What is SASE (Secure Access Service Edge)?

With the SASE security model, organizations have the ability to identify users and devices and apply policy-based security.

What is SASE?

SASE stands for the Secure Access Service Edge which is a blueprint for better business security, and involves the combination of software-defined edge networking, user-focused authentication and access control and seamless integration across the cloud.

SASE achieves this by pointing policy and security to the user’s sessions instead of routing them through several point products. It’s a dynamic collection of edge capabilities delivered from the cloud as a service when needed. 

SASE simplifies wide-area networking (WAN) and security services by delivering both as a cloud service model. 

Today’s modern workforce has more remote and mobile employees than ever before. With the SASE security model, organizations have the ability to identify users and devices and apply policy-based security wherever they’re located.

This new architecture enables organizations to better adapt to the cloud, embrace mobility, protect against security threats, and simultaneously deliver a superior user experience. 

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Gartner SASE Definition

Gartner first coined the term Secure Access Service Edge or SASE (pronounced “sassy”) in 2019 as an emerging cybersecurity concept, and is currently revolutionizing the way organizations handle data. 

In their 2021 Strategic Roadmap for SASE Convergence report, Gartner defined SASE as “SASE capabilities delivered as a service-based upon the identity of the entity, real-time context, enterprise security/compliance policies and continuous assessment of risk/trust throughout the sessions. Identities of entities can be associated with people, groups of people (branch offices), devices, applications, services, IoT systems or edge computing locations.”

Gartner also predicts that by 2024, as many as 40% of enterprises will outline specific SASE adoption strategies, up from 10% in 2020. That number will increase to 60% in 2025.  

What You Need to Know About SASE

  • SASE stands for Secure Access Service Edge 
  • The SASE acronym was first coined by Gartner in 2019 
  • SASE is an emerging WAN model 
  • SASE can be enabled anywhere, anytime, and accessed from any device

SASE Meaning: Where is The Edge?

The world is experiencing a rapid increase in IoT devices at the network’s edge, which produce massive amounts of information that must be computed at data centers. While network technology has improved, network bandwidth requirements are still being pushed to their limits, making it hard to guarantee transfer rates and response times. 

Edge computing helps reduce latency and save bandwidth by bringing computation and data storage closer to where it’s needed. When real-time data sits in a central location far away, it can cause latency issues, affecting an application’s performance.

Edge computing shifts the majority, or at least a portion of resources, away from the central data center and moves it closer to the data source. Instead of sending large amounts of raw data, only the relevant data is sent after being processed and analyzed. 

Along with the many benefits edge computing offers organizations, it can also significantly increase the risk of cyberattacks by increasing the number of potential entry points.

Coupled with the concern that many endpoints are developed with built-in internet connectivity, organizations can struggle to gain full control and visibility of all connected devices, maintain a strong defense with an expanding attack surface, and protect all data that moves throughout the organization’s network. 

The SASE framework can address the needs of edge security as it includes vital defense elements such as Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB), Firewall as a Service (FWaaS), and Zero trust. These elements are delivered as a single cloud service to help protect users and applications that sit at the edge of an organization’s network.

How SASE Works

SASE provides a cloud-native architecture that features VPN and SD-WAN capabilities, along with an array of security functions to create the most secure network possible.

For instance, SASE includes web gateways for more trusted access points into your company’s servers or other applications; firewalls designed to stop any incoming attacks while also monitoring all traffic in and out of your system; as well as Zero Trust networking, which ensures only authorized users are granted permission on this type of network.

At its core, SASE details a shift in the traditional cyber defense security model to a decentralized, cloud-delivery model that fits the needs of organizations today.

The safety and reliability of remote workers, and endpoints, whether they’re using devices, applications, servers, edge computing locations, or IoT systems, is enhanced when connected to a single, cloud-managed solution. 

Your teams can now consolidate all security to provide better access and enforce user-role-based controls while constantly monitoring risk in real-time. In addition, by removing the reliance on multiple point solutions, it’s easy for companies to scale up or down as needed.

How SASE Works

Benefits of SASE

Transitioning to a SASE security model can provide many benefits for the organization, including increased system performance and reduced downtime. This decision should not be taken lightly. It may result in faster program execution times or even improved overall organizational efficiency.

  • Consistent policy enforcement, regardless of location: The cloud-based solution helps companies comply with new regulations and meets specific compliance requirements for sensitive information, including HIPAA standards. It also keeps business operations running smoothly by directing traffic to appropriate POPs based on location or other settings set out in a plan that has been carefully developed over time so that every possible scenario is accounted for ahead of time.
  • Simplified Management: IT teams can configure, manage, and monitor all aspects of their security and network from a single console with real-time data and granular visibility for each component.
  • Threat detection and sensitive-data visibility: Sensitive data visibility and control is a central pillar of SASE. The system’s robust security features include an in-line traffic inspection module to monitor data movement, as well as API-based detection techniques for cloud services that would otherwise be invisible.

    A local agent installed on the device also provides additional protection against network attacks or malicious content with its own built-in intrusion prevention sensors, which can block such threats before they get anywhere near your devices or internal security framework.
  • Consistent policy enforcement: SASE service provides policy-based access to the Internet, SaaS apps, and private enterprise apps (on-premises or IaaS) all at once. This consolidation of previously disparate network and security policies means that there is a single vendor for these services instead of four different ones, and each has their own interface with overlapping features.
  • Security: SASE provides organizations with the ability to unify the implementation and enforcement of policies. As SASE is a cloud-based architecture, it enables the same set of security options to be brought closer to the user, their applications, and devices no matter where they’re located, even as they travel from location to location and move through different devices.
  • Flexibility: A SASE architecture is the most flexible security infrastructure possible, enabling businesses to scale up their security as they grow.
  • Network Performance: SASE delivers optimized connectivity to reduce latency using SD-WAN technology. When users connect to SaaS apps or require low latency to use collaboration tools, their experience and quality will drastically improve.
  • Zero Trust: SASE offerings are designed to replace the implicit trust in legacy networking models with explicit, continuously assessed adaptive risk and trust levels based on identity and context for all connections — remote, on-premise, or at headquarters.
  • Cost Savings: Teams no longer need to purchase and manage multiple point products and solutions. Using a single cloud-based security service with one console will reduce your overall IT costs.
  • Improved User Experience: When security controls are automatically applied for the user, there is less risk of a user error occurring and a less intrusive experience for the user.

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SASE Architecture

SASE combines multiple networking and security layers into one cloud-based, unified product. It offers several technical solutions and operational simplification by removing the need for multiple point solutions and private WAN links. The image above highlights the SASE core components of both network and security, 

What is SASE Architecture

Secure Access Network

SD-WAN

Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) is a virtual network controlled by centralized software. This virtual network enables users to connect from nearly any location and use a wide variety of devices.

It’s also able to take advantage of cloud services and provide users greater flexibility to collaborate across borders with tools such as Azure, AWS, Salesforce, etc. While traditional WANs were ok for creating connections in a static environment, SD-WAN provides a number of vital advantages that allow organizations greater visibility, better performance, and enhanced management.  

SD-WAN is considerably cheaper than traditional multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) used to connect sites, requiring point-solutions to ensure feasible security functions are also implemented. Typically, organizations will need to acquire firewalls, VPNs for remote access, and more tools which leads to increased complexity.

SASE combines the functionality of WAN with extensive security capabilities such as Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB, Secure Web Gateway (SWG), Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), and Firewall as a Service (FWaaS).

NaaS

Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) is a cloud service model in which customers rent an entire network from a service provider. These networks are run using software, and they can be set up without any hardware necessary on behalf of the customer renting these services. 

This means that companies who use this type of rental service no longer need to maintain their own networking infrastructure or buy expensive equipment for their servers and data centers; instead, all maintenance must come from one source – the company providing them with access to NaaS technology rentals.

Network-as-a-Service replaces legacy network configurations. It can also replace VPNs, MPLS connections, and even on-premise networking hardware such as firewalls and load balancers.

SASE is a service that offers software-defined networking and network security. These are combined into one alluring package which can be hosted onto the cloud, making it accessible to businesses of any size or type.

As with NaaS, SASE combines virtualized services and allows for easy scaling options when needed in order to meet demand without overloading IT departments or draining company resources too quickly.

With the increasing popularity of cloud computing, many companies will one day realize that they don’t need as much physical infrastructure. This is because you can rent out servers in other places and not have any responsibility for them whatsoever.

SASE offers a way to get networking functions on your site without having all these various hardware devices around which might be susceptible to security breaches or cause maintenance issues down the road.

Latency Optimization

Latency is the time it takes for data to travel from one computer or device to another. In terms of performance optimization, important steps include reducing sources of latency and testing site responsiveness in simulated high-latency environments. 

The past decade has seen a paradigm shift in data communication with the advent of cloud computing. The low-latency, expensive MPLS connectivity that was once desired now seems insufficient for businesses that need to be responsive and agile. In order to accomplish this feat while still relying on an optical network like MPLS, WAN optimization appliances emerged as saviors by extracting maximum capacity out of available bandwidth at the enterprise’s disposal.

SASE is the first and only globally distributed edge provider with an architecture that provides low-latency service to users across all enterprise edges. The SASE platform delivers a robust, global network for organizations of any size or industry who are looking for complete networking abilities on demand as well as uncompromised security from anywhere in the world.

Routing

Network routing is the process of selecting a path across one or more networks. This decision can be crucial in any type of network, from telephone to public transportation and especially on packet-switching networks such as the Internet where these decisions are made by IP addresses which number in trillions.

Since identity-driven security and cloud-native architecture are key characteristics of SASE, it may be easy to buy into the idea that a feature-rich cloud-based firewall can serve as a method to implement SASE.

However, this doesn’t work out well in practice because you need more than just firewalls for which an enterprise or SMB could use their own server hardware rather than renting from third-party vendors such as Amazon Web Services (AWS). 

Security is only half of what makes up secure architectural systems engineering, so without additional features like routing optimization within your network while also handling WAN connections through AWS VPNs, these offerings will not provide all the benefits needed by organizations.

SaaS Acceleration

SD-WAN will allow you to access any SaaS application with the same level of control and quality as if it were an in-house resource. It does this by not having to backhaul all traffic from a data center. Instead, it sends relevant parts directly to service gateways deployed at top-tier cloud providers worldwide for more efficient routing processes.

SD-WAN uses the global PoP infrastructure to provide SaaS acceleration. SD-WAN optimizes and accelerates traffic taken by cloud providers, eliminating the need for backhauling data center access points.

By deploying a distributed network of service gateways worldwide at top tier locations like major Cloud Data Centers, these devices optimize your user’s ability to connect with any type of provider or resource they are trying to reach out to – meaning it provides more accessibility no matter what country you happen to be in. 

A company may want to prioritize the deployment of applications and data on a private or public cloud. The best way for this process is by using IaaS (Infrastructure as aService), which can assure application performance while simplifying deployments at a lower cost compared to traditional infrastructure methods such as renting servers in remote locations.

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Security

Firewall as a Service (WaaS)

Firewall as a Service (FWaaS) is a new type of firewall that doesn’t just hide physical appliances behind virtual ones but eliminates the need for them altogether. With FWaaS, you can protect your network with industry-standard URL Filtering and IPS and have advanced features like AM, NG-AM, or Analytics available anywhere in the world from any device.

With a single, global firewall that is both application-aware and unified for its security policy with no boundaries to limit access or data flow between regions, organizations can implement FWaaS. Gartner has found this emerging technology to be effective in infrastructure protection because of the high impact benefits it provides, such as improved agility in responding to threats, among many other features.

FWaaS, delivered as an essential part of a complete SASE platform, addresses the deficiencies of appliance-based firewalls. Rather than relying on high powered appliances to handle all network traffic for large businesses with complex security needs and global networks, FWaaS leverages cloud infrastructure that can grow or shrink accordingly without any downtime. This is invaluable in today’s fast-paced business world where organizations need to be agile enough to change at their own pace.

Network Security

Network security is a never-ending battle between malicious actors and the networks they try to breach. It strives for authorized access while blocking exploits and threats from ever happening inside of its borders.

The Internet is a vast web of connections, networks, and data. The world we live in has shifted from the physical to the digital realm; this means that security threats are ever-changing and growing with each new day. Network security providers use various methods for protection:

  • Firewalls that block unauthorized access
  • Encryption codes so only authorized users can decipher information records on their own devices without being hacked or stolen by others who want your personal details such as bank accounts numbers, home addresses, etc.

Web Security

Web security is crucial to protect your company’s data, its users, and the organization from cybercriminals. Web-based threats are becoming more sophisticated every day; therefore, it becomes increasingly essential for organizations to implement web security measures in order not only to remain secure but also to operate with confidence.

Web Security refers to the protective measures that companies adopt on their websites so as they can be protected against digital crimes or hacks: This includes things such as firewalls, antivirus software programs, and encrypting sensitive information (such as credit card details) when transferring them over a network connection like an Internet browser would use.

SaaS Security

With the increasing number of companies going to a cloud-based SaaS model for their computing and business needs comes an increased need for security.

All software created in this manner is vulnerable to new malware or phishing attacks that could lead not only to private data being compromised but also to company information like financials, trade secrets, or proprietary research material.

There are ways businesses can protect themselves from these risks by using appropriate tools such as antivirus programs which will scan all files uploaded on your computer before they’re opened and blacklist any infected ones automatically with no human interaction required

SaaS Security relates to guarding user privacy and corporate data in subscription-based cloud applications. SaaS applications carry a large amount of sensitive data, therefore professing dangers to both the individual’s privacy and that company’s exclusive data which is often stored on their servers. 

Cloud services are becoming increasingly popular with consumers primarily due to convenience but can be problematic for individuals who desire more control over how others access their personal documents through these providers’ networks and corporations whose trade secrets may also reside within such environments without adequate security measures.

Endpoint Security

Endpoint Security protects the various end-user devices, like laptops, smartphones, or tablets. These endpoints serve as points of access to a network and sensitive data. It has become more important than ever before because today’s workforce is often remote from their workplace on one of these devices. In fact, by 2025, an estimated 70% of the workforce will be working remotely at least five days a month.

Endpoints are the weakest link in your cybersecurity strategy. Despite their best efforts, hackers will always find a way to get around those security measures you put into place for network access points and other data-sensitive areas. 

The unprecedented cyberattacks on the endpoint are unsurprising, considering this is a time in which malicious actors can capitalize and take advantage of any situation. In fact, these attacks have been successful for some as they exploit endpoints to breach organizations worldwide, using them as their top attack vector. 

As such, companies must focus not only on preventing imminent threats but also seeking out better ways to protect themselves from future risks through best practices that address all potential challenges ahead and create more advanced protections sooner rather than later.

The emerging SASE framework provides highly secure network access as close to the end-user as possible and is designed to further enable use cases that rely on ultra-low latency.

This final layer between endpoint security and network security will help bridge high levels of risk for organizations who are not able to take advantage of a Secure Cloud Access system in their own infrastructure, due largely to current limitations with legacy networking devices such as firewalls, VPNs or IDS/IPS systems which can cause bottlenecks when attempting to establish point-to-point connections over long distances rapidly.

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CASB vs SASE

Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASBs) are designed to address the deficiencies of legacy network security models. In the past, organizations relied on a perimeter-focused model where an array of cybersecurity defenses were deployed at their enterprise’s LAN’s boundaries. 

This was so all traffic could be forced to flow through these barriers and allow for inspection before proceeding into sensitive networks, but it left some gaps as well because malicious actors might enter from another direction in order to circumvent detection or continue with activities present outside that area. 

CASBs can monitor communication across any type of connection – including mobile data services – and is able to verify whether information sent over those connections has been tampered with by leveraging encryption keys generated via public key infrastructure (PKI).

SASE is an all-inclusive security solution for both small and large enterprises. They offer a fully integrated stack that goes beyond the standard features of CASB, incorporating optimized network routing with SD-WAN capability, next-generation firewall functionality to provide even more protection across an entire enterprise’s infrastructure.

SASE or CASB: Which One Will Protect You Best?

Security integration is the backbone of any strong cybersecurity system. The two sides in this debate are SASE and CASB, which differ on how integrated these solutions can be with your existing assets as well as what level of protection they offer to those assets.

CASB and SASE are both used to help secure an organization’s cloud infrastructure. CASB secures software as a service application, while SASE offers a fully integrated WAN networking solution that connects remote users with branch offices in order for them to access corporate applications and services like Google Drive or Salesforce app from their local area network instead of having everything housed onsite at headquarters.

In the discussion of SASE vs CASB, it is clear that implementing only SASE in your organization can have a great impact on how efficient and simplified your security system will be.

The addition of Autonomous Security Engine (ASE) gives you both SD-WAN’s network routing feature as well as Next-Generation Firewall’s (NGFW) security features without having to go through the hassle or expense of purchasing an entirely new product.

SASE Cybersecurity

Network security is an inevitable challenge for digital organizations, and the next generation of networks will prioritize this. The importance of protecting data has never been higher, which means that network architecture must have strong defenses in place to safeguard against malicious activity like hacking attempts.

Digital organizations are more vulnerable to both internal and external threats with the rapidly evolving digital landscape. Existing network approaches and technologies simply do not provide the security or access control levels necessary for these digital organizations, which can have a major impact on their operations in terms of cost efficiency and customer loyalty.

With the current trends in technology, data is now more exposed to security threats than ever before. The need for new approaches and technologies continues to rise: 

  • Increase in remote users, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications that are accessed remotely from a cloud server instead of onsite at the company’s own servers or back-office location.
  • Increased traffic going into public clouds such as Amazon Web Services which stores your files and documents online so they can be easily shared by you with other people outside of your network without having to send them emails, attachments, or USB drives.
  • When traveling abroad where Internet access may not always be reliable, it becomes difficult if their VPN connection drops out – these organizations demand uninterrupted access no matter what happens while staying connected. 

People are always looking for the next big security trend, but SASE is a game-changer because it merges wide-area networking with network security services.

This revolutionary approach gives you all of your needs in one place without sacrificing quality and control over what’s happening on your networks.

SASE Cybersecurity

With the release of “The Future of Network Security Is in the Cloud” Gartner provided a roadmap to where they think network security is headed. The SASE model was released, providing an overview of what’s going to happen with WAN connectivity and security market development over time.

The idea behind the shift is simple: cloud and mobile have changed how networks are used, which means that traditional data center-focused models just aren’t right for modern use cases.

SASE has become a hot buzzword, so lots of “SASE vendors” have put the word “SASE” on their services without actually having a real SASE framework set up. As a result, enterprises are being faced with discerning which offers meet the requirements for digital business.

The promise of SASE is to deliver converged network and security service on a global scale, reducing cost and complexity while increasing agility, visibility, and performance.

In order for an enterprise to benefit from the potential of SASE, it’s important that they ask the right questions when selecting their vendors so as not to be disappointed by insufficient services in regards to what was promised.

Evaluating SASE Vendors

It is time for enterprises to take the next step in network and security infrastructure. Any WAN architecture that aims to gain the benefits of truly converged networks at scale should be able to meet certain criteria.

  • Cloud-native platform: SASE vendors must use a cloud-native approach to deliver the full benefits of this model. The identity-centric approach SASE demands cannot be fulfilled with point solutions, such as SD-WAN appliances alone: it needs converged software stacks for all network edges – including on-premises, mobile, and in the cloud.
  • Integrated networking and security as a service: SASE converges networking and security into a single cloud-native platform to protect against any threats from the Internet. If you are researching SASE providers, make sure they have both enterprise-grade network services like SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Network) as well as cyber protection with firewalls that provide advanced web filtering and intrusion prevention.
  • Global network with optimal performance: The public Internet is too unreliable and latency-prone for global use cases, but private networks are much more reliable. MPLS is considered a reliable solution for enterprise networks but lacks the agility and cost-effectiveness of other solutions. However, if you’re looking to meet this requirement, then it’s best to find a SASE vendor that provides global SLA-backed private backbone services.
  • Offers ZTNA services: The most pressing issue is that legacy approaches are not able to extend into the cloud and mobile edge endpoints. These traditional ways of thinking about network security have hindered organizations from being successful in the modern world, but ZTNA’s granular identity-driven approach can finally provide a solution. With ZTNA, enterprises can configure application-specific access based on user identities for cloud, mobile, on-premise users, and resources.

How Perimeter 81 Helps with SASE Adoption

Revolutionize the way you safeguard your data using our highly scalable Secure Access Service Edge solution that combines network and security functionality into a single platform. This scalable, cost-efficient, cloud-based service is a breakthrough for small businesses and enterprises that need to protect their resources while growing quickly with ease.

Deploy your network in minutes, not days. Instantly deploy secure cloud gateways, create multi-regional networks, and install client applications with our single-click interface. Our easy one-click installation removes the hassle of manually deploying all your network infrastructure and setting up individual devices, which can take hours or days.

Secure access to any and every resource. To protect your organization from disruptions, ensure that you have policy-based and zero trust access to each of the company’s assets – whether they are on-premise or in the cloud.

Quickly scale without limits. We are more than a data center. Achieving high levels of reliability is key for any business, and with more than 30 global locations, we make sure that our clients have the necessary level at all times.

Gain complete network visibility. With our easy-to-use dashboard, you can quickly identify any unusual activity that needs your attention. You will be able to easily manage team settings and view employee network access all in one place for a more streamlined experience.

Dramatically reduce costs. Our SASE solution allows you to build a network without the need for expensive external hardware installation, which means that you can scale your operation quickly and cost-effectively.

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SASE FAQs

What does it mean that SASE is on the “Edge”?
The “edge” means that SaaS security and network resources are brought as close to users as possible. Now that many network entrants are remote, SASE providers help businesses secure these resources in data centers nearest their employees, offering lower latency and better access than alternative solutions like a Business VPN or a Cloud VPN.
What is the difference between SASE and CASB?
CASB is effective at sitting between cloud resources and employees, and helps IT to monitor their activity and limit resource access, but it’s only one component of the full SASE model. While SASE relies on CASB for tailored, user-based access policies, it also offers functions that are found outside of CASB such as 2FA, DNS security, and other security tools.
What is the difference between SD-WAN and CASB?
SD-WAN is a networking infrastructure that takes advantage of the flexibility of software, and allows IT to remotely create and manage networks without the addition of hardware. SASE is built upon this infrastructure as well, but offers additional utility such as the consumption of security features and more precise segmentation (and policy).
Where can I get a SASE product?
As first defined by Gartner in 2019, SASE products are still in development, though the industry is quickly coming together to make them materialize. Mergers and acquisitions, technology partnerships and other efforts are being accomplished at a fast pace, and will soon result in some of the first truly unified SASE platforms to hit the market.
I’ve adopted SASE – is it still possible to be hacked?
If you’ve adopted a SASE approach, it’s still possible to be hacked, but the point of SASE isn’t to promise that this will never happen. SASE reduces the attack surface and makes it prohibitively expensive and difficult for hackers to breach the network, when it’s done correctly. Given that hackers mostly focus on the weakest among the herd, SASE is an effective way to remove the target from your business’s back.

Perimeter 81 SASE Framework Benefits

  • Simplified Security Model: Perimeter 81 SASE architecture greatly reduces network complexity and combines all elements of network and security into a single unified cloud service.
  • Improved Network Visibility:  The Perimeter 81 SASE framework integrates seamlessly with on-premise and cloud resources, enables hyper-scalability and elasticity within the WAN infrastructure, and offers superior network visibility throughout an organization. 
  • Cost Efficient: SASE significantly reduces IT costs as organizations no longer need to upgrade outdated legacy hardware systems, fix patches, and invest in ongoing maintenance.

Looking for a SASE Solution?

Simplify your network security today with Perimeter 81.