first be authenticated and authorized. Continuous identity verification significantly reduces security risk by allowing only legitimate users and trusted devices access to corporate resources.
In addition, SASE provides both the network infrastructure and the security solutions in the cloud. This cloud-based approach offers several advantages. First, it allows for great flexibility and scalability, as organizations can dynamically adjust their network and security resources as needed. Second, it ensures faster delivery of security updates and patches because they can be managed centrally in the cloud and deployed across the network. Third, it eliminates the need for extensive on-site hardware infrastructure, resulting in significant cost savings.
Another key feature of SASE is support for all areas of the edge. Traditionally, security measures have focused primarily on the corporate network and its perimeter. In today’s era of widespread mobile devices, cloud applications and the Internet of Things (IoT), the concept of the edge has expanded significantly. SASE provides security for every physical, digital, and logical edge, from mobile devices to IoT devices to cloud applications. This comprehensive security coverage ensures a holistic approach to protecting the entire enterprise network.
In addition, users are protected with SASE regardless of their location. With organizations today often having decentralized teams and remote workers, it is imperative to ensure global protection. SASE enables organizations to enforce consistent security policies for all users and devices regardless of their geographic location. Whether employees are at headquarters, in the field, or working from home, they can securely access corporate resources without compromising security.
The building blocks of modern network security
SASE comprises a variety of components and technologies that work together to provide a comprehensive security solution. Let’s take a look at these building blocks:
SD-WAN is a fundamental component of SASE and revolutionizes the way companies manage their wide area networks (WANs). It enables centralized management and control of traffic across multiple connections, such as MPLS, broadband internet and 4G/5G. By intelligently using different links, SD-WAN can minimize bottlenecks, improve network performance and reduce costs. It also offers increased resiliency as it can seamlessly reroute traffic to alternative connections if one connection fails.
SWG (Secure Web Gateway)
The Secure Web Gateway is another important part of SASE and serves as a central security service to monitor and protect web traffic. SWG acts as a proxy between users and the Internet and can monitor and block traffic for malicious content, malware, and other threats. It also enables security policy enforcement to control access to specific websites and content, ensuring user safety and productivity.
CASB (Cloud Access Security Broker)
CASB is a critical building block of SASE specifically designed to ensure the security of cloud applications. As companies increasingly use cloud-based services, it is important to control and monitor the security of these applications. CASB provides visibility and control over access to cloud applications and data, enables security policy enforcement, and protects against data loss and unauthorized access to sensitive information in the cloud.
FWaaS is a modern variant of traditional firewall technology and a central part of SASE. FWaaS protects the network by filtering traffic based on security policies and blocking unwanted or malicious traffic. By delivering the firewall as a cloud-based service, FWaaS can seamlessly respond to the changing network environment while providing high scalability and flexibility.
ZTNA (Zero Trust Network Access)
ZTNA is a security concept that states that no user or device should be trusted by default, even within the corporate network. This Zero Trust philosophy is an integral part of SASE and is used to grant access to resources based on the identity and security posture of each user and device. ZTNA enables organizations to implement fine-grained access control and ensure only legitimate users and trusted devices have access to corporate resources.
Centralized and Unified Management
Another key feature of SASE is centralized and unified management. SASE platforms provide a single, cloud-based console from which organizations can manage all of their network security. This enables IT teams to apply security policies consistently, proactively detect and respond to threats, and efficiently distribute security updates and patches.
Various advantages for modern network security
The integration of SD-WAN and Zero Trust security in a SASE platform offers a whole range of advantages for companies:
Reduced IT costs and complexity
SASE combines various security components in a single, cloud-based platform. This reduces the need for a variety of specialized hardware and software solutions that have traditionally been deployed for various security needs. Integrating network and security services into one platform simplifies management and maintenance, reducing IT costs and complexity.
Agilely Scalable, Customizable WAN and Security Services
SASE enables organizations to flexibly scale their network and security resources to meet the demands of business growth. The platform offers customizable services that meet the specific needs and requirements of each organization, creating a tailor-made network security solution.
Rapid Deployment of New Services
The cloud-based nature of SASE makes it quick and easy to implement new services and security features. This enables companies to adapt agilely to new threats and requirements and to continuously improve security.
Ensuring performance for real-time sensitive applications by reducing latency
SASE enables intelligent traffic optimization and prioritization to reduce latency and ensure real-time sensitive applications such as video or voice communications have optimal performance. This helps increase employee productivity and enhance the customer experience.
Central definition and control of security policies
With SASE, companies can centrally define and control their security policies. This enables consistent enforcement of security measures across the entire corporate network, regardless of the location or device from which the network is accessed.
Enhanced security by inspecting network traffic and identities at the network edge
SASE applies security measures directly at the network edge to inspect traffic and user and device identities before they are allowed access to corporate resources. This significantly reduces the risk of security breaches, since potential threats can be identified and averted at an early stage.
High level of security through Zero Trust Network Access
SASE is based on the Zero Trust principle, which states that no user or device should be trusted by default. This approach ensures a high level of security as access to resources is tightly controlled based on the identity and security status of each user and device.
Auditing access security to services and applications close to the user
By providing security functions at the network edge, SASE can audit access security to services and applications close to the user. This enables faster and more accurate access verification and helps improve security.
Fine-Grained Access Controls to Data, Applications, and Devices
SASE enables organizations to implement fine-grained access controls to data, applications, and devices. This means that companies can define exactly who has access to which resources and what actions they are allowed to take.
High level of security for applications and transmitted or stored data
Through the integration of various security components, SASE offers a high level of security for applications and the transmitted or stored data. This helps ensure the confidentiality and integrity of company data and minimizes the risks of data leaks and breaches.
Enforce security policies based on identities and context
SASE enables organizations to enforce security policies based on the identities and context of users and devices. This allows organizations to fine-tune their security measures to specific threats and requirements.
Provision and management of the inspection engines by the SASE provider
The SASE platform is provided and managed by a provider that runs the inspection engines for the security checks and analysis. This allows companies to focus on their core business while benefiting from the latest and most effective security technologies.
High level of protection against malware and DDoS attacks
Malware and DDoS attacks are among the most common and dangerous threats to companies and their networks. Malware can wreak havoc, from leaking data to disrupting operations. DDoS attacks can overload networks and affect the availability of applications and services. SASE provides a high level of protection against these threats by integrating a variety of security features, including next-generation firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDPS), antivirus and anti-malware scanning, and DDoS protection mechanisms. These features work together to identify and block suspicious traffic before it reaches the corporate network, effectively stopping malware infections and DDoS attacks.
Flexible data traffic prioritization options
In an increasingly connected world, businesses must use their network resources efficiently to ensure smooth operations. SASE allows organizations to flexibly prioritize their traffic and allocate optimal bandwidth to the most important applications and services. This is particularly important for real-time sensitive applications such as video or voice communications that require low latency to ensure high quality and user experience. By intelligently optimizing and controlling traffic, SASE can ensure that these critical applications are prioritized and receive optimal performance, while less important applications, such as email or file transfers, are given appropriate resources.
Integration of network and security functions
Another advantage of SASE is the seamless integration of network and security functions. SASE combines both functions in a single, cloud-based platform, giving companies a holistic solution for their network security. This integration enables SASE to analyze traffic in real time and dynamically apply security policies to detect and block suspicious activity before it can cause harm.
Implementing SASE: Protect, Transform, and Support in the Digital Era
Organizations that need comprehensive threat and data protection, are driving their digital transformation, and want to support the demands of mobile or hybrid work should consider a SASE framework. However, implementing SASE requires thorough planning and preparation, as well as continuous monitoring and optimization to realize the full potential of this innovative security solution.
Step-by-step implementation of SASE:
- Analysis of Current Environment: The first step in implementing SASE is to analyze the organization’s current network and security environment. Here, the existing network components, security solutions, applications and data flows are examined in order to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the existing infrastructure.
- Identification of security vulnerabilities: The analysis must be used to identify important security vulnerabilities that need to be eliminated. This can include security gaps in the network architecture, missing or outdated security measures, insufficient access controls or unprotected cloud resources. Identifying these vulnerabilities is critical to remediating the vulnerabilities and improving security.
- Integrating Existing Technology Investments: Many organizations already have investments in security technologies that potentially can be combined with SASE solutions. It is important to determine which existing technology investments can be combined with current tools that already comply with Zero Trust principles. Seamless integration of existing solutions can save costs and reduce implementation time.
- Planning and Preparation: Implementing SASE requires thorough planning and preparation. This includes defining security policies, considering compliance requirements, and establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of the implementation. A detailed implementation plan should be drawn up, taking into account all the required steps, resources and timeframe.
- Continuous monitoring and optimization: SASE is not a one-time implementation, but requires continuous monitoring and optimization. The threat landscape is constantly changing, and new vulnerabilities may appear. It is important for organizations to continuously adapt and improve their security measures to keep up with changing requirements.
Conclusion on SASE
Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) has undoubtedly established itself as a game-changing technology in network security. With its holistic approach that combines network and security functions in a cloud-based platform, SASE offers a powerful solution for today’s threats and requirements. The benefits of SASE, such as a high level of protection against malware and DDoS attacks, flexible traffic prioritization and central security management, enable companies to securely protect their networks and data, increase productivity and drive digital transformation.
For the future, companies and users can expect continuous further development and refinement of SASE technologies. With the ever-growing threat landscape, SASE vendors will strive to further improve their security mechanisms to counteract the latest threats. This will most likely result in even greater effectiveness in defending against malware and DDoS attacks, providing organizations with an even higher level of security.
In addition, companies can expect more flexibility and customization options when implementing SASE in the future. Technological advances and innovations could allow SASE solutions to be seamlessly integrated into a wider range of applications and platforms, giving organizations more opportunities to strengthen the security of their networks and data.
As SASE becomes more widely accepted and spread, users will also reap the benefits. Because the improved security of corporate networks means that personal data and information is better protected, leading to greater confidence in the security of online services. Additionally, users will benefit from a smoother and more efficient user experience as SASE enables traffic prioritization, ensuring critical applications and services always get optimal performance.
Both sides – companies and users – can expect an increasing merging of network and security technologies as SASE continues to play a central role in the modern business world: SASE will be an essential part to meet the growing challenges of cybersecurity while maintaining agility and to promote flexibility of companies.