Taking advantage of SASE allows IT staff to break down technology siloes, reduce the number of devices in their network and improve overall security. It merges networking and security functions into a single platform, eliminating the need for disjointed physical or virtual appliances from multiple vendors.

What is SASE?

In the ever-expanding realm of cybersecurity, knowing the definition of SASE and how it plays a vital role in making our programs more secure is essential. SASE is a cloud-delivered security solution that removes network and security management tasks from enterprises’ servers and infrastructure. It connects users to a nearby point of presence (PoP) instead of routing them back to the data center, which improves performance and security. This emerging technology has quickly become a popular network security strategy. Gartner predicts that 60% of enterprises will have explicit SASE strategies by 2025.

Organizations considering a SASE deployment should first assess their priorities and goals, then find a vendor that offers capabilities that align with those goals. Finding a service provider that provides a single SASE platform is essential. However, many vendors offer a mix of services and solutions, such as SD-WAN, CASBs, and an identity provider.

Enterprises should also consider the Capex and Opex costs associated with a SASE deployment. Then, they should determine the return on investment in three- and five-year increments. Kharam recommends assessing key metrics such as scalability, cost optimization, user experience, operational efficiency, speed, and agility to calculate the ROI.

A SASE platform is not a substitute for traditional networking and security systems. Instead, it is an additional layer that helps enterprises address evolving threats and accelerate digital transformation. It can complement existing architecture, such as SD-WAN and zero-trust networking, to protect sensitive data and ensure business continuity.

What are the Benefits of SASE?

One of the primary benefits of SASE is enhanced security, but it also delivers improved performance for business applications and services. This is because SASE moves decision-making from the network’s core to the edge, where the organization’s security policies govern access to data and cloud services. The architecture is also scalable and easily adjusted to meet changing needs.

SASE also reduces network complexity and cost by eliminating the need for disjointed physical and virtual appliances from multiple vendors. This enables organizations to save on hardware costs, simplify ongoing management and support from vendors, and cut operating expenses.

In addition to boosting security, SASE also improves connectivity by bypassing backhauled traffic flows that can slow down information flow and reduce application performance. Furthermore, it eliminates the need for costly MPLS connections and enables enterprises to replace them with more cost-effective options like SD-WAN.

When combined with zero-trust networking, SASE can help streamline access for users to the data, applications, and cloud services they have privileges for. Moreover, the architecture allows IT to securely authenticate remote workers using centralized role-based access control (RBAC). It is also highly flexible, enabling employees to gain secure access to the resources they need on a case-by-case basis, no matter where or when they need them.

What are the Challenges of SASE?

The most significant challenge to implementing SASE is often organizational, not technical. Networking and security teams are typically two distinct groups that work in silos, so bringing them together on a unified cloud-centric platform can be challenging. However, overcoming this first hurdle is essential to a successful SASE implementation.

Another challenge is scalability, especially for companies with multiple locations or networks. While SASE can offer a global private backbone to eliminate the need for expensive Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) lines, it can still require changes to existing IT infrastructure and workflows. It’s essential to plan and account for future growth and security needs.

Having the right team to manage SASE is also critical, as this new architecture requires a broader range of skills than traditional networking and cybersecurity practices. If these specialized skills are available, optimizing change management, bandwidth performance, and policy management can be simple.

Choosing a SASE provider offering integrated solutions is essential to reduce these challenges. This can reduce complexity by giving you a centralized, bird’s-eye view of your entire network. Additionally, it’s helpful to choose a vendor with a unified dashboard and real-time analytics. This can make the transition to SASE less jarring and allow your team to adapt to the new model quickly.

How to Implement SASE?

A successful SASE deployment requires careful planning and a thorough understanding of an organization’s existing infrastructure and security requirements. It’s important to identify business goals and the benefits that SASE can provide and to choose a provider with a strong track record of delivering these solutions. SASE should be built into an organization’s SD-WAN platform. This will reduce network latency for remote traffic by separating cloud-destination traffic from other enterprise traffic and will help secure the edge by leveraging SD-WAN capabilities such as dynamic routing and application-aware security policies. It will also simplify and optimize network administration by consolidating security and SD-WAN management into a single platform.

The first step for organizations that still need a complete set of SASE tools will be implementing any missing capabilities. This could include a secure web gateway, a cloud access security broker, a sandboxing solution, or data loss prevention (DLP).

It’s also a good idea to perform network audits and analysis before implementing SASE to ensure that the system is designed with an accurate picture of the current networking and security environment. This will make identifying pain points easier, defining business objectives, and improving the overall user experience as the transition to SASE occurs. It’s also a good idea to plan for the migration in stages to minimize disruption and to allow IT and security teams time to adjust their workflows and processes.