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What is SASE? A beginner's guide to Secure Access Service Edge

In the ever-evolving IT landscape, new concepts and technologies are constantly emerging to meet the growing demands of businesses. One such innovation that has gained significant attention is Secure Access Service Edge, commonly known as SASE. In this beginner's guide, we will delve into the fundamentals of SASE, explore its architecture, and highlight the key benefits it brings.

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Understanding SASE: Secure Access Service Edge

What is SASE?

SASE ('Secure Access Service Edge’) is a comprehensive approach to networking and cybersecurity. Coined by Gartner, SASE merges various network and security solutions into a unified, cloud-native service. This innovative framework enables IT teams to efficiently connect and secure an organisation's resources, data, and users in a scalable, cost-effective manner.

SASE Architecture

The architecture of SASE is designed to provide a seamless and secure networking experience. It consolidates networking and security functions, eliminating the need for multiple disparate solutions. SASE leverages a cloud-based model to connect all endpoints on a network, including cloud services, enterprise sites, remote users, and data centres. This approach enhances network performance and reduces administrative overhead.

The Core Components of SASE

1. Zero Trust Network Architecture (ZTNA):

As the name implies, ZTNA technology is driven by the need for organisations to embrace a zero-trust security model built for mobility in a cloud-first world. It provides seamless and secure connectivity to private applications without ever placing users on the network or exposing apps to the internet. ZTNA's key principle is that network access is based on the identity of the user, device, and application, not on IP addresses or physical locations. It delivers greater control over privileges and permissions, ensuring secure network access even with hybrid and multicloud strategies.

2. Firewall-as-a-Service (FWaaS):

FWaaS delivers firewall and network security capabilities as a cloud-based service or hybrid solution. It offers perimeter protection without requiring organisations to deploy dedicated firewall devices to each business location. FWaaS reduces the administrative burden on IT teams by providing a central location for security policy application. Utilising enterprise firewall features, including Anti-Virus, Anti-Malware, Deep Packet Inspection, and Geo-IP blocking, FWaaS enhances security while offering scalability and ease of management.

3. Secure Web Gateway (SWG):

A Secure Web Gateway provides security protections designed to repel web-borne threats, enforce security policies, and filter malicious internet traffic in real-time. It reduces the risk and impact of data leaks, phishing, and malware attacks. SWGs facilitate secure access for remote users, BYOD, IoT, and third parties without the need for managing policies across multiple solutions. Features like URL filtering, application controls, data loss protection, and malicious code detection enhance the overall security posture.

4. SD-WAN:

SD-WAN is a virtual WAN architecture that allows organisations to securely connect users to applications using any combination of transport services, including MPLS, LTE, and broadband internet. Unlike traditional WAN architectures, SD-WAN is software-defined, providing agility, scalability, and centralised management. SD-WAN's internet-as- backbone approach eliminates the need for dedicated hardware on-site, reducing costs and simplifying maintenance. As a crucial component of SASE, SD-WAN contributes to improved network performance and reliability.

5. Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB):

A Cloud Access Security Broker acts as a gatekeeper between an organisation's on-premise infrastructure and cloud environments. It protects data stored in cloud applications, extending security policies beyond on-premise infrastructure. CASBs ensure secure access to information from any device, in any location, by monitoring and securing access within the cloud. Additionally, CASBs help identify and eliminate unauthorised or duplicate applications, addressing challenges associated with Shadow IT.

How SASE Differs from Standard Network Solutions

SASE differs significantly from traditional network solutions, and one of the key differentiators lies in the adoption of a cloud-native, software-defined approach. Unlike standard network solutions that rely on physical hardware and are often complex to manage, SASE leverages cloud-based architectures, allowing for flexibility, scalability, and simplified management. The incorporation of components like SD-WAN enhances agility and reduces the reliance on dedicated hardware, making SASE an ideal solution for the dynamic requirements of the modern business landscape.

SASE Benefits: A Closer Look

Improved Network Performance:

  • SASE allows organisations to connect all endpoints seamlessly, optimising network performance.

  • Intelligent routing and software-based solutions contribute to better reliability and reduced latency.

  • The automation of routing decisions ensures the best user experience while maintaining security.

Cost Reduction:

  • SASE facilitates hybrid and multicloud strategies, enabling organisations to choose the best-fit solutions.

  • Eliminates costs associated with network complexity, managing multiple vendor contracts, and maintaining physical assets.

  • Saves time and resources for IT teams by streamlining procurement, installation, and maintenance processes.

Scalability:

  • SASE accommodates the evolving demands of businesses, providing scalable and secure connectivity.

  • Enables organisations to provision scalable, secure connectivity across physical sites, on-premise and cloud environments, partner ecosystems, and remote workers.

  • Offers hyper-scalability and elasticity within the WAN infrastructure, reducing lead times for site deployment.

Simplified Security Model:

  • SASE employs FWaaS (Firewall as a Service) with cloud-based security functions, eliminating the need for multiple security devices.

  • Incorporates advanced security features like IPS, NGFW, and SWG, enhancing protection against evolving threats.

  • Streamlines network security management, enforcing consistent policies and responding decisively to threats.

Network Visibility

  • SASE provides granular visibility into network traffic, regardless of its origin, ensuring comprehensive control.

  • Enables organisations to track, sanitise, and record all traffic, facilitating effective management of cloud, technology, and connectivity providers.

  • Identifies and eliminates instances of shadow IT, allowing organisations to make informed decisions about their network architecture.

Getting Started with SASE

Now that you have a comprehensive overview of SASE and its core components, you may be eager to explore further. Cloud Gateway, a leading provider in the SASE space, offers a robust SASE platform that simplifies the adoption of this innovative framework.

Whether you are exploring SASE for the first time or looking to enhance your organisation's cybersecurity posture, Cloud Gateway's expertise and solutions can guide you through the process.

Contact us now!

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