SASE – Secure Access Service Edge: A Simple Overview

cyber globe with office in background

SASE – Secure Access Service Edge: A Simple Overview

Over the past couple of years businesses and corporations have had to quickly adjust to a significant increase in employees working from home.

With increasing data coming from online sources into corporate networks, more SaaS apps being adopted and new types of traffic taking up increasing bandwidth (videos, collaboration, and shared editing of online documents), corporate data networks are struggling with the bottleneck of traffic.

VPN’s may now not be the best solution for your business. So, let’s talk about the latest next-generation security solution.

Pronounced ‘sassy,’ SASE is short for Secure Access Service Edge, a cloud-hosted framework that protects data, end users and applications by using both security and network services. The term was first coined by Gartner in August 2019, who have calculated that “by 2025, at least 60% of enterprises will have explicit strategies and timelines for SASE adoption, encompassing user, branch and edge access, up from 10% in 2020”.

What is SASE?

SASE is a security framework that uses existing technologies to deliver wide area network and security controls as a cloud computing service directly to the source of the connection rather than a data centre or business premise. Security is based on digital identity, real-time context, and company security and compliance policies.

SASE helps to solve the bottlenecking of traffic into the network, by effectively combining security as a service (SECaaS) and network as a service (NaaS) into a single cloud-based service.

This merging of services allows the end-user to work securely from any location or device, without compromising the same level of security you would have in the office.

Implementing it is not the case of buying a single product and setting it up but requires multiple steps to enable services on existing cloud-hosted platforms. For most businesses, the level of expertise required in setting up a SASE approach will mean collaborating with a trusted vendor who understands your business needs.

SASE network- security diagram

How does SASE work?

Current systems may look something like this; traffic comes in via MPLS, internal traffic, or the internet and enters the router, this is then processed through a VPN, and then once verified through a firewall, access is gained to the network.

old network security model

Traffic ends up passing through the internet, security rules are applied, before being sent back out to the internet. This traffic is essentially passing through twice, meaning each security measure is essentially paying for double the amount of traffic, making this model inefficient and expensive.

With SASE, services are managed at the edge of the cloud, so secure communications are delivered to the specific resources the user wants to access, via the fastest path. This can help to provide the same level of security you would see in the corporate workplace, to any remote user, and from any location, device, or application, surely a necessity at this point in time.

SASE model diagram

The core components of the Framework

A SASE architecture can comprise of the following components:

Software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN). SD-WAN can help simplify communications by finding the best route to the internet or cloud-based apps, optimising user experience.
Cloud access security broker (CASB). CASB’s can secure cloud-based services by controlling data access and through data loss prevention (DLP). This prevents data leakage and malicious activity.
Secure web gateways (SWG). SWG’s implement company security policies and filter any unauthorised access or suspicious behaviour. Any unsecure traffic is prevented from entering the network.
Firewall-as-a-Service (FWaaS). FWaaS encompasses URL filtering, intrusion prevention systems (IPS), and threat protection to prevent cyber-attacks on cloud-hosted platforms.

There are also further recommend levels in the model including Sandbox, WAF, NAC, NGAN/ EDR and browsing Isolation. For an optional level you could also include a VPN or WLAN.

How can SASE benefit my company?

With more people than ever working from home, businesses of all sizes are needing to implement big security changes, fast. With cybercrime on the increase, there is no better time to convert to a SASE framework and secure every single user, device, and application entering your network. The time for updated cloud-based security is now.

Benefits of using SASE:

• Costs are lowered due to fewer hardware installs and a simplified system.
• Latency is reduced by finding the quickest path to the network.
• Zero-trust ensures secure data is only accessed by those authorised.
• Better performance and efficiency as users can access the network from anywhere.
• Keeps your data secure, within the network and prevents web attacks and malicious activity.

Implementing SASE

Steps your organisation can take to implement a SASE approach:

• Move branch offices to a cloud-based perimeter.
• Set up zero-trust network access (ZTNA) for all users.
• Simplify your setup (VPN’s, CASB, SWG) to combine services into a single, more effective system.
• Use an SD-WAN based network, as opposed to MPLS.
• Ensure you have a high-performance edge network to reduce latency issues.

The SASE infrastructure can be overwhelming. If you think your business could benefit from a SASE framework, or you simply just want to find out more, then please do not hesitate to contact one of our experts at Cube Cyber. We are always happy to help.

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