Modernize Your Security Architecture with SASE
Written by S Sreekumar, VP and Global Practice Head, Infra & Cloud Security, Cybersecurity & GRC Services, HCLTech and Nicole Scheffler, Director of SASE Solutions, Palo Alto Networks.
Hybrid and remote working are now the norm, making it critical for organizations to provide secure access to the data, tools, and resources employees need to do their job wherever they choose to work. Legacy technologies don’t provide the level of security and access control organizations need to combat today’s sophisticated and deliberate cyberattacks.
Enterprises must modernize their security solutions to defend against cyber threats and attacks in a world where work is an activity, not a place. Research shows that cybercriminals can infiltrate up to 93% of company networks. This is where a secure access service edge (SASE) solution can help.
Why Enterprises should Adopt SASE
SASE represents a paradigm shift from the traditional structure—where networking and security are two separate disciplines—to a unified approach in which security and connectivity are converged. It is an emerging cybersecurity architecture that provides Software-Defined Wide-Area Networking (SD-WAN), Firewall as a Service (FWaaS), Secure Web Gateway (SWG), Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB), and Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) into a single, cloud-delivered service model which converges different security capabilities.
Because it’s cloud-based, SASE enables a more dynamic network that adapts to changing business requirements and an evolving threat landscape. This approach radically simplifies network management and protection. Rather than establishing a perimeter around the data center using a collection of security appliances, SASE transforms the perimeter into a set of cloud-based capabilities that can be deployed where and when they’re needed.
By adopting a SASE architecture, organizations can reduce network complexity by consolidating multiple vendor point solutions onto a single, cloud-delivered platform with management through a single pane of glass. This helps to reduce the IT workload and hiring costs.
Use Cases: How SASE fits into your day-to-day business operations
Organizational leaders need modern-day technology that works. SASE enables a multitude of use cases that protects a hybrid workforce:
1. VPN Replacement/Workforce Transformation
VPNs have served as the primary vehicle for securely connecting users to protected network resources for the past two decades. Unfortunately, VPNs were not designed for rapid scalability or application-level access. As many organizations have since learned, a limited number of VPNs will quickly devolve into a traffic bottleneck and inadvertently deliver too much access to those employees who can gain access. Conversely, scalability and application rather than network-level access are foundational aspects of what a SASE approach enables. SASE solution enables identity-based authentication and secure remote access for all users, wherever they’re located, with the flexibility and scalability to easily address changes in
user numbers, offices, or workplace designations
2. Edge Computing & IoT
In the coming decade, some of the most exciting innovations, from smart cities and autonomous vehicles to telehealth, will be enabled by a new generation of IoT devices installed at the network edge and beyond. While the promises of these connected things are compelling, they are also notoriously insecure. As a result, these devices have become attractive targets for threat actors. These multi-directional communications devices still provide IT teams with little to no visibility. With SASE, when an IoT device connects to the network, it becomes instantly visible in the cloud admin panel, allowing IT admins to enforce access policies and privileges dynamically.
3. WAN Modernization
Conventional perimeter-based security schemes were not designed to meet the demands of today’s cloud-first reality. For CIOs intent on achieving key strategic priorities such as cloud adoption and digital transformation, they have also come to appreciate that in order to do so, they must first modernize their wide area network to become software defined. An SD-WAN platform automatically identifies and classifies application traffic at the network edge and effectively segregates and secures it from other traffic on the network. By leveraging a SASE approach, IT teams can transform their WAN to provide direct, secure access to applications and services across a multi-cloud environment with great performance and resiliency.
4. Performance Assurance
Legacy networks were originally built for applications and data that never left the secure confines of corporate data centers. As these services expand beyond the network perimeter, ensuring peak performance of critical applications and services makes an already tough job even more challenging. Since SASE is deployed as a location-agnostic architecture, IT organizations can quickly shift their PoP exchanges and place them closer to familiar traffic sources and destinations. Fewer hops can mean lower network latency, better performance, and fewer opportunities for network traffic exploitation by threat actors.
5. Alleviate Operational Complexity
The increased complexity of operating in a hybrid, multi-cloud world makes it extremely difficult to manage performance efficiently. This is why simplification and security are two core principles driving today’s network modernization initiatives. By combining multiple security functions into a single, cloud-native service, a SASE approach can establish greater control by centralizing management capabilities, meaning fewer stand-alone point solutions that your IT staff must continuously tune and troubleshoot.
6. Cloud Adoption & Migration
The security controls that have become commonplace inside the data center were not built to meet the dynamic and distributed nature of modern multi-cloud environments. As a result, multiple point solutions have emerged to plug the cloud security gaps, including cloud access security broker (CASB) technologies to secure SaaS traffic and secure web gateway (SWG) technologies to secure web traffic. And as with any new solution, each must be carefully configured and managed, leading to additional complexity and potential risks. A SASE approach can accelerate application adoption and migration efforts by offering security services from a unified framework, applying consistent security policies to users regardless of location, and managing from a single console.
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