SASE (pronounced “sassy”) is a new approach that provides organizations with the tools to effectively protect, connect and control distributed users and applications. SASE solutions promise to consolidate the numerous network and security tools into a single platform to make businesses more scalable, flexible and adaptable.

What is SASE?

In their landmark paper “The Future of Network Security Is in the Cloud” industry analysts at Gartner set out the principles for a new network security model. This model called the Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), allows workers, partners and customers to connect to applications and services from anywhere at any time.

“The secure access service edge is an emerging offering combining comprehensive WAN capabilities with comprehensive network security functions (such as SWG, CASB, FWaaS, and ZTNA) to support the dynamic secure access needs of digital enterprises.” – Gartner

SASE unifies siloed technologies into a single context-aware platform

To summarise, SASE is the convergence of network and security technologies into a single platform delivered from the cloud. The implementation and migration for every organization will differ based on their needs and current architecture. However, the end goal of SASE is to fold all of the disparate functionality into a single solution.

Why go SASE?

At its core, SASE is about moving from a traditional environment, with many disparate network and security services, to a single one, built entirely in the cloud. There are many technical benefits to SASE, but the business benefits can be summarised as:

  • Increased agility: SASE is built in the cloud, so can scale up and down quickly with demand. The software-defined architecture provides the flexibility to deliver networking and security where it is needed. As a unified network security layer, SASE can be quickly deployed, reconfigured and adapted as demanded, increasing the speed that the organization operates at.
  • Easier collaboration: SASE can empower anyone, with any device, anywhere in the world by connecting them with the tools they need. Enabling access while maintaining security is possible due to a global network architecture with ubiquitous security built-in. This freedom makes it easier for employees to work with contractors and partners without frustrating restrictions.
  • Cost reduction: By reducing the overall complexity of the technology environment SASE can reduce capital and operational expenditure. The cost of projects is far lower with SASE than traditional architectures because design, test and implementation are far simpler. Additionally, as a fully cloud-managed service, SASE has less infrastructure to manage and maintain, therefore lowering costs.

Where to begin

Organizations should begin SASE implementation where there is the most need, see examples below. Principally, enabling remote working and protecting cloud applications. Organizations should look at their technology roadmap and look for opportunities to begin testing solutions. The budget to start implementing SASE can be identified in many technology projects.

Example use cases:

  • Expanding remote work: The way we work has changed significantly during the last few years. Not only are more people working from home than ever before, but there are also more contractors, more mobile endpoints and more personal devices. Traditional remote access systems have limited licenses, SASE can be used to support these new use cases in a scalable fashion.
  • Appliance refresh: When hardware or software comes to the end of its life it needs to be retired as the likelihood that it fails increases, lack of security patches make it a risk, and absence of new feature support make it obsolete. Funds that were allocated to replacing a service with a like-for-like alternative can instead be used to implement a small scale SASE project. This process can be repeated over time, as needed, to gradually migrate services.
  • Migration to the cloud: The cloud offers numerous benefits over on-premise models, however, migrations are often more complex and expensive than initially scoped. The software-defined nature of SASE simplifies end user enablement, as application security and connectivity are easily managed by a single policy. This allows organizations to deploy new applications to the cloud or migrate existing ones quickly and at a low cost.

After selecting the use cases for SASE organizations should identify potential vendors to help implement a solution. Vendors should be considered based on their ability to execute.

How to start

We are seeing the old assumptions of good security practices change before our eyes to meet the new normal. A SASE strategy will be the key architecture model for innovative companies moving away from legacy technologies. It is time your business started to plan for the future of network security. If you would like to speak to one of our experts about where to start with your SASE strategy, request a call-back here.