Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) has become the newest buzzword in network security. SASE promises to solve the security challenges faced by companies facing rapidly evolving IT infrastructures and cyber threat landscapes.
Companies should start planning their SASE roadmap today to ensure that their network security can keep up with the evolution of their IT environments. A good starting resource for companies looking to learn about SASE and its benefits iמ this SASE for Dummies eBook.
The Distributed Enterprise Requires Distributed Network Security
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated an existing shift towards the distributed and remote enterprise. Instead of a fully or mostly on-site workforce, companies are increasingly adopting hybrid or fully remote workforces.
In addition to this shift to remote work, companies are also rapidly adopting cloud computing. Cloud-based infrastructure offers a number of benefits compared to an on-premises data center, including improved flexibility, scalability, cost, and resiliency.
The combination of remote work and cloud computing means that a significant percentage of a company’s IT assets are now located outside of the traditional network perimeter. This is a problem because traditional network security strategies are perimeter-focused, hosting most security resources at the edge of the corporate network and routing all traffic through them for security inspection and policy enforcement.
This perimeter-focused approach to security no longer works for the modern distributed enterprise. This is especially true for companies looking to adopt a zero-trust security strategy to meet corporate security goals and regulatory compliance requirements. Distributed enterprises need distributed security capable of meeting the requirements of zero trust.
Legacy Solutions Fall Short of Modern Enterprise Needs
Many companies acknowledge the fact that the evolution of their corporate IT infrastructure requires a new approach to security. However, attempting to design this new security strategy with existing solutions creates a number of challenges, including:
- Centralized Security Hurts Performance: Historically, corporate security policies have relied on appliances deployed at the network boundary. In an attempt to adapt legacy solutions to meet the needs of the modern enterprise, many companies are routing all remote traffic through the headquarters network for inspection at this network boundary. However, the inefficiency of this network routing and the load that it places on the headquarters network impair network performance and employee productivity.
- Legacy Remote Access is Insecure: Secure remote access is a crucial component of a remote work strategy, but legacy remote access solutions, such as virtual private networks (VPNs), are not designed for the modern distributed enterprise. VPNs are designed to provide secure connectivity to a single location and have no built-in access controls, providing full unrestricted access to the corporate network. These shortcomings hurt employee productivity and leave the corporate network vulnerable to exploitation.
- Disparate Security Makes Management Complex: Many organizations rely on an array of standalone security solutions designed to address specific threats in a particular environment. With the growing complexity of corporate IT environments and the need to deploy and enforce consistent zero trust security requirements across the entire corporate IT ecosystem, these solutions are increasingly difficult to monitor, manage, and maintain with lean security teams.
Legacy security solutions don’t meet the needs of the modern enterprise. Companies require solutions designed and built for the modern era of the cloud and remote work.
SASE is the Future of Network Security
The modern corporate network is distributed and cloud-based. As employees are increasingly distributed and IT infrastructure moves to the cloud, it makes sense that network performance and security will do so as well.
SASE provides a simple, effective solution for companies looking to deploy zero trust security principles in an increasingly distributed and complex IT ecosystem. SASE creates an optimized, secure, and distributed corporate WAN by converging the network optimization capabilities of SD-WAN with a full network security stack in a single cloud-based solution. All network traffic routed over the corporate WAN passes through a SASE point of presence (PoP), which performs security inspection and enforces corporate policies before routing traffic optimally to its destination.
SASE’s balance of network performance and security has inspired Gartner to label it as “the future of network security.” While Gartner only coined the term SASE in 2019, nearly two-thirds of companies plan to adopt it within the next year.
Developing Your SASE Adoption Strategy
The first step in developing a SASE adoption plan is getting a firm grounding in what SASE is, what it is good for, and how to evaluate different potential SASE offerings. Aside from the resource suggested above, you also might want to check out Gartner’s 2021 Strategic Roadmap for SASE Convergence. In it, best practices and initial goals for a SASE strategy are laid out by Gartner.