29 Jul 2022
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SASE & Edge Computing 101

Secure access service edge, or SASE (pronounced “sassy”), is a cybersecurity architecture concept.

Coined by Gartner analysts Neil MacDonald and Joe Skorupa, SASE is super fun to say—from a technical standpoint, anyway. Gartner first described SASE in the August 2019 report The Future of Network Security Is in the Cloud and expanded upon it in their 2021 Strategic Roadmap for SASE Convergence. SASE provides a definition of the architecture requirements for SD-WAN and cloud security, enabling users at the edge to connect to applications and data from the office, the home, and anywhere in between.

What Characteristics Make SASE Architecture Unique?

Cloud-native architecture, convergence of networking & security, global network backbone, and simplified IT management. By converging network and security, SASE can provide organizations with a holistic solution network that older security appliances alone cannot.

Why Is SASE Architecture on the Rise?

Two reasons: devices and data.

Our world is made up of billions of interconnected devices, called the Internet of Things (IoT), and all the users of these devices want to be instantly connected—and this is what makes edge computing crucial. While a single device producing data can transmit it across a network quite easily, things get very complicated when the number of devices transmitting data at the same time grows.

Each device generates mountains of data. Rather than relying on a central location that can be thousands of miles away, edge computing puts servers closer to users. This is done so that data, especially real-time data, does not suffer latency issues that can affect an application’s performance. In addition, companies can save money by having the processing done locally, reducing the amount of data that needs to be sent to a centralized or cloud-based location. Instead of one video camera transmitting live footage, multiply that by hundreds or thousands of devices. Not only will quality suffer due to latency, but the bandwidth costs can be astronomical.

Rise of Mobile

SASE is driven by the rise of mobile, edge, and cloud computing in the enterprise at the expense of the LAN and corporate data centre. As users, applications and data move out of the enterprise data centre to the cloud and network edge. Moving security and WAN to the edge as well is necessary to minimize latency and performance issues.

Edge & Cloud Computing

Gartner defines edge computing as “a part of a distributed computing topology in which information processing is located close to the edge—where things and people produce or consume that information.”

At its most basic level, edge computing brings computation and data storage closer to the devices where it’s being gathered, bringing it closer to the end users. The cloud computing model is meant to delegate and simplify delivery of SD-WAN and security functions to multiple edge computing devices and locations.

Need for Greater Security

Have you heard of zero trust? A huge driver of adoption for this approach has been the rise of remote work. The primary reasons have been to reduce the risk of remote work and insider threats, mitigate third-party risk, and manage cloud risk. Our networks are vulnerable and the emergence of a “trust nobody” attitude is inevitable. Different security functions may also be applied to different connections and sessions from the same entity, whether SaaS applications, social media, data centre applications, or personal banking.

It’s intended to protect users from threats wherever they work, helping companies and organizations give the right access level to those applications and data.

The WAN Evolution & How SD-WAN and NaaS Relate to SASE

As we explained in a recent blog post, NaaS can help you evolve towards a more secure architecture model.

Both SD-WAN and NaaS enable an easy shift to SASE. SASE is an architecture, NaaS is a complete service package for operating networking without owning physical infrastructure. Key components to establish SASE include software-defined WAN (SD-WAN), cloud access security broker (CASB), NGFW and firewall-as-a-service (FWaaS), zero trust network access (ZTNA), and secure web gateways (SWG).

While the data shows that SD-WAN adoption is growing, many IT leaders are realizing that SD-WAN alone can’t bring the complete WAN transformation they want. Despite the cost and agility benefits of SD-WAN, enterprises that adopted SD-WAN appliances were consistently let down by their networks after digital transformation.

With more people working from home and higher demand on enterprise networks and technology, we are poised for a few years of experimentation. How will you keep up with the latest advancements? We look forward to sharing more about SD-WAN, SASE, and NaaS to help you implement amazing technology to propel your business forward.

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