The term SASE is probably the most widely used buzzword in networking at the current time. SASE stands for Secure Access Service Edge and was first mentioned in a Gartner report at the end of 2019. From that point on, the concept gained momentum as it met the interest of both manufacturers and users. Now, less than two years later, there is no avoiding SASE.
Once you understand the somewhat cumbersome term, you begin to grasp why everyone is suddenly speaking about it. It describes a new approach to enterprise networks, which are currently undergoing a rapid transformation. It was the global situation in 2020 that gave a massive boost to the shifts already underway in enterprises. The current challenges facing enterprise networks include the decentralisation of the network structure, driven by working from home, cloud services and software-as-a-service.
But the security of corporate networks is also increasingly at risk. The number of devices and their heterogeneous tasks have grown steadily in recent years – the network no longer consists of just PCs but also cameras and IoT devices such as TVs, refrigerators or sensors. Employees connect their smartwatch to the enterprise WLAN or want to listen to music in the office through Wi-Fi loudspeakers. Clearly, a security solution that only differentiates based on access to the network can no longer be the right way to achieve a secure network – especially in times when attacks from outside are becoming ever more sophisticated and therefore more successful.
What does the term SASE actually refer to?
As a result of these requirements, network security must also be decentralized and must also cover many different types of service. This is where the new concept comes into play.
The term Secure Access Service Edge refers to the challenge outlined above. The focus is on network security, but it must meet the latest requirements and should therefore work at a decentralised level. With SASE it is assumed that security is implemented at the edge of the network. The exciting thing about SASE is that all components in an enterprise network – that is to say WAN and a wide variety of security solutions – are regarded as being mutually dependent and are designed together. A SASE architecture therefore connects SD-WAN with network security functions such as Secure Web Gateways (SWG), Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB), Firewall as a Service (FWaaS) and Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA). These services can be implemented in a cloud-native, on-premise or hybrid form, allowing them to be adapted to an enterprise’s needs.
The goal is to be able to react effectively to threats without having a negative impact on network performance. For this purpose, configurations and policies are determined centrally in the security solutions. A very granular setting of the security policies is also possible thanks to zero-trust concepts. This is a major step towards security, particularly in the age of IoT and the associated security risks.
Benefits of SASE
The greatest benefits of SASE architecture are surely its flexibility and scalability. Cloud-based services in particular can be quickly adapted to changing requirements. The services are easy to roll out and update. And the hardware can also be designed more flexibly as the security services are no longer linked to hardware devices.
A further benefit of the Secure Service Access Cloud is that it is easier to manage. The common feature usually shared by components in SASE solutions is that they can be configured centrally. It is even easier of course if a solution is selected from a single source. The entire network and its security solutions can then frequently be configured from one dashboard.
Future networks will be decentralised. Technological concepts need to be adapted in order to master this transformation. That is why, for many companies, SASE solutions constitute a flexible and cost-efficient response to future challenges. We will be glad to advise you on possible solutions from a variety of vendors, which differ both in their details and their implementation.