SASE solutions reduce complexities to provide a robust edge security solution
If you feel like the technology industry has its head in the clouds these days, you’re right. The majority of the world’s data is now stored and managed in a virtual space, and security services are quickly migrating there, too. One such cloud-delivered security model is known as Secure Access Service Edge, or SASE.
Gartner predicts that by 2025, more than 60% of enterprise businesses will have explicit strategies and timelines in place for SASE security adoption, up from 10% in 2020. That’s because SASE architecture allows enterprises to protect users, branches, and edge access, while saving money, eliminating redundant vendors, and simplifying complex edge security solutions. Let’s explore how it works.
What is SASE security?
In the past, enterprise networks have relied on tunnels connected to physical data centers to monitor traffic between applications and endpoints. Today, users and their applications are ubiquitous. Rather than being stored exclusively in a data center, data lives with cloud storage vendors like Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Oracle, and more. This makes it nearly impossible for enterprises to own an end-to-end security solution. SASE security addresses this issue by essentially placing a guard at the network exit to monitor the traffic that attempts to pass through.
SASE is a combination of SD-WAN capabilities and next-generation security and network services. SASE solutions use real-time context based on enterprise compliance policies to identify end computing points including users, branch offices, cloud services, applications, and IoT devices. If the traffic is legitimate, the SASE edge control allows it to pass through. Adding this layer of security into an existing SD-WAN solution not only creates more secure communication, but also helps optimize the flow of data by reducing the bandwidth dedicated to unsecured traffic.
Here’s an example of how a SASE network flexes its muscles to secure the edge. Consider the widely used cloud-based application Microsoft Office 365. Today, if you were to create an Excel spreadsheet containing complex macros, your existing SD-WAN solution would likely be able to examine the packets within that sheet, determine the best path to send it down, and secure it through basic firewalling. With the addition of a SASE solution, rogue code that may live in those macros – such as code that collects data off a machine to send to bad actors – can be identified as atypical behavior and stopped before any harm is done.
Complementing network security policies such as Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), SASE understands how users and applications should act, and makes its security decisions accordingly.
Improving operational efficiencies with SASE security
As IT departments continue to consolidate their employment numbers, enterprises are increasingly aware of the need to maximize and monitor services. By taking advantage of advanced Wireless WAN (WWAN) and SASE solutions, they can implement robust security without adding layers of complexity that monopolize the time of IT professionals. SASE edge control benefits enterprise networks by:
- Improving data efficiency and use of bandwidth
- Reducing operational costs when working with combined equipment and SASE security vendors
- Enhancing network performance through customized security policies
- Creating a consistent security posture across the edge based on the unique needs of the business
Streamlining the migration to a SASE solution
The simplest way to implement a SASE network security solution is to opt for a cloud management platform with SASE built into the overall offering to provide a sophisticated level of security tracking and protection for your WWAN. But before jumping in with both feet, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the traffic you’re trying to secure, as not every security solution applies to every type of network traffic. If you’re not sure who your users are, what applications they’re using, what actions they should be taking, and where their data should be going, it’s difficult to design an appropriate security policy. Without the right policies, your network security is about as effective as a slice of swiss cheese.
Once you develop a clear, concise picture of data use throughout your enterprise network, you can easily set up, configure, monitor, and manage security policies moving forward, including the adoption of a secure access service edge solution.
In the interim, enterprises can improve the security of their network as they prepare for the adoption of SASE security by:
- Deploying ZTNA to augment or replace VPN for remote users
- Phasing out on-premises and branch hardware in favor of cloud-based solutions
- Consolidating security vendors
- Including cloud-based wireless edge security solutions in future project planning