SASE: Understanding the new kid on the block

Secure Access Service Edge, better known as SASE (pronounced sassy – yes that is right) was one of the new security terms on the block in 2019. But it’s actually been around for some time, just without its official moniker. It is expected that by 2024, at least 40% of enterprises will have strategies in place to adopt SASE, according to Gartner.

In this post, Cloud Security Engineer, Will Michail takes a look at why its popularity is increasing now, what the term means and how vendors and organisations are utilising it to enable digital transformation.

So, what is SASE?

The phrase was first coined by Gartner in mid-2019, described as an architectural transformation of networking and security, providing a holistic, agile and adaptable service to IT.

The benefits of SASE include the service being identity-driven, cloud-native, and the ability to be globally distributed and securely connect all edges of an organisation. It combines network security functions such as; Secure Web Gateway, Cloud Access Security Brokers, FWaaS and Zero Trust Network Access with WAN capabilities, supporting the dynamic access needs of businesses.

Traditionally traffic would be rerouted by companies to a place such as a firewall, where it would be inspected for attacks. However, this activity creates inefficiencies and is cumbersome for most businesses. SASE is a new paradigm that brings security to where the traffic already exists, not forcing it outside of the business.

Just another marketing term in the making?

Whilst analysts have described SASE as the new go-to security model and anticipate many organisations will move to adopt SASE in the next few years, they have advised businesses to be wary and question vendors. As it gains more popularity, SASE no doubt will become a well-touted marketing term (think Zero Trust in the most recent years). For some vendors, they may be offering a SASE platform, consisting of a large number of features linked together via VM service chaining, especially if they have made acquisitions or partnerships. This can result in inconsistent services, poor manageability, and high latency.

Despite this, multiple well-established industry figures have faith in the SASE platform and its ability to secure organisations in this era of modern infrastructure. The approach allows companies to provide secure access no matter where their users, apps or devices are located.

The benefits of SASE

  • Ultimately it reduces costs for businesses, by amalgamating vendors and technologies that organisations are using to secure their perimeter.
  • Increased network performance, due to the use of global SD-WAN and built in optimisation.
  • Greater flexibility, utilising the cloud-based infrastructure allows organisations to implement security services such as web filtering, data loss prevention, firewall policies, threat prevention, sandboxing and more to their users with ease.
  • Improved security and performance, by inspecting data where it is moving and viewing policies based on identity rather than IP addresses.
  • Reduced complexity for your IT/security team, as the number of security products required to manage and maintain is simplified by moving to a cloud-based network security service model.
     

Although this all sounds great, one key aspect to remember is that SASE is not a product you can purchase and requires businesses to undertake a holistic view and digital transformation of their cybersecurity and IT. Looking at how information is transferred from one place to another and how it is received.

InfoTrust has partnered with one of the cloud security industry leaders, Netskope, who are paving the way in this area. Netskope built their platform natively in the cloud, utilising microservices software architecture to deliver seamless security services. This gives organisations architecture that is able to quickly adapt; building new products natively and delivering them without disrupting business productivity or impacting end-users. Additionally, Netskope’s data-centric approach gives security teams greater visibility and the capability to implement context-aware controls, as well as protection against cloud-enabled threats.

If you’d like to find out more about how InfoTrust and Netskope can mature your security infrastructure, reach out to us at info@infotrust.com.au or +61 2 9221 5555.

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