Wednesday, June 19 2024

What is SASE and how does it work?

Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) is an architectural model that combines network connectivity with security functions, all delivered through a unified cloud platform or centralized policy control.

In contrast to the traditional approach, where network security relies on a multitude of distinct functionalities like firewalls, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and intrusion detection systems, SASE streamlines operations by consolidating these solutions into a single system.

Due to the range of solutions in one offering, organizations can rely on SASE products to provide comprehensive security services such as secure web gateways, data loss prevention and intrusion prevention systems. The bundling not only simplifies management but also enhances security by ensuring consistent policies and enforcement across an entire network.

One fundamental element of SASE is Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), which ensures that access to corporate resources is strictly verified every time, regardless of where users are located. For example, before granting access to sensitive data, a SASE offering may require users to provide multiple forms of identification, such as passwords or biometric data.

Another essential component is the Secure Web Gateway (SWG), which is a filter for internet traffic, blocking any suspicious or risky content.

Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) is another critical aspect, especially as organizations increasingly rely on cloud services. CASB provides controls and visibility into cloud-hosted services and applications, ensuring that data remains private and secure even in cloud environments.

Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) or WAN-as-a-Service (WANaaS) is crucial for optimizing network connectivity across different locations. SD-WAN technology uses software to manage traffic routing, ensuring that data reaches its destination quickly and efficiently even in peak hours.

SASE’s Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) technology also offers advanced threat detection capabilities, such as identifying and blocking hidden threats within harmless-looking internet traffic.

How is SASE useful?

One of the benefits of SASE products is in its use of Zero Trust principles. Unlike traditional models that assume trust within the network perimeter, SASE verifies the identity and trustworthiness of every user and device before granting access to applications and data. The Zero Trust approach reduces the risk of unauthorized access by cyber criminals and progression of a cyber attack within the network.

SASE products offer cost savings through platform consolidation. By bringing together various security solutions into a comprehensive service, businesses can eliminate the need to manage multiple vendors and products. The consolidation not only reduces expenses but also simplifies a company’s security infrastructure, making it simple to maintain and manage.

SASE offerings provide a centralized interface for setting and enforcing security policies across the entire network. IT teams no longer need to juggle different solutions, allowing them to troubleshoot issues more effectively and allocate resources more efficiently.

SASE products make work easier for people in hybrid work setups by using a global edge network. The network is like a bunch of checkpoints spread worldwide. These checkpoints ensure that when someone needs data from their company, they can get it quickly and securely, no matter where they are. By routing requests through the closest checkpoint, SASE products make sure there are no delays.

These methods mean that employees working from different locations can access corporate resources quickly and efficiently, regardless of their physical distance from a data center or office. Additionally, by reducing delays and ensuring reliable connectivity, SASE offerings diminish the reliance on less secure VPN solutions commonly used for remote access.

What companies provide SASE services? How do they differ from each other?

In the world of SASE solutions, there are four main types of vendors based on the market they are trying to appeal to.

First, there are vendors for the SD-WAN market, which are companies looking to update their WAN systems—a network that connects multiple locations across a large area. These SASE vendors focus on improving how networks connect across different locations. They also often include security features to keep data safe as it travels across the network.

Next, there are vendors for the Secure Service Edge (SSE) market. These vendors focus on providing security features for organizations concerned about keeping their remote workers and data safe. Their SASE solutions focus on security measures, such as encrypted tunnels and zero-trust access controls, to protect data both while it’s being sent (in-line security) and when it’s stored (at-rest security).

There’s the single-vendor SASE market. These vendors offer all-in-one solutions that combine both networking and security features. They cater to companies that want simplicity. These companies prioritize having one unified system for managing their network and security needs.

Lastly, there are vendors for the managed SASE market. In this market, companies outsource the setup and management of their SASE solutions to service providers. These providers take care of everything, from installation to configuration. Companies choose this SASE vendor to save time and resources, focusing more on finding a reliable partner than on the technical details.

The following pro and con lists of five SASE products is a combination of customer sentiment across a range of review platforms.

Cato Networks

Cato SASE Cloud by Cato Networks primarily appeals to the Managed SASE market. The solution offers a fully managed approach to SASE, allowing organizations to outsource the installation, setup and configuration of their SASE infrastructure.

Pros:

●  Delivers security measures effectively

●  Easy-to-use interface

●  Prompt assistance and transparent communication

●  Simplified setup process

●  Detailed insights into network performance

Cons:

●  Restrictions on certain functions hinder customization

●  Portal performance is slow or lagging.

●  Insufficient documentation and training resources

●  Outdated pricing model limits scalability

●  Expensive

Check Point Software Technologies

Quantum SASE by Check Point Software Technologies primarily targets the Single-vendor SASE market. The solution offers a comprehensive approach that combines networking and security functionalities into a unified platform.

Pros:

●  Smooth integration with existing systems

●  Consistent security measures across the board

●  User-friendly navigation

●  Quick cloud-deployment

Cons:

●  Lack of adaptability to specific needs or changes

●  Absence of specialized features

●  Troubleshooting difficulties

●  Delays or lags in the transmission of data

Versa Networks

Versa SASE by Versa Networks targets both the Single-vendor SASE market and the SD-WAN market. The solution offers a unified platform that combines networking and security functionalities, making it suitable for organizations seeking integration, simplicity of procurement and unified management.

Pros:

●  Simple and straightforward setup process

●  Fully automated implementation

●  Configuration capabilities and integration with other technologies

●  Ability to deploy in various environments, such as different network configurations, infrastructure setups

Cons:

●  Delays in hardware delivery

●  Insufficient free training and information

●  Complex licensing

●  Expensive

●  Difficult to manage false positives without trial and error

Netskope

Netskope SASE by Netskope primarily appeals to the Secure Service Edge (SSE) market. The solution focuses on providing advanced security features to protect remote workers and data.

Pros:

●  Strong cloud security

●  Real-time threat detection

●  Flexible deployment

●  Simple management

●  Netskope Private Access has seamless implementation ZTNA web policies.

Cons:

●  Complex integration with some apps

●  Pricey for smaller businesses

●  Limited documentation

●  Performance issues at times

●  Reporting capabilities lacking

Palo Alto Networks

Prisma SASE by Palo Alto Networks targets the Single-vendor SASE market. The solution offers a comprehensive approach that integrates networking and security functionalities into a unified platform.

Pros:

●  Advanced threat prevention

●  Easy centralized management

●  Adaptable to network changes

●  User-friendly setup

●  The SD-WAN feature is reliable and well-developed.

Cons:

●  Missing essential security functions like email protection

●  Expensive

●  Compatibility problems with other products

●  Insufficient data loss prevention feature

●  Needs Palo Alto Networks expertise for advanced set up

Future of SASE

According to Precision Reports’ “Global SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) Industry Research Report,” the SASE market is experiencing significant growth. The SASE market was worth 4.87 billion USD in 2021 and is projected to reach 12.79 billion USD by 2027.

The report states one of the driving factors behind the growth of the SASE market is the ever-evolving digital landscape. As organizations undergo digital transformation and shift towards cloud-based infrastructures, the need for secure and scalable network access becomes critical.

Additionally, the rise of remote and distributed workforces has accelerated the demand for SASE solutions. With employees accessing corporate resources from various locations and devices, traditional perimeter-based security approaches are no longer sufficient.

SASE solutions, with their focus on providing secure access to applications and data from anywhere on any device are well-suited to address the security challenges posed by remote work.

Furthermore, advancements in technology, such as AI-driven analytics and edge computing integration, are driving the evolution of SASE solutions. These technologies enable more sophisticated threat detection and response capabilities as well as faster and more responsive security measures.

As the SASE market matures, efforts to establish industry standards and certification processes will help put confidence in the efficacy and reliability of SASE solutions among organizations.

Read more cybersecurity product reviewsExplore CISOstack for in-depth insights, practical tips, and expert interviews on the latest cyber threats. Subscribe for regular updates to keep your company ahead in digital defense. Stay informed and secure with us.

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