Secure Access Service Edge: Is it the solution your IT team is looking for?

Why SASE and why now?

In tech, the use of acronyms proliferates every conversation. And, often to our customer’s chagrin, it’s the same at Cisco. Another day, another acronym.  ZTNA, MPLS, CASB, SDN, SWG – and the list goes on.  But if there is one acronym that needs to be on every IT organization’s must-have security and networking strategy list—it is SASE. Like all new technologies, it takes time for IT teams to fully understand the implications and nuances associated with creating a roadmap for adoption. That’s why we thought it would be valuable to create a special edition of the 2022 Global Networking Trends Report focused purely on SASE – Special Edition: The State of SASE.

Secure access service edge (SASE) is an architectural model that converges networking and security functions in the cloud to deliver secure access to public cloud and on-premises applications, anytime and anywhere.

Figure 1. SASE architecture overview

But why is there such an added emphasis now on securing access to cloud-based applications when cloud-based apps have been maturing for well over a decade?  Two words – hybrid work. SASE has been pushed to the forefront because IT teams need to support an anywhere, everywhere multicloud access strategy for their multicloud applications to empower their remote workforces.

However, enabling a secure anywhere multicloud access strategy brings new challenges.  The traditional perimeter security topology worked well when most applications and data resided inside the data center and campus walls.  But now that applications and users are highly distributed with most data being generated outside corporate data centers and depending largely on a perimeter security model – new security risks and performance issues are coming to the surface.

By shifting security to the cloud and tightly integrating it with the network, SASE promises to reduce transport and operating costs, improve network flexibility and performance, and move the security closer to users and applications.  SASE provides high-quality and consistent user experiences that are intended to connect and protect their teams no matter where they are located.

Taking the first step 

When looking at how your organization should adopt SASE, it is important to look at it as a journey instead of a quick fix. One needs to assess overarching business and IT strategies and priorities already in place and outline next steps. The right SASE model and journey is unique to every organization. Each has different existing investments, operational models, critical initiatives, regulatory demands, mergers and acquisitions, supply chain operations, and business resilience requirements that must be considered. Whether starting with security or the network, it is important for IT teams to adopt a strategic planning approach that will incrementally build towards a complete SASE architecture over time.

Source: Cisco

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