BWE Webinar Recap: The Future of Network Protection with Secure Access Service Edge (SASE)

August 11, 2023

Yep. There’s another acronym that needs to be discussed: SASE (pronounced sass-ee). It stands for secure access service edge and represents what many in the IT industry consider to be the future of network protection.

It’s also the focus of US Signal’s latest Beers with Engineers webinar, in which US Signal IT professionals discuss what SASE is and how it works its evolution, and its features and benefits. The discussion also covers how SASE is transforming organizations’ approach to security, and how more organizations can get started on that transformation.

The participants provide great technical information and examples that offer insights into the power and potential of SASE for network protection. You can access a recording of the full webinar here. (And look for a Beers with Engineers event in your area to discuss the topic in person while enjoying some of your favorite beverages.)

The following provides highlights of its content as well as some foundational information about SASE, to help you better understand some of the information featured in the webinar, the following:

What is Secure Access Service Edge (SASE)

As noted in the webinar, SASE is a cloud-established security model that secures access to applications and data from any location or device.

It consolidates numerous networking and security functions — traditionally delivered as siloed point solutions — in a single, integrated cloud service. Its’ six primary components (and the accompanying acronyms because the IT world loves acronyms) include:

  • Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN), which leverages SD-WAN capabilities to provide optimized network routing, global connectivity, remote access, WAN and Internet security, and cloud acceleration.
  • Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB), helps organizations adapt to new threats that can arise with cloud computing.
  • Secure Web Gateway (SWG), which offers SWG protection to all users and at all locations to defend against malware and other threats.
  • Firewall as a Service (FWaaS), which includes FWaaS to extend a full network security stack wherever needed
  • Unified Management (UM), which allows users to monitor and manage all network and security solutions from a single pane of glass.
  • Zero-Trust Network Access (ZTNA), which employs a zero-trust policy with application access dynamically adjusted based on user identity, device type, location, and other criteria.

It’s important to note that many security solution providers talk about zero trust and try to pass it off as an all-encompassing solution. But you can’t buy zero trust. It’s a highly focused model that limits resource access using a “trust no one” policy. SASE, on the other hand, provides a multi-faceted security framework with zero trust as one of its components. As such, SASE can provide a more comprehensive security solution that is able to protect applications and data, regardless of the end user’s location.

SASE also has four primary characteristics:

  • It’s cloud-native. SASE is elastic, self-healing, and self-maintaining. Its cloud-native nature allows it to rapidly adapt to business needs and make network services available from any location.
  • It’s identity-driven. User and resource identities determine the level of access, networking experience, and quality of service for every network connection, based on a unified organizational policy.
  • It provides support for all edges. SASE can equally service any edge, including on-premise data centers, branch offices, cloud resources, and mobile users on the go.
  • It’s globally distributed. SASE operates on a global scale to deliver all networking and security capabilities with high performance and low latency experience for all edges.

The Need for SASE

With so many different security solutions on the market, why is there even a need for something like SASE?

For one thing, technology and what we do with it keeps accelerating. More companies than ever are embracing cloud-based services. The number of remote workers continues to grow, as does the number of roaming devices that require protection. Users are accessing applications from multiple locations — and the applications they’re accessing are just as distributed.

Not surprisingly, the edges of the network have expanded well beyond the data center, which means standard IT security solutions are no longer (if they ever were) sufficient. Plus, companies must deal with contractors and partners that may require access to specific data or applications. The proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT) and operational technology (OT) devices means more network access as well.

IT teams try to keep pace with changing security needs by using a combination of different point solutions. But it’s a fragmented approach that adds complexity and costs, without necessarily providing the required security. SASE offers an “all-in-one,” cloud-delivered security solution that changes the dynamics through its agility and other benefits.

The Benefits of SASE

Among the benefits of SASE are:

  • Easy scalability
  • Ease of use
  • Reduced costs and complexity
  • Secure cloud access
  • More secure remote and mobile access
  • Edge-to-edge security
  • Network-wide data protection
  • Enhanced network visibility
  • Improved network reliability
  • Consistent policy enforcement
  • Centralized orchestration and real-time application optimization
  • Access is restricted based on user, device, and application identity
  • No need for traditional VPNs

Are You Ready for SASE

SASE may be the future of network protection, but it may also not be for every company — at least not yet. SD-WAN provides a good first step.

SD-WAN, short for software-defined wide area network, is a type of networking technology for managing and optimizing the performance of wide area networks (WANs). Based on software instead of hardware, it can be configured to handle different kinds of traffic and conditions in real time.

It leverages the benefits of the cloud, the bandwidth of broadband, and existing wide-area network infrastructure to route all traffic — data, video, voice, and more — between headquarters, data centers, and branch and remote offices in the most efficient way. It enables organizations to securely connect users, applications, and data across multiple locations while providing improved performance, reliability, and scalability. It also simplifies the management of WANs by providing centralized control and visibility over the entire network. Because it adapts quickly to changing situations, it offers better security and reliability than traditional WANs.

Because of SD-WAN's rapid adoption to support direct internet access, companies can use it as a foundation for SASE implementations. This holds true for both do-it-yourself and managed services SASE transformations. The webinar recording provides useful information about making this transformation.

What Comes Next

SD-WAN and SASE are both coming soon to US Signal — very soon. Our team of networking, cloud, and security experts can help you determine how to progress in your SASE transformation, or how to get started on one if you’re still in research mode. Stay informed and sign up to get the latest information.

How Does SASE Work Infographic

SD-WAN: Coming Soon to US Signal!