If your business – like many others – has had to adjust to having many more people working remotely, you’ll definitely recognize the importance of being able to count on applications that are cloud-based. The issue with relying on these cloud-based apps, however, is that they require networks to have much better security – and where there are security systems in place it’s important that the systems work well with each other.
It’s fairly common now to see companies whose main focus was previously security, offering packages with networking features – and many networking companies are now offering security solutions such as virus and malware protection. The crossover of WAN, networking and security is now more relevant than ever – and businesses and service providers alike need to recognize this, or they might start to lose customers.
What is SASE?
Secure Access Service Edge – more commonly referred to as SASE – was born as a concept when a network as a service and network security as a service converged in the market. Network as a service is made up of features such as SD WAN, WAN optimization, carriers, and CDN. Network security as a service includes features like DNS web security, firewalls, Zero Trust Network Access, and Cloud Secure Web Gateway.
SASE brings all the aforementioned features together in one package. You may have never heard the phrase before, but I’m sure you’ll have heard of at least a couple of the features it includes. The phrase itself is a more recent development, even though the concept of bringing networking solutions and security solutions together has existed for some time.
SASE really seems to be becoming more and more compatible in terms of platforms due to the fact that so many more providers are offering it as a package deal. It’s looking quite likely that SASE will be the next big thing in networking, similarly to how for many businesses SD WAN superseded the popular MPLS-based connections.
Three recent changes driving SASE’s popularity
In recent years, changes to how businesses create, access, and utilize applications have created the need for a package that combines security and networking together in one – that being SASE. Here is a quick look at three of the main changes that have created this push:
1. Businesses implementing SD WAN
A huge number of businesses found a lot of use in SD WAN – finally, their circuits could have a direct link to the internet. This meant that the performance of the network could be improved, as the traffic used by their cloud-based apps could be sent directly over the web as opposed to taking up the circuit’s bandwidth.
It also meant that the traffic coming and going from data center applications could remain using the MPLS system and that since there was far less traffic, the bandwidth could be reduced. This is how SD WAN prevents networks from becoming congested – but it also necessitates higher security, as data must be protected if it is being sent through the internet.
2. The increase in remote working
As you’ll be aware, a huge amount of people have been working remotely, whether that’s from home or somewhere else. Without the use of the internet, remote work wouldn’t have been nearly as successful. The issue is, this means a lot of business traffic isn’t protected by the in-house security measures.
Workers who use applications within the network can use the company VPN – this allows them to have the traffic they require sent right to them thanks to the VPN’s split-tunneling system. Anyone not using the applications within the business network’s firewall is at risk, as they aren’t under the protection of the VPN.
3. Businesses using datacentre applications
The usage of datacentre applications, and the circuits used by the traffic, was actually a driving force behind businesses adopting SD WAN. A large amount of a business network’s traffic travels to the data center, and most businesses have primary circuits and backup circuits. Most of this data – around 80% – stays within the network, with a tiny 20% going through the internet.
It’s usually the case that the backup circuit is connected to the internet, as a failsafe if the primary circuit goes down. But this meant that many of the apps used by the businesses didn’t have a direct link to the internet – which was addressed by the introduction of SD WAN.
Ultimately, a lot of a business’ traffic is simply not protected by the in-house security systems used within the network. SASE packages can be a solution to this problem, with its firewall and security usually included in its Secure Internet Gateway. If you’re concerned about the gaps in your security, SASE might be able to help you out.
Also read: 10 Tips Virtualization Can Improve Security
Integrated security – the future of SASE
We’ve gone over a few of the current advantages of SASE, but is there anything that could be improved? Well, there is one thing…
SASE compiles a large quantity of extremely useful features – but it does result in there being an awful lot of notifications and alerts, which can drive IT workers and technicians a little bit mad. Generally, they’d prefer to be presented with a correlation of alerts, so they can work out, and address, issues from the context clues provided.
Let’s put it this way – if you were to go to retrieve some jewelry from your bedroom, only to find your jewelry box unlocked, items missing, and your bedroom window wide open, it’s the correlation of events (as opposed to the isolated incidents) which give you the context to worry you’ve had your possessions stolen.
This correlation can be revealed by SASE with integrated security. SASE with integrated security could also take matters into its own hands by detecting issues and responding automatically. Integrated security would seriously take SASE, and your business IT network, to the next level.