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A new paradigm has emerged to meet the challenges posed by the increasing reliance on cloud computing and remote working. This paradigm is known as Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), a comprehensive approach that redefines network security. In this article, we will explore what SASE does and how it works to provide comprehensive and agile security solutions for today’s digital age.

What is SASE?

Secure Access Service Edge, pronounced “sassy,” is a revolutionary framework that combines network security and wide-area networking (WAN) capabilities into a single cloud-based service. It was coined by Gartner in 2019 and has gained significant traction ever since. SASE is designed to simplify and strengthen security measures, especially in environments where traditional network perimeters are no longer effective due to the rise of cloud applications, mobile devices, and remote work.

Key Components of SASE:

  1. Network Security: SASE integrates various security functions, including firewalling, intrusion prevention, data loss prevention, secure web gateways, and more. These functions work together to create a unified security fabric that protects data and applications from threats regardless of their location.
  2. Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN): SD-WAN is an integral part of SASE, offering optimised and efficient connectivity for distributed networks. It dynamically routes traffic over the most suitable path, whether it’s through a private MPLS network, a public cloud provider, or even a direct internet connection, ensuring optimal performance and reliability.
  3. Zero Trust Architecture: SASE operates on the principle of zero trust, which means that no device, user, or application is inherently trusted. Every access request is thoroughly authenticated and authorised before being granted access to resources. Giving you long term cost benefits, enabling you to reduce the hardware stack
  4. Cloud-Native Architecture: SASE services are delivered from the cloud, allowing organisations to scale resources as needed without relying on physical hardware. This elasticity ensures that security and network capabilities can be easily adapted to meet changing demands.

How SASE Works:

Imagine an employee working remotely, accessing company files and applications from their personal device. Here’s how SASE works to secure this connection:

  1. Identity and Access Management: The user’s identity is verified through multi-factor authentication before any access is granted.
  2. Secure Connectivity: The user’s device connects to the nearest SASE point of presence (PoP). This PoP could be a cloud-based server or a physical data centre. The connection is encrypted to ensure data privacy.
  3. Traffic Inspection: As the user requests access to company resources, the traffic is routed through various security functions, such as firewalls and threat detection systems, hosted within the SASE framework.
  4. Content Filtering: If the user attempts to access the internet, SASE’s secure web gateway filters out malicious websites and enforces company policies.
  5. Optimised Routing: SD-WAN comes into play by intelligently routing the traffic to its destination using the most appropriate path, ensuring low latency and high performance.
  6. Data Loss Prevention: SASE monitors data leaving the organisation to prevent accidental or intentional data leaks.
  7. Continuous Monitoring: SASE constantly analyses user and network behaviour to detect anomalies and potential threats, thus ensuring ongoing security.

Benefits of using SASE in your business:

  1. Simplicity: SASE eliminates the need for multiple point solutions, streamlining security and networking into a single platform.
  2. Scalability: Cloud-native architecture allows for easy scalability to accommodate changing business requirements.
  3. Cost-Efficiency: SASE’s subscription-based model reduces the upfront cost of hardware and maintenance.
  4. Enhanced Security: Zero trust and continuous monitoring significantly reduce the risk of breaches.
  5. Improved Performance: SD-WAN optimises traffic routing, enhancing application performance.

In conclusion, Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) represents a paradigm shift in cybersecurity by converging security and networking functions into a cloud-native, unified framework. By embracing the principles of zero trust and combining elements like SD-WAN and various security services, SASE provides a robust and agile solution to secure the modern digital landscape. As organisations continue to adopt cloud technologies and remote work becomes the norm, SASE offers a much needed and comprehensive approach to safeguarding critical assets, files and data.