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Secure access service edge (SASE) in a nutshell

June 25, 2024
clock 4 MIN READ

While SASE eases the security burden for SMBs, like any technology, it does come with some challenges in its implementation.  

Network, securitymeet SASE 

Protecting the corporate network in a cloud-centric, work-from-anywhere environment is a daunting challenge in today’s threat landscape, especially for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) who may not have the in-house capacity to manage cybersecurity. 

This is where secure access service edge (SASE) comes in. SASE, as CIO explains, “integrates networking and security technologies such as SD-WAN, SD-branch, firewall-as-a-service, secure web gateway, cloud access security broker, and zero-trust network access.”1

SASE is one of the newer network security models, having only been introduced in 2019. But it has taken the security world by storm, predicted to reach a market value of $1.8 billion this year, with projections to reach $14.6 billion by 2030.2 It is an appealing security option for SMBs because it is cloud-based, scalable, and doesn’t require any special hardware to run. 

As with many acronyms in the cyber industry, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by what the phrase truly entails; SASE could feel monstrous if you don’t know where to begin. A good place to start is understanding the benefits, knowing the components, and acknowledging the challenges. 

Benefits of embracing SASE 

SMBs will find a number of benefits to deploying SASE in their network environment: 

  • Cost savings: Every organization wants to find ways to save money. SASE cuts down on costs spent on disparate security systems from a variety of vendors by putting all security tools under a single platform. Because it is in the cloud, everything can be easily managed and updated. It also saves time and effort for the IT team, leaving the team free to focus on more strategic tasks—another money saver.
  • Scalability: SASE tools can readily scale to your needs as needs change, like how an edge network device (a device that serves as an entry point to an organization’s network) can create a “tunnel,” or direct connection, to the closest SASE node, ensuring secure and efficient access to resources.
  • Consistency: Uniform policy enforcement, at a global scale. 
  • Less complexity: Setup is simple; all you need is an internet connection. Configuration is much easier than managing network devices via a command line.

A recipe for securing modern environments 

The technologies that make up SASE deployments include:

  • Secure web gateway (SWG): This keeps unsecure internet traffic from accessing the network, using tools such as URL filtering, SSL decryption, and threat detection.
  • Cloud access security broker (CASB): This monitors SaaS applications for potential threats and malicious activity. It's used to help cloud applications meet regulatory compliance requirements and prevent data leaks.
  • Software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN): This is an overlay architecture designed to efficiently manage internet traffic through a secure route.
  • Firewall as a service (FWaaS): This replaces physical firewalls with a cloud-native option that delivers advanced layer 7/next-generation capabilities.
  • Zero-trust network access (ZTNA): This solution offers more secure access to applications using the zero-trust model with least privilege access principles.

Challenges to consider

While SASE eases the security burden for SMBs, like any technology, it does come with some challenges in its implementation. 

  • Choosing the right vendor. Picking the right vendor is vital. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, even in the cloud, so you must look for the right fit. What type of tools do you need? Where do you need the most vendor support? How does the vendor fit with your organization’s best security practices? Having a checklist of requirements will help with the search for the right partner.
  • Changing architecture. While SASE may simplify things into the future, there may be significant changes to the infrastructure already in place. As with any upgrade, your organization may experience some disruption as changes are deployed to the environment. This could result in security gaps as users figure out how to use the system. Again, this is why finding the right vendor is crucial. 

1What Is SASE and Why Do You Need It?CIO, June 1, 2021.

2 SASE Market by Offering (Network as a Service, Security as a Service), Organization Size (Large Enterprises, SMEs), Vertical (Government, BFSI, Retail and eCommerce, IT and ITeS, Other) and Region Partner & Customer Ecosystem (Product Services, Proposition & Key Features) Competitive Index & Regional Footprints by MarketDigits – Forecast 2024-2032,” MarketDigits, March 2024.

Interested in getting SASE? We can help.

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