Security is an uncompromisable need in our daily lives. Yet, that same need, in the context of digital networks, can become a challenge. Enter SASE (Secure Access Service Edge), a framework designed to address these challenges in an increasingly cloud-centered and mobile environment.
It represents a progressive approach to network security, blending safety measures with the flexibility demanded by today's fast-paced digital world.
What is SASE (Secure Access Service Edge)?
SASE, or Secure Access Service Edge is a concept that combines the functions of network security services with wide-area networking (WAN) capabilities to support the dynamic, secure access needs of organizations.
It is designed to address the limitations of traditional network architectures that were not built for the cloud-centric, mobile-first business environment we see today.
Traditional networks often rely on a centralized, data-center-oriented model, which can lead to inefficiencies and increased security risks when accessing cloud-based resources.
SASE, on the other hand, is a cloud-native architecture. It moves network security services from hardware appliances in data centers to the cloud, bringing them closer to the user and the resources they need to access.
Why SASE Matters?
With an increase in remote working, the rise of cloud services, and the proliferation of mobile devices, traditional network security models are no longer sufficient.
SASE's model of combining networking and security into a single, cloud-delivered service offers a more agile, cost-effective, and secure way to manage the network needs of modern enterprises.
How Does SASE Work?
SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) works by integrating advanced network and security functions into a unified, cloud-delivered service model.
- As soon as a user attempts to access the network, SASE's first action is to verify their identity. This can involve methods like multi-factor authentication or digital certificates.
- SASE then assesses the context of the access request, considering factors such as the user's location, the device being used, the time of access, and the device's security status.
- Based on the gathered identity and context information, SASE consults its policy engine to decide on the access level. This decision determines the resources the user can access and the applicable security protocols.
- Once the policy decision is made, SASE grants the user access to the network resources for which they are authorized, ensuring compliance with the established security policies.
- The user's network traffic is routed through SASE's global network of Points of Presence (PoPs). This step is crucial for reducing latency and improving the overall network performance.
- Integrated security services such as Secure Web Gateways (SWG), Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASB), Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), Firewalls as a Service (FWaaS), and Data Loss Prevention (DLP) are applied to the traffic. These services collectively ensure data security and threat prevention.
- SASE continuously monitors network activity, looking for any abnormal behavior or potential security threats.
- If there are changes in user behavior, network conditions, or emerging security threats, SASE dynamically adjusts its security policies and access controls in real-time to ensure ongoing protection and optimal performance.
- When the user session ends, SASE securely concludes the session, ensuring all connections are terminated properly and no security gaps are left.
What are The Key Components of SASE?
The key components of SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) are integral to its functioning and effectiveness. These components work in tandem to provide a secure, efficient, and scalable networking solution that aligns with the needs of modern, cloud-based, and mobile-first business environments.
1. Secure Web Gateways (SWG)
SWGs are critical for protecting users from online threats and enforcing company policies. They act as checkpoints that monitor and regulate internet traffic, ensuring safe web browsing and blocking access to malicious websites. SWGs also help in filtering unwanted content and preventing web-based threats.
2. Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASB)
CASBs provide visibility and control over the use of cloud services. They enable organizations to extend their security policies to cloud applications, ensuring that data stored in the cloud is secure and compliant with regulations.
CASBs are particularly important for identifying and mitigating risks associated with shadow IT (use of IT systems without approval).
3. Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA)
ZTNA is based on the principle of "never trust, always verify". It ensures that only authenticated and authorized users and devices can access network resources. Unlike traditional network security that trusts devices within a network perimeter, ZTNA continuously validates every stage of digital interaction.
This approach significantly reduces the risk of unauthorized access and lateral movement of threats within the network.
4. Firewalls as a Service (FWaaS)
FWaaS offers advanced firewall capabilities delivered from the cloud. It provides comprehensive network traffic inspection and intrusion prevention, enabling organizations to protect their networks from a wide range of threats.
FWaaS is scalable and flexible, allowing for easy deployment and management of firewall rules across the entire organization, regardless of location.
5. Data Loss Prevention (DLP)
DLP components in SASE are designed to prevent data breaches and unauthorized transfer of sensitive information. They monitor and control data movement across the network, ensuring that critical data does not leave the network without authorization.
DLP systems can detect and block sensitive data in motion (as it travels across the network), at rest (stored on network devices), and in use (being processed or accessed).
With remote work, cloud computing, and mobile access becoming the norm, traditional network security models have struggled to keep pace. SASE is a solution uniquely tailored to these contemporary challenges, offering a more dynamic, flexible, and effective approach to securing and managing networks.