Evolving and emerging enterprises depend less and less on private data centers, instead opting for all the cloud has to offer. Why? Because its inherent remote control grants IT professionals overlord status of their networks. But there are some problems to this scenario that need to be solved first, which is where SASE comes in.
So, what does SASE stand for? “Sassy” is an acronym for the term Secure Access Service Edge. But what does SASE mean? We’ll tell you, but we won’t stop there. When you’re through here, you’ll know SASE’s pros and cons and when it’s a good time to use it—and how to impress everyone at the next C-level meeting with your new knowledge about Meraki.
Shall we begin? First stop: What is SASE anyway?
What Is SASE and What Can It Do?
In short, SASE is a network architecture that combines SD-WAN, cloud security, and zero-trust network access into a simplified cloud service. Its purpose is to make SD-WAN deployment more simple, efficient, and secure. Additionally, it provides appropriate bandwidth for each application, can easily be scaled up or down, and is only billed based on usage.
Meraki’s SASE solution was created to solve problems, such as those related to performance and security. To accomplish this, it relies on three main components:
- Cloud security
- Zero-trust network access
Simple enough. Now let’s go a little deeper into each of these three components of SASE.
SASE and SD-WAN
Like we said, Meraki’s SASE solution was created to solve problems, including undermining cloud performance by backhauling traffic for security inspection. This is expensive, time-consuming, and requires skills your company may lack. However, not performing this important task negatively affects the mobile user’s network experience.
SD-WAN provides SASE with the building blocks it needs to predict user experience while still providing a seamless, multi-cloud architecture.
SASE and Cloud Security
Now for the part where we tell you about SASE’s capabilities with cloud security. SASE is a service that enforces tailored security policies based on four factors:
- The connecting entity’s identity
- The health, behavior, and sensitivity of the accessed resources
- All compliance and security policies
- A continuous assessment of risk
Based on these factors and the need to manage the security of multiple devices from remote users across distributed locations, SASE relies on:
- Cloud access security brokers
- Cloud secure web gateways
- Firewall-as-a-service (such as Cisco Meraki Firewalls)
- DNS isolation
- Remote browser isolation
SASE and Zero-Trust Network Access
SASE’s third cornerstone component, zero-trust network access, does the following:
- Verifies identities
- Establishes device trust
- Prevents unauthorized network access
- Grants authorized application access
- Contains breaches before they get out of hand
- Limits an attacker’s ability for lateral movement across a network
But that’s not all. It allows your granular enterprise visibility into and control of application and service access. Imagine the power you’ll have right at your fingertips.
The Pros and Cons of SASE
We know you’re busy and don’t have time for a belabored discussion, so let’s cut the chit-chat and get to the point of this section—Meraki SASE’s long list of pros and short list of cons.
SASE’s pros include:
- Better network performance from its built-in private backbone and optimization.
- Higher security based on its at-the-source traffic inspection of every user based on identity.
- Reduced complexity and time from its ability to minimize products and consolidate maintenance.
- Greater flexibility given by its cloud-based infrastructure’s seamless integration and expansion.
- Lower costs due to its reduction of components and vendors.
- Less overhead because IT is freed from updating, patching, and scaling appliances.
- Full threat prevention and data protection with its complete inspection and security policy implementation.
- The only thing innovative about SASE is that it integrates already existing technologies. It doesn’t actually introduce anything we haven’t seen before.
- SASE providers assume IT professionals are okay with giving up the freedom of multisourcing.
- Some SASE vendors lack experience, which can limit their ability to evaluate context.
Use Case Scenarios for SASE
Let’s return to the problems Meraki’s SASE solves, which are both quite relevant and significant in our current working environment.
Connecting Remote Users
If a substantial number of employees are working remotely, your VPN may give you grief. Scaling it is expensive, and centralizing deployment, monitoring, and management is a substantial logistical nightmare.
SASE solves this problem by connecting remote users to nearby PoPs to access what they need securely and without latency.
Optimizing Security and Performance
When an SD-WAN implementation means installing, configuring, and monitoring a staggering number of security appliances, cyberattacks become more likely to succeed.
SASE solves this problem by allowing IT teams to manage both traffic and security with a single eye so the prevention, detection, and mitigation of risks happen right where and when it should.
Learn More About SASE
Soon, we expect SASE adoption to be prioritized by the majority of enterprises for reasons such as:
- Cost savings
- Eliminating complexity
- Reducing vendors
- Lowering risk
Will you choose to push forward with a SASE migration plan, or will you be the one to hold your organization back from progress? It’s your choice, but we suggest you earn your next promotion by having the foresight to be a leader.