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What is Network as a Service?

Network as a Service (NaaS) is a model that takes the idea of networking, and delivers it “as a service”, meaning easy access to networking tools and processes from one centralized location in the cloud. People are familiar with networking - the idea that organizations are always bouncing data between devices and resources that belong to them or their employees - and that this data and infrastructure must be managed. Accordingly, a cloud Network as a Service helps these organizations’ IT teams engage in these crucial activities more easily: To design, build and use their networks, but also optimize, maintain and create secure access policies for them in the cloud.

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Why Do Organizations Need a Network as a Service?

Organizations need network management as a service simply because it’s the easier, safer and more cost-effective alternative to managing networks with traditional solutions, especially now that the cloud is ubiquitous. These days companies rely heavily on the cloud for all aspects of their business - consider that most employees use four cloud applications on average in their daily routines - so to incorporate a cloud-friendly network as a service solution makes more sense. Billing, customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning, and other important business ideas now flow first through the cloud.

This trend highlights how nonsensical it is to force the use of traditional networking tools with the cloud. Down this path lies expenditures of capital and time that still leave gaps in the network where hackers can get in. Adding the cloud to an organization’s network reduces visibility for IT and demands more work from them, if they’re to clearly understand where and how network data is exposed. A VPN, for instance, isn’t enough for our new reality. VPNs beg the use of hardware and manual configuration, and yet still lack enough sophistication to segment and create custom access policies for specific parts of the network or implement advanced security tools. This degree of exposure risks compliance, data breaches, and other potentially ruinous events.

Cloud Network as a Service vs. VPN

There’s a reason that IT engineers and networking professionals cringe when the word VPN is mentioned in the same breath as security. Not only do VPNs come with the idea of pricey hardware, contracts with support vendors and internal personnel who must manage configuration and maintenance, they’re simply not a suitable solution for modern cloud-hybrid networks. Downtime still occurs frequently, and for a company that loses money for every second its network is unavailable, this can’t be accepted. When a VPN goes down, efforts to get it back up and running don’t just take minutes, they take hours.

Besides the basic issues listed above, VPNs lack the capabilities to flexibly deal with threats to the network. Attacks are no longer occurring on on-premises resources and endpoints, they occur across the cloud and remote employee devices. A regular VPN can’t provide visibility, control, or monitoring that can prevent these events. A Network as a Service is a different tool altogether, and the only thing they have in common is the fact that traffic through a NaaS is also encrypted, but with a larger selection of TLS protocols like IPSec, SSL, and Wireguard. More important for modern networks is the idea that a Network as a Service provides the ability to create custom networks that integrate security and access policy features from one cloud platform.

This brings several advantages. First and foremost is the ability to get a working VPN-like solution out-of-the-box, without the responsibility for maintenance or management. For organizations that require only this, that’s already enough, but central to any NaaS is also that companies using them can segment their networks into minute slices - each with their own access policy for users based on their role, device, location, and more. Since Network as a Service benefits naturally reside in the cloud, it’s also common to see them with a huge array of extra security features that further protect the network: things like multi-factor authentication, Wi-Fi security, DNS filtering, and others.

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How Does Network as a Service Work?

What exactly does your IT team need to do when setting up a Network as a Service platform, and how do they use it? Essentially, IT logs into their NaaS panel via a web browser and begins setting up their organization’s network: Deploying gateways in specific regions near their offices, branches, and remote employees then running encrypted tunnels between them and resources in the cloud or local environment. Next comes the onboarding of users and the creation of groups, who can access specific parts of the network that IT just created, and now that they’re defined can be assigned permissions based on their credentials, devices’ postures, IP address locations and other granular qualifiers.

In terms of architecture, a Network as a Service solution has three parts: the client, the controller, and the gateways previously mentioned. Users or employees who want to connect to the organization’s resources (like SaaS services such as Salesforce or AWS, or local storage) need to run the client from their device before connecting. The controller evaluates each user based on the tokens they’ve been issued by the client, which signal the parts of the network they’re allowed in. Gateways are the entryway to these parts of the network, and traffic is encrypted between user devices and the gateways or resources these devices are trying to access.

IT can easily create specific access policies and enforce the use of security measures such as 2FA to users via their NaaS cloud panel. All events on the network are logged, making it easy to determine what is happening or what has happened, and also allowing the use of monitoring which is able to quickly send up a flare when suspicious activity occurs. With such an arsenal of tools, IT is equipped to improve their security capabilities and easily scale them as the company grows, onboard new employees, and institute a proactive attack response strategy.

What Are the Advantages of Perimeter 81’s
Network as a Service?

Network as a Service benefits are many, but the biggest and most vital cannot be mistaken.

Cloud Native NaaS

Integrate networking and security functionality directly into the cloud-based SaaS applications your organization relies on: Salesforce, Google Suite, AWS and most popular solutions are supported.

Security Functionality

Take advantage of a sophisticated array of security tools on top of regular networking features: Multi-factor authentication, Automatic Wi-Fi security, DNS filtering, and many more.

Total Network Visibility

Breach prevention is about more than the defenses around your network perimeter. With policies based on users and easy logging and monitoring, it’s simple to identify where and how exposure occurs.

Global Data Backbone

Lower network latency by placing important network resources closer to where they’re required by your organization’s employees - both local and remote - thanks to our global array of over 50 managed data centers.

Lower IT Costs

Do away with hardware, configuration and maintenance of the network. Your team can now manage all aspects of network security from our single control panel, and with a flexible subscription pricing model.

Zero Trust Remote Work

Remote work is here to stay, and there’s no better way to support and secure remote employees than a cloud-native NaaS. Least-privilege ZT access policies with extra security features significantly limit exposure.

Our Network as a Service:

  • Is onboarded for your whole company in as little as 15 minute
  • Scales as your business grows larger and more complex
  • Integrates directly with your local and cloud resources
  • Lowers network latency by directing traffic through multi-regional gateways
  • Enables Zero Trust access policy based on qualifiers like role, device, and location
  • Encrypts all data and traffic sent over the network

Why Use Perimeter 81’s Network as a Service?

Chances are, many of the tools that your organization and its employees use every day are hosted on the cloud. Like most companies, if you’re worried about what might happen should a hacker breach the network and steal sensitive data, you haven’t let it get in the way of your cloud adoption - which is OK. However, it’s important to know that heavy reliance on the cloud means data now has a lot farther to travel. It changes hands more than ever between SaaS providers and remote employees, making hackers’ jobs easier and your IT team’s job harder. This degree of network complication requires more of IT, who might deal with the issue by consuming a handful of different network access management and security products like VPNs, firewalls and other common solutions.

While this makes it more feasible to protect your expanding network, it doesn’t make it easier, which is asking a lot of IT. As companies grow, security falls behind because it’s difficult to scale, so Perimeter 81’s Network as a Service presents an ideal solution. Our managed network as a service product is easily integrated with both the local and cloud resources that make up any network, taking just 15 minutes to onboard the whole company. We provide a single, central platform where IT can leverage the various access policy, security, and monitoring tools they need to keep a network safe and maintain full visibility. There is no hardware or difficult configuration involved in building your custom network, bringing reduced costs, better uptime, lower latency, and unmatched productivity.

What is Included in Perimeter 81’s Network as a Service NaaS?

Try the Perimeter 81 Network as a Service For Free

Want to deploy a complete network security solution across your network? Get a free Perimeter 81 demo to see how it can be done in 15 minutes, and with better results.

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