Distributed IT environments require companies to overcome challenges related to application performance, connectivity and security across multiple physical locations including remote workers’ sites. From migration to the cloud and the shift in the work environment since the pandemic, networking and security teams are faced with increasing complexity. Many companies are addressing these issues through Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) solutions.
Understanding SASE: SASE combines WAN (wide area networking) capabilities, such as software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) with network security to support the needs of a distributed, bandwidth hungry workforce. The features of SASE help counter some of the more common corporate IT challenges while accessible in a utility-based model that rides on cloud principles.
Companies are composed of users, devices and applications that all require access from anywhere to cloud-based services, creating an increasingly complex attack surface. SASE offers both secure access and connectivity to all users, regardless of location, but authorization is granted according to company policies. Part of the draw of SASE is its inherent security functions, including zero trust authentication, user-centric connectivity and performance standards that are all delivered at the edge.
The user or device can access the network from anywhere and SASE delivers high-performance, low-latency secure connectivity.
SSE, a Path to Best-in-Class: More recently, some companies have been accessing Security Service Edge (SSE), a term introduced to describe the separation of security functions from WAN capabilities. This is a strategy sometimes employed by larger enterprises that have distinct security and networking teams as a way to access best-of-breed solutions in each area. But not all enterprises prefer this separation of security and network connectivity.
Small or mid-size companies often prefer SASE because they don’t have separate teams or they don’t have the internal expertise to manage connectivity and security functions. They may be relying on managed services providers to handle SASE and would not want the separation.
Typically, the end goal of most companies is going to be SASE, but finding a single managed services provider that delivers the best of both security and networking is the challenge. That’s why there’s SSE.
Applying Zero Trust: In both SASE and SSE, zero trust network access embraces the idea that the network perimeter no longer exists, so the approach to access must evolve. Instead of assuming users and devices are trustworthy until proven otherwise, zero trust assumes that no user or device is to be trusted. It uses multi-factor authentication and only grants users access to segments of the network they require for their jobs. This segmentation of the network limits access to employees, but also limits the amount of damage an intrusion can cause.
Combining security and networking at the edge may be a good fit for addressing the complexity of connectivity and cyber security in your organization. Contact us at eXemplify to learn more about the benefits that SASE or SSE could offer your team.