May 10, 2021 | 8 min read
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The benefits of Secure Access Service Edge (SASE)

Expereo team

The past year has seen an uptick in demand for Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), driven by the huge increase in people working from home, owning and working from their own devices and using applications in the cloud. These were emerging issues pre-Covid but the pandemic really brought them to a head. With devices, data, and apps far from corporate HQ, and connectivity taking place on public Wi-Fi and home broadband, it’s no longer sufficient to secure access only to the network, however good a job your SD-WAN may do of that.  

What is Secure Access Service Edge (SASE)?

First: it isn’t a single solution to a single problem. Secure Access Service Edge is an approach involving several different technologies; a way of doing things that merges two of the most important concepts in corporate IT: networking and security.

SASE is about secure access at the application level, with the emphasis shifted to authenticating users and devices on an as-permitted basis at the network perimeter, rather than the once-you’re-in-you’re-in approach of a typical in-house setup. 

What is Secure Access Service Edge according to Gartner?

Gartner defines SASE as:

The Secure Access Service Edge is an emerging offering combining comprehensive WAN capabilities with comprehensive network security functions (such as Secure Web Gateway, Cloud Access Security Brokers, Firewall-as-a-Service, and Zero Trust Network Access) to support the dynamic secure access needs of digital enterprises.

Expereo is able to offer best-of-breed SASE capabilities and insights too, keep reading to see how SASE could work for your organization by exploring the wider benefits of SASE.

5 benefits of SASE for enterprises

You gain holistic security, which is more than just perimeter-hardening 

A basic concept uniting SASE security is that it’s software-defined. Like SD-WAN, but much more fine-grained in how it grants access to data and applications and how it validates those gaining access to them. Broadly, Secure Access Service Edge  implementations put authentication much closer to where it needs to happen: the user and the device.  

Prior to SASE, it was normal for authentication data to make a round-trip to the corporate datacenter and back since most users enjoyed a direct connection to that corporate network within the firewall. The world doesn’t work like that anymore, so nor should network security. Take the example of Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA). A device may be user-owned, be on public Wi-Fi, it may be shared with the user’s family. All weak points, susceptible to data leakage and compromise, which ZTNA addresses.  

Granting access to specific applications rather than the network as a whole, with IP cloaking making that access invisible even to malware on a compromised device, keeps the network perimeter safe. The door’s not merely open or closed; it’s a hidden door that only opens to people who know it’s there. 

It has simplified management that’s less monolithic and more adaptable 

With authentication happening at the edges, the need to operate a one-size-fits-all security infrastructure at the network core (a pain to maintain, and a single-point-of-failure risk) go away. Secure Access Service Edge  was born in the cloud and delivers its services there. With security authentication via flexible APIs and protocols rather than a brittle single-sign-in application, there’s no need to constantly upgrade the core.  

That matters since it reduces a huge overhead that rarely scales well. And Gartner predicts 30% of all enterprises will adopt cloud-delivered SASE services by 2024, a sixfold increase from 2020. 

You see cost reductions from security outsourced to the cloud

The cost implications of going cloud-native apply to SASE as much as any other application. By pushing security infrastructure out to the perimeter where the user and their device are, there’s less need for heavy security investment in the corporate datacenter. Cloud services expand or throttle capacity based on what the network needs, which means fewer resources spent on maintenance and replacement. 

Like much of cloud computing, SASE carries a sound business case.

It is easy to scale as and when you need it to

Returning to the corporate model with its central security core again: it doesn’t scale well. It’s not just a case of needing to provision for user demand, it’s that a monolithic security solution needs to be tweaked, adapted, upgraded as new services are added to the network, slowing down implementations every time.

SASE meets that problem head-on. 

With its emphasis on securing the user and not the network, the model becomes scalable: the organization has a list of resources, each user enjoys a set of permissions to access one or more of them, and no extra resources are needed in the IT Suite no matter how large the user base grows. And with the network itself largely making use of cloud services and public networks (like a work-from-home’s broadband) there’s no extra stress on HQ as it grows.

Performance increases as log jams are cancelled by the cloud 

The cloud is everywhere. At least, that’s how it seems to most users. Their home fiber can reach gigabit speeds; the mobile world is turning 5G; even coffee-shop Wi-Fi frequently exceeds multi-megabit rates. And satellite ISPs now lighting the night sky are bringing the same benefits to rural and off-grid locations.  

When your network perimeter isn’t defined by some corporate firewall, but by protocols in the cloud that apply directly to the connected user and device, many bottlenecks improve: you’ll see lower latency numbers, smoother network traffic flows. 

Ready to explore how SASE can take your enterprise faster to its digital future? 

In a world where the workforce is remote and the market is mobile, the network perimeter can be a dangerous place. Secure Access Service Edge is the solution. And as for why Expereo is your choice to provide it—well, it’s cultural. We’ve long championed SD-WAN and business Internet as fast and flexible alternatives to pricey “fixed in place” technologies like MPLS and T1 lines.  

With Expereo, thousands of businesses have discovered software-defined networks connecting cloud services with an internet underlay provides all they need. Why not get in touch today to discuss your needs and how SASE from Expereo can meet them? 

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