Cyber security is exploding in the tech scene today — cyber security firms raised $12.17 billion ($9 billion USD) in funding in the first six months of 2021 alone — and one of the hottest trends in the sector has been the growth of secure access service edge (SASE) solutions.

 

Why do organisations need SASE?

In the current workplace environment, teams are more geographically dispersed than ever, with remote and hybrid working at an all-time high. In 2021, 93% of organisations have a multi-cloud strategy, while 72% of team members carry out their work in either a remote or hybrid environment. As such, previous approaches to network security are no longer sufficient; employees logging in from everywhere expand the attack vector and make it easier for cyber criminals to compromise your organisation.

In addition, because of the distributed workforce, an organisation’s network has an unprecedented need for reliable connection and access. These network demands are compounded by how modern organisations use multiple Software as a Service (SaaS) products — including Office 365, Salesforce, Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and many others. SaaS products are all located on the cloud, which again opens up the attack surface for cyber criminals.

To sum up, a modern organisation needs to:

  • Improve security posture to defend a dispersed workforce
  • Create a reliable, safe network, including cloud security for its SaaS products
  • Maintain ease of use for all team members

That’s where a SASE platform comes in. By addressing all these issues, a SASE solution sits at the forefront of modern cyber security needs, making it one of the most popular and most-discussed cyber security topics of the past few years, especially given the recent explosion in cyber crime.

 

What is SASE?

First defined by Gartner in a 2019 report, a SASE platform blends your networking function (such as a software-defined wide area network, or SD-WAN) with multiple cyber security services, delivering them all on one integrated cloud-based platform.

A SASE platform will move all security to the edge of the network, rather than protecting a data centre. All end users and devices on the network edge can be defended no matter where they’re located, including by security solutions such as Firewall as a Service (FWaaS), SD-WAN, cloud access security broker (CASB), and many others.

SASE architecture is built on multiple Points of Presence (PoP). End users and devices can connect to their closest PoP for inspection, rather than the data centre, and each PoP offers a range of security capabilities that are managed through a unified management platform.

Overall, the SASE model delivers a sophisticated identity-based, real-time security solution that enables the implementation of granular access control policies.

 

What are the benefits of SASE?

Firstly and most importantly, SASE models improve an organisation’s security posture to contend with the modern cyber landscape. SASE solutions are built on the cloud and scale flexibly with an organisation’s needs over time. By supporting rapid deployment and redeployment of site connectivity, the SASE model delivers the organisational agility that’s crucial for the modern world.

The platform should also improve cost efficiency and ease of management for cyber security teams. A SASE model should effectively serve as one unified interface for a diverse range of security capabilities — including FWaaS, CASB, ZTNA, endpoint security, protection against distributed denial of service (DDoS), and other products. This creates better visibility and aids in the development of long-term, organisation-wide security strategies.

Overall, a SASE platform is designed to be simplified, user-friendly, and safe, and compares favourably to the VPN used by many modern organisations. Corporate VPNs allow employees to log in and connect to the organisation’s data centre, where all security services are concentrated. As well as adding additional latency and an extra workflow step, the VPN can become overburdened as an organisation scales over time.

A SASE model, conversely, takes security solutions to the edge where they directly defend the user, device, or entity, without requiring traffic to travel back through a VPN and to the data centre.

 

Final Thoughts

SASE provides a platform through which security capabilities are delivered from the cloud to the end user. It deploys security solutions at the edge of the network, capably answering the security challenge of a remote workforce that utilises multiple SaaS products.

If you’re interested in learning more about SASE or discovering how to introduce it into your organisation, speak to our cyber security team today.