Technology

Understanding the SASE Framework – A Comprehensive Overview

Understanding the SASE Framework - A Comprehensive Overview

Organizations that embrace digital transformation, remote work, and a diverse workforce need secure, low-latency access to corporate applications and SaaS. SASE brings network and security functions closer to users and applications, reducing data center congestion, lowering costs, and delivering a consistent experience. This unified service consolidates SD-WAN, firewalls, content delivery networks, bandwidth aggregators, and threat management into a single solution. It offers the ability to implement a least-privileged model and achieve consistent policy enforcement.

FWaaS

Many modern enterprises are leveraging a cloud-first strategy to improve responsiveness and agility. This includes moving to remote work, catering to a mobile workforce, and deploying new services quickly. This change in networking patterns has significant implications for corporate networks and security architectures. Traditional WAN security models force remote users and devices to authenticate to centralized security with firewalls hosted in the enterprise data center or on individual devices. These models could be more efficient and equipped for the demands of a distributed workforce, especially in the post-COVID work economy. A SASE framework combines SD-WAN with network security functions like secure web gateway (SWG), cloud access security broker (CASB), and Zero Trust network access (ZTNA). Delivered as a service, they reduce costs and complexity by consolidating vendors and technology stacks. They also offer higher performance and more stringent control of users, devices, and applications regardless of where they are in the network perimeter. FWaaS delivers an identity-based approach to security by verifying users and their devices on the network’s edge. This eliminates the need to reroute traffic to a central location for protection, reducing latency and improving user experience.

Security

As digital organizations adopt cloud apps, embrace mobility, and expand their networks to include remote workers, the need for security has never been greater. Traditional networking technologies and models can no longer provide the level of access control and protection that today’s employees require. SASE delivers a new model for connecting distributed workforces to the applications and information they need. By leveraging the global edge to secure traffic without passing it back through data centers, SASE reduces network latency and improves user experience. A SASE solution combines the best-of-breed networking and security capabilities into a single, cloud-based service. This includes branch FWaaS, zero trust networking (ZTNA), SD-WAN, CASB, and DLP. The unified policy enforcement in SASE delivers a consistent level of protection regardless of the source or destination of the traffic.

Additionally, it eliminates multiple-point products and hardware dependencies to reduce complexity and cost. It also enables organizations to take advantage of the economies of scale the cloud model provides and delegate management and maintenance tasks to their SASE provider. Finally, it offers security flexibility by allowing organizations to select the tenancy and visibility model that best fits their needs.

SD-WAN

Every organization that needs to ensure secure connectivity for distributed offices and applications and accommodate remote or hybrid employees should have SASE architecture on its radar. However, when evaluating potential SASE solutions, it is essential to differentiate them from SD-WAN offerings that merely add security functions and don’t fully comply with Zero Trust principles. An authentic SASE architecture delivers networking and security as a unified cloud service. This enables a direct-to-connection approach that minimizes latency and reduces complexity, cost, and management overhead. In addition, it supports agile digital business transformation by facilitating the work-from-anywhere workplace and enabling direct access to critical web and cloud services. For example, a SASE solution should deliver network access control and policy enforcement at the edge instead of in the data center so traffic doesn’t have to be sent back and forth across multiple virtual machines in the cloud. It should also be able to identify the user context at the edge and enforce appropriate policies. This is possible because SASE architecture uses the same hardware to inspect network traffic and secure connections, making it more effective than point solutions that require separate appliances or agents on end-user devices.

CASB

Security has struggled to keep pace as enterprises digitize, adopt cloud-based applications and services and embrace a distributed workforce. The good news is that a SASE framework can help modernize networks and enable unified security across distributed locations, hybrid IT environments, and multiple clouds. SASE combines best-of-breed networking and security functions to deliver simplicity, scalability, flexibility, and pervasive protection. It uses an edge-first architecture and prioritizes access to cloud apps and services based on identity, location, application sensitivity, device, and risk/trust posture at the source of the connection. This ensures a consistently fast experience and improves network performance by avoiding traffic bottlenecks that would otherwise slow down user access. SASE offers other significant benefits, including advanced threat prevention, remote browser isolation, Wi-Fi hotspot protection, and network obfuscation. In addition, it supports a Zero Trust strategy that verifies users and devices before allowing them to connect to the network. This approach is essential for achieving accurate endpoint visibility and control in hybrid IT and distributed enterprises.

DLP

SASE helps enterprises modernize their network infrastructure, accelerate digital transformation, break down technology siloes, and automate routine networking and security chores. However, enterprises must take care when selecting a SASE solution because not all solutions are created equal. Look for a single provider that offers advanced SD-WAN and security capabilities as a unified service, cutting complexity and cost. A unified SASE architecture enables consistent cloud performance for remote users and a secure, reliable Work-from-Anywhere (WFA) experience. It can also protect against cyber threats, including DDoS and lateral movement attacks. Traffic is inspected at SASE points of presence before entering the enterprise’s networks, eliminating the risk that vulnerable DMZs or VPNs could become beachheads for attacks. The SASE framework is essential to enabling Zero Trust network access, which validates user identity and device, ensuring only the most secure applications are used. It can also protect unmanaged devices and provide granular visibility and control over data. This is the foundation for an efficient, scalable, resilient network supporting today’s distributed workforce.

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