In our interconnected world, where organisations face cyberattack risks, implementing Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) is vital for establishing a secure and efficient network infrastructure. SASE provides a comprehensive solution for central headquarters, remote sites, and mobile users, ensuring consistent protection. The ever-increasing sophistication of cyber threats has therefore meant that organisations need a holistic approach to safeguard their sensitive information and maintain operational continuity.
SASE combines network security functions like secure web gateways, firewalls and data loss prevention with wide-area networking capabilities like SD-WAN, creating a unified and scalable security framework. By consolidating security and networking functions into a single cloud-native platform, SASE simplifies management and reduces complexity, while also improving performance and user experience. In this dynamic and evolving threat landscape, embracing SASE is a strategic move towards a resilient and future-ready network infrastructure.
The Advantages of SASE to Businesses
One of the significant advantages of SASE is its ability to support the growth and scalability of small businesses. These organisations often have integrated network and security teams, and SASE allows them to expand their infrastructure effortlessly while keeping the total cost of ownership (TCO) low.
For large multinational corporations with well-established Security Operations Centre (SOC) and Network Operations Centre (NOC) operations, SASE brings together data from disparate security and networking teams. This unification enables more efficient architectural design and troubleshooting, resulting in enhanced productivity.
SASE goes beyond traditional security architectures by integrating identity and context into its framework. This integration brings numerous benefits, enabling organisations to establish and enforce security policies consistently. By applying a zero-trust policy to every connection between entities and the applications or services they seek to access, SASE ensures a robust security posture. This approach not only helps organisations meet industry compliance requirements but also allows them to meet their defined security standards, aligning with their specific business needs.
Considerations When Choosing SASE Solutions
The concept of SASE encompasses various flavours, such as integrated, disaggregated, multi-product, unified, single vendor and more. Since the term SASE was coined, security and networking teams have shown a preference for unified, single-vendor and integrated solutions. As a result, numerous vendors have emerged in the SASE landscape.
Let’s explore the top factors to consider when evaluating a SASE architecture based on the analysts’ inclination towards unified, single-vendor, and integrated solutions. It is crucial to assess different SASE architectures to ensure that you choose a solution that can provide the necessary security benefits outlined by your security policy. Additionally, it should offer a centralised management interface while meeting your business’ networking performance and scalability requirements.
- Integration into any ecosystem
The solution needs to seamlessly coexist within any ecosystem, allowing easy integration into brownfield environments that already have established security and network solutions in place.
- Secure and Scalable Cloud-Ready Solution Architecture
It needs to be constructed using a robust and reliable architecture that prioritises security. Additionally, it should possess the necessary adaptability and scalability to be deployed seamlessly across various cloud environments, including but not limited to Equinix, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, Alibaba, and other similar platforms.
- Flexible Deployment Options
The solution needs to be designed to operate seamlessly within containers/microservices as well as on bare-metal devices, allowing for scalability and maximising performance.
- Multi-Service Capabilities and Cloud-Native Architecture
The ideal solution should possess the ability to handle multiple services and operate seamlessly in a cloud-native environment. Additionally, it is highly advisable for the solution to incorporate robust multi-tenant capabilities that can scale effectively.
- Centralised Policy Configuration and Distributed Security Enforcement
It should incorporate centralised policy configuration and management, coupled with distributed security enforcement. This approach ensures that policies are enforced effectively by strategically positioned points of presence (PoPs), which are globally accessible.
- AI/ML driven
The solution needs to be powered by AI/ML and capable of identifying and utilising the security policy enforcement point that is nearest to the user/device seeking application access.
- Robust Intrusion Detection/Prevention and Next Generation Firewall Capabilities
It should incorporate a strong security stack for intrusion detection and prevention, complemented by an advanced Firewall as a Service (commonly referred to as Next Generation Firewall). This next-gen firewall offers a wide range of classification and detection functionalities, as well as effective mechanisms for enforcing policies.
- Integrated Solution
For optimal user and application experience, it is essential to integrate software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN), routing, and encryption within a unified operating system, while ensuring comprehensive security measures. Additionally, to enhance user experience, it is advisable to implement a traffic-engineered backbone consisting of interconnected Points of Presence (PoPs). This combination of technologies will deliver an efficient and secure solution.
- Analytics Engine
The solution should include an analytics engine that offers comprehensive visibility into all aspects of the SASE ecosystem, including entities operating from anywhere.
- Flexible and Scalable Delivery
The delivery of the solution should take the form of Software as a Service (SaaS) and possess elastic qualities that allow it to adapt and scale according to the specific requirements of each customer, ensuring optimal performance.
Embracing SASE Architecture
The SASE architecture must offer flexibility across the data, control and management planes. This flexibility empowers network and security teams to efficiently deliver SASE services to numerous users and devices, potentially across multiple tenants and at scale. It also facilitates hybrid operational models where the Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) and the organisation can co-manage various aspects of the services.
Increasingly, organisations prefer unified, single-vendor, and integrated SASE solutions over disaggregated and multi-product solutions. These solutions enable businesses of all sizes to embrace SASE architectures and transition to a comprehensive integrated approach to networking and cybersecurity. By unifying their systems, organisations experience improved protection, simplified maintenance and cost savings. This empowers today’s work-from-anywhere organisations to adopt a flexible workstyle while effectively combating the rising wave of cybercrime.