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What Exactly Is Secure Access Service Edge (SASE)?

As cloud adoption increases, the security solutions businesses turn to are shifting. Traditional network security strategies are proving insufficient for modern workplaces, leading to newer, more agile models taking their place. One of the fastest-growing of these new security strategies today is secure access service edge (SASE).

Experts predict that at least 40% of enterprises will have a SASE adoption plan in place by 2024. However, 69% of organizations today can't correctly define what it is. As this market grows, it can be easy to get caught up in the hype without understanding the specifics.

With that in mind, here's what secure access service edge is and what it means for cloud professionals.

What Is SASE?

SASE refers to cloud-based architecture that bundles security-as-a-service and network-as-a-service functions as a single service. By providing both security and network tools, these services help organizations consolidate their cloud infrastructure. As a result, they provide more streamlined, visible control over a company's data, users and traffic.

The specifics of what SASE entails vary between service providers, but there are some consistent themes. Most notably, these services include four central security components, which are:

  • Secure web gateways (SWG)
  • Cloud access security brokers (CASB)
  • Zero-trust network access
  • Firewalls

The combination of these features creates a tight identity-based security architecture to protect organizations' data. This approach bases access policies not just on device identity but location, time of day and other ongoing risk evaluations.

SASE is about more than security, too. These services seek to make cloud networks more scalable and agile. Consolidating these security features with network-as-a-service tools provides a streamlined, flexible approach to secure remote access.

SASE vs. Traditional Networking

Traditional networks rely on a centralized data center that remote workers must access through a secondary network, typically through a VPN. As cloud adoption has grown, rerouting everything through a single server has become inefficient. SASE resolves this issue by moving network controls to the distributed edge of the cloud, not a centralized data center.

SASE also reroutes traffic to process data as close to the user as possible. This optimized routing can reduce latency concerns organizations may encounter when trying to provide remote access to on-premise data centers. SASE further reduces efficiency concerns by consolidating network and security features so companies don't rely on multiple, potentially incompatible vendors.

This consolidation also reduces the sprawl businesses may encounter with traditional networks. Fewer vendors results in lower operating costs and greater control over the different aspects of the network. Setting, adjusting and enforcing policies across the organization is also easier thanks to this streamlined approach.

Is SASE Necessary?

Data today is many businesses' most valuable asset. The financial risk of a breach is often on par with a catastrophic fire, so companies need tight access controls for their data. As data has moved away from on-premise servers to the cloud, that has presented a bigger challenge.

As of January 2021, 56% of American employees worked remotely at least part of the time. With workforces becoming increasingly remote, companies must find ways to enable remote access securely while maintaining efficiency. Secure access service edge, as a cloud-based service, fulfills both of those requirements.

Traditional networks are not scalable enough to meet the needs of a growing remote workforce. Similarly, relying on multiple vendors for network and security controls is too expensive and inefficient a model to be sustainable. If companies hope to take full advantage of the cloud, they'll need solutions like SASE.

Flexible Workplaces Need Flexible Security Solutions

SaaS solutions and remote work are becoming the norm, rendering traditional network and security tools insufficient. Today's agile, distributed workplaces need similarly agile and distributed security and access solutions. As a result, SASE is becoming one of the most advantageous and in-demand IT solutions in cloud computing today.


About the Author

Shannon Flynn 

Shannon Flynn is a tech writer who covers topics like cloud computing, business technology, and data. You can find her work on Hackernoon, Cybint Solutions, Irish Tech News, and Visit ReHack for other trending tech topics covered by Shannon. 
Published Thursday, August 26, 2021 7:35 AM by David Marshall
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