What is Secure Access Service Edge (SASE)?

Network connectivity is critical for businesses spanning multiple locations. If you haven’t looked into what SASE can do for its network performance and security, you should. This article will detail what is SASE and how it can help your company.


August 29, 2023

Improving Your Network

Finding the most effective tools and services for connectivity, network security, and optimization of your corporate operations is essential to your ongoing success in the competitive marketplace. Investing in secure access service edge (SASE — pronounced “sassy”) implementations can often be a cost-effective and practical approach to managing many of the most important elements of your company’s technological operations. Here are some of the basics of secure access service edge technologies and some guidance on how they can help your company achieve better security in the modern online environment.

SASE Defined

Gartner defines SASE as a service that combines network and security into one integrated package. According to Gartner‘s SASE definition, these integrated services are designed to provide cybersecurity and networking support for on-premises employees, remote workers, and branch offices to deliver reliable connectivity with minimal latency.

In practical terms, SASE brings together many of the most important security capabilities and cloud services to create an integrated software-as-a-service (SaaS) package. This convergence of cloud-delivered security services and networking tools can facilitate digital transformation for your company while providing scalability and access control for your apps and data.

In short, SASE is the future of network security.

Understanding the Key Components of SASE

SASE architecture consists of your corporate applications, users, data, devices, and the access controls that are in place to manage interactions between these elements of your corporate activities. In general, SASE solutions are designed to provide integration and interoperability between these key components of your private network architecture:

  • Software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) implementations have been cited by Forbes Magazine as one of the keys to digital transformation and resilience in the business community. SD-WAN solutions often replace multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) and VPN functions to provide enhanced security functions. Because SD-WAN implementations are cloud-native, they can provide seamless access and routing to your on-site employees, cloud data centers, branch offices, and remote users throughout your organization.
  • Secure web gateway (SWG) technologies deliver SASE cybersecurity protections against malware and other threats to your company’s data and apps. By managing and monitoring network traffic in real-time, SWG implementations can prevent malicious applications and malware from gaining a foothold in your corporate networks and systems.
  • A cloud access security broker (CASB) is defined by Microsoft as a security policy enforcement point that integrates encryption, authentication, credential mapping, detection of malware, and other threats to your corporate networks and confidential data. This can mitigate risks to your company’s cloud-based assets while providing ongoing reporting and monitoring for all activities taking place in the cloud.
  • Zero trust network access (ZTNA) solutions apply robust security policies to remote access requests. This can allow secure and reliable connections to your organization’s data, applications, and services while reducing risks to your company’s digital assets, apps, and data. By providing secure connections for remote users, ZTNA can deliver superior security options for businesses operating with a hybrid workforce.
  • Firewall-as-a-service (FWaaS) solutions position a next-generation firewall (NGFW) between your network and the outside world. Your NGFW will analyze all network traffic and filter out malicious or unknown traffic. This can provide added protection from zero-day threats and known security issues. Your FWaaS installation serves as your first line of defense against cybersecurity threats that could affect the performance of your networks or the safety of your corporate data.

Each of these components works together in your SASE architecture to provide a comprehensive approach to network security functions and connectivity for your business. Investing in a SASE solution can often streamline these processes and help you focus on your company’s core business concerns.

How SASE Works

By merging cybersecurity and network management into one SaaS package, SASE solutions move these security functions away from your data centers and into the edge of the cloud. With this one simple change, you can eliminate the need for VPNs for remote users. Your SASE architecture can expand the perimeter of your network to encompass remote users while providing superior security for your apps, data, and systems.

Continuous risk monitoring and robust threat protections provided by your CASB and ZTNA are all part of the package for SASE implementations. You can expect improved connectivity, reduced latency, and a lower risk of cybersecurity incidents when using SASE for your corporate networks.

The Benefits of SASE

Understanding the benefits of use for a SASE implementation can help you determine if these advanced networking and cybersecurity packages are the right choice for your company. Some of the most important advantages of the SASE model over  traditional networks are explained here:

  • Enhanced security: Because SASE integrates security functions with network infrastructure, it can provide real-time protection against emerging threats as well as known vulnerabilities. Your SASE model will be managed by a company specializing in these advanced security systems. SASE is cloud-native, which can also provide an added layer of protection against malware and malicious attacks against your networks and your corporate data.
  • Improved access control: Integrating security and network access through SASE can also improve the ability of your remote users and branch offices to access data and applications securely. Positioning your SASE package at the cloud perimeter eliminates VPN requirements and ensures that every access point is monitored and protected against malware and unauthorized intrusion.
  • Lower costs for cybersecurity: SASE typically reduces the need for third-party services. By integrating all security, access control, and network management tools into one platform, SASE can help you manage your IT budget more efficiently.
  • Better network speeds and performance: Because SASE handles routing and connectivity more efficiently, it can reduce latency and improve the user experience for those who access your systems on-premises or from remote locations and branch offices. The SD-WAN component of your SASE platform can ensure easier access and faster performance for remote users and streamline access to vital resources in your data center.

For modern companies, upgrading to SASE technologies can have a positive impact on productivity while protecting vital information and applications against cyber threats. By working with a company that specializes in intelligent SD-WAN and SASE implementations, you can ensure the best protection and access for your company’s networks and systems.

Challenges of Implementing SASE

When considering SASE for your company, you should also review some of the challenges that can occur during the implementation of these advanced technological packages. Some of the most common challenges faced by companies in their SASE implementation are listed here:

  • Scalability of network infrastructure can present real issues for some companies with existing network architecture. Because SASE is usually implemented on a SaaS basis, the need for scalability can sometimes be mitigated by working with a provider that offers managed IT services and cloud computing options for corporate partners.
  • Interoperability is a key benefit of SASE. Making sure that your service provider offers integrated and interoperable systems is essential for your company’s success with these advanced networking and cybersecurity technologies.
  • Resistance to change is often a real barrier to success with SASE. Entrenched attitudes toward infrastructure and processes can make it more difficult for companies to adjust to the streamlined workflows and the integrated nature of cloud-native SASE architecture.
  • Data loss prevention (DLP) requires advanced and intelligent cybersecurity measures. Choosing a SASE service provider with extensive experience in cloud security is important to ensure the best protection for your data and your network.
  • Optimization of network traffic and bandwidth is one of the most important benefits of SASE. Faster page loads and improved performance for your apps can have a positive effect on your company’s productivity and reputation in the public arena. Working with a trusted partner to implement SASE is the best way to ensure your company enjoys these key benefits of network optimization.
  • Implementation of robust security policies is necessary to ensure the best SASE cybersecurity. This can sometimes require the assistance of security specialists to train staff and to provide assistance in creating policies for your organization.
  • Internet of Things (IoT) integrations sometimes require tweaking to work properly with SASE and prevent security gaps that could affect your networks. Your service provider will identify and inventory all IoT devices to ensure they are properly protected and connected to your networks.
  • Service provider support and skillsets can vary significantly. Choosing the right service provider for your company is the key to success in managing all aspects of your SASE implementation.

Meriplex can help you navigate SASE cybersecurity and provide you with guidance and security solutions designed to assist you in your company’s digital transformation. We are here to help you enjoy the benefits of SASE now and in the future.

Meriplex Can Provide SASE Solutions for You

At Meriplex, we offer an array of services that include intelligent SD-WAN implementations, connectivity solutions, managed detection and response for security threats, cloud security and infrastructure, managed IT services, and security awareness training. We provide reliable solutions and the best support for our clients while improving their security posture. If you need innovative IT services and solutions, Meriplex is the right partner for your current and future information technology needs.

We can design a SASE implementation that is precisely right for your needs and offers enhanced access controls and improved connectivity for your organization. To learn more about our services, contact us today. The Meriplex team is here to help you with forward-thinking solutions for a brighter and more productive tomorrow.