The Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) architecture modernizes the previously designed data center-oriented networks with identity and a user-based model to meet the current needs of secure access. SASE is a service delivered over the cloud that combines networking and security functions with software-defined wide area networks (SD-WAN).

SD-WAN was initially designed to troubleshoot wide area networks and has become the primary choice for WAN conversion. On the other hand, SASE addresses the network and security challenges software-defined wide-area networks face. Let’s take a closer look at why the SASE model, first put forward by Gartner analysts in 2019, is important and how it shapes the future of SD-WAN.

Why do we need SASE when there is SD-WAN?

Traditional enterprise architectures were designed around data centers where internet access was provided via secure gateways in the data center. Switching to SD-WAN instead of MPLS does not change this paradigm. With the rise of the cloud, mobility, and edge computing, private data centers are no longer the epicenter of the enterprise network. SASE offers a reliable way to provide security controls everywhere, exceeding resolving the connectivity issues of MPLS. It also responds to today’s needs by doing this consistently for mobile users and branches.

What is SASE?

SASE combines networking and security functions in the cloud to provide users with seamless and secure access to applications from anywhere. The SASE models include a software-defined wide area network, secure web gateway, firewall as a service, cloud access security agent, and zero-trust network access, combining these functions into one integrated cloud service. SASE offers flexibility and investment protection for enterprises to migrate to the cloud at their own pace while utilizing the best-in-class networking, security, and observability functions on a singular platform.

Features of SASE

SASE has more than a dozen distinct features, but according to the Gartner research company, the four of them are particularly important. SASE includes an SD-WAN service running on a dedicated backbone to provide the optimum network performance possible for all applications, regardless of their hosting. Using a private network overcomes the internet’s latency issues. The backbone connects distributed PoPs that run the organization’s security and networking software. Enterprise traffic rarely reaches the internet and only reaches the SASE backbone.

SASE services not only connect devices but also protect them with inline traffic encryption and decryption scale. SASE services inspect traffic with multiple engines running in parallel. It also includes inspection engines, malware scanning, and sandboxes. SASE also provides other services such as DNS-based protection and distributed denial-of-service protection. Local regulations such as GDPR can be applied to SASE’s routing and security policies.

The SASE service uses a cloud-native architecture with no specific hardware dependencies. SASE as a service can scale as needed, be multi-tenant for maximum cost savings, and launch quickly for service expansion. Unlike other managed network services, The SASE architecture provides services based on the identity and context of the connection source. It considers various factors, including real-time factors such as identity, user, the device used, time of day, and device location.

Benefits of SASE

SASE benefits organizations by reducing the complexity and costs of IT environments and increasing security and performance. The main advantages and capabilities that SASE promises for organizations are as follows:

  • Less complexity and lower costs: SASE reduces complexity and lowers the cost by reducing the number of solution partners IT teams need. The SASE model requires fewer physical or virtual branch and end-user device agents.
  • Improved performance: SASE providers can offer latency-optimized routing between their own backbone and worldwide PoPs. This significantly improves the performance of latency-sensitive applications such as video, VoIP, and web conferencing.
  • Increased security: SASE allows organizations to apply data policies to every user, regardless of device or context. Zero trust network access improves as companies set policies based on identity, not users.
  • Improved IT operations: With regular maintenance of the inspection engines used in SASE, organizations are freed from the worry of updating to protect against new attacks, device scaling, and multi-year hardware upgrades. On the other hand, centralized policy definitions allow IT operations teams to get rid of this mundane task and devote time to important work that will add value to the organization.

Connect, manage, and converge

Cisco solutions offered by Netas bring together all the building blocks of SASE architecture in a single offer. Cisco’s SASE approach combines leading networking and security functions into a single cloud-native service to help secure access wherever users and applications reside.

Cisco SASE simplifies security, streamlines policy, and enhances protection with multifunctional cloud security services. Increasing business productivity by providing seamless connections to applications in any environment from any location. Presenting a flexible, integrated approach that meets multi-cloud demands at scale, Cisco SASE integrates security and networking as they should.

SD-WAN and SASE are covered by the network and security transformation pillars of Netas’ digital transformation formula. Cisco SD-WAN products provide end-to-end segmentation and real-time access control and application-aware policies while freeing the performance and user experience of Saas and IaaS applications across multiple clouds from the constraints of WAN.

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