Demystifying SASE – Understanding the Next-Generation Network Architecture

Demystifying SASE - Understanding the Next-Generation Network Architecture

As remote work and cloud applications grow, businesses need a more flexible, secure, and scalable network. SASE is a solution that provides those capabilities.

SASE simplifies network architecture and enhances security and user experience by consolidating networking and security functions into one platform.

It requires combining multiple technology elements, including a software-defined vast area network (SD-WAN), firewall-as-a-service, secure web gateway (SWG), and zero trust network access.

Network Edge

What is SASE?SASE is a set of networking and security capabilities rolled into a single service to simplify IT infrastructure, support digital transformation, and improve network performance. Its components include a zero-trust approach to network access, edge processing capabilities, and security functions traditionally delivered as point products (such as firewalls, WAN optimization, CASB, and SWG).

A global network of SASE points-of-presence delivers low latency wherever your business offices, mobile workers, or cloud applications are located. Data processing happens locally instead of at centralized data centers, reducing costs and improving response times. The network edge also enables you to balance the type of processing best done at the edge versus in the cloud, supporting strategic workflows like remote industrial control and augmented reality.

Enterprises need to secure their cloud environments flexibly and agilely for distributed workspaces and work-from-home employees. SASE leverages a meshed, cloudlike network fabric with security services based on the communication session. It enables your organization to apply security based on the user’s identity rather than a device or location and adapt to changing threat landscapes without compromising agility.

SASE simplifies networking and security by offering them as a single service, reducing complexity and vendor lock-in. It eliminates the need for complex VPN solutions, allowing you to connect users directly to the apps they need. It also helps minimize the tools your IT team needs to manage, update, and maintain.

Security Edge

SASE combines SD-WAN and network security capabilities into a single platform that follows the user-to-cloud app connection. Unifying these networking and security services reduces the risk that gaps between point products will allow attackers to exploit systems.

Unlike point products, which are often designed for specific purposes and are challenging to integrate into the broader IT infrastructure, SASE solutions offer an open architecture that quickly connects with other enterprise technologies. Allows organizations to adopt a more consolidated approach that simplifies security, performance, and operations while reducing costs and complexity.

This unified architecture provides access control, threat protection, and data security for users and devices at the network’s edge, whether in the cloud or on-premises. SASE uses a zero-trust model based on identity, policy, and context to connect business users with critical business apps securely.

It helps reduce the latency from backhauling all WAN traffic to one or more central data centers, and supports dispersed users with digital transformation and application modernization initiatives. In addition, SASE enables enterprises to deliver high-performance, secure internet access to branch offices, mobile users, and IoT devices without adding cost or complexity. It is a significant improvement over today’s security approaches relying on centralized protection, which can lead to brittle connections and increased vulnerabilities for advanced threats like ransomware.

Analytics Edge

With data-driven decision-making permeating every part of a business, actionable insights are critical. Traditionally, businesses collected data from various devices and sensors, centralized it, integrated it into a data lake or warehouse, and then analyzed it to get insights.

With edge analytics, companies skip the centralization/integration stage and analyze data at the source at the local edge. It enables many significant benefits, including faster and more autonomous decision-making, enhanced data security, lower network load (especially for bandwidth-heavy data), and improved availability.

The ability to analyze the data directly at the edge provides near real-time analysis, which would be impossible if the data had to be sent back to a central location for analysis. Additionally, it is much more secure because the data never leaves the physical location.

For example, consider a camera monitoring a fire. If the camera detects a human being in the frame, it will immediately send the video footage to the local edge for analysis. It prevents the camera from sending the entire recording over long distances where it could be compromised.

To connect the local edge to the cloud/service edge for filtering and securing traffic, each device will install a client application that acts as a forward proxy.

Management Edge

In a traditional network, enterprise data and applications live in an on-premises central data center. Users, branches, and devices connect to the data center through a secondary network, typically secure through a leased line or VPN.

Today’s work-from-anywhere workforce requires agile and optimized access to cloud and data centers. Legacy hub-and-spoke networking architectures can’t handle this new requirement. SASE solves it by combining networking and security functions into a single service. This software-defined model offers the agility, scalability, and simplified management needed for digital business transformation.

Network and security teams face the constant challenge of defending against ever-evolving cyber threats. A SASE platform helps these teams defend users, devices, and data from advanced threats with enhanced access speed, performance, and security.

Organizations can eliminate costly MPLS lines and simplify their network infrastructure with a SASE framework. They can also reduce maintenance, management, and power costs by consolidating hardware appliances and tools into a unified service.

An effective SASE solution enables IT and security teams to deliver the services their employees, customers, and business partners need. It includes accelerated cloud access from anywhere, faster performance, and a better user experience. The technology behind SASE can improve application responsiveness and cut latency by routing traffic to nearby points of presence (PoPs). It can also deliver security in the network fabric, preventing man-in-the-middle interceptions, spoofing, and malware attacks.