Why SASE matters and what security pros need to know | SC Media
Architecture, Cloud, Strategy

Why SASE matters and what security pros need to know

March 22, 2021
Today’s columnist, Mary Blackowiak of AT&T Cybersecurity, explains what security pros need to know about Gartner’s SASE concept. markhillary CreativeCommons Credit: CC BY 2.0
  • Data centers are no longer the concentration point of the network. Organizations that continue to route all of their network traffic through the data center with legacy hub-and-spoke infrastructure, will find that their networks will become a business inhibitor. Backhauling remote users’ traffic to the data center that’s destined for the cloud produces latency and negatively affects productivity.
  • Identity should determine data access, not the user’s location. The old approach to security was that everyone on the network was trusted and traffic originating from outside the network was scrutinized. In today’s workplace with employees working remotely and conducting business off the network, this method doesn’t work. It’s also reckless to offer open access to anyone on the network because it doesn’t take into account the possibility of insider threats.
  • Businesses should seek out technologies that offer worldwide points of presence and peering relationships. This has become increasingly important as users and applications are more distributed. Creating a point-of- presence geographically near a user facilitates a shorter logical path between them and the resource they are trying to access. This makes employees more productive and lets them accomplish their job duties or tend to customers, as opposed to waiting for applications or web pages to load.
  • Consolidating the number of vendors can reduce management complexity. This becomes especially true when network and security technologies are integrated to share data to offer contextual intelligence and automation or when they are managed through one pane-of-glass.
  • Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN): Today’s modern businesses need more bandwidth and increased network performance to support VoIP, videoconferencing, and cloud-based applications. Many organizations are transforming their network to connect branch offices directly to the internet with low-cost circuits such as broadband and LTE, while retaining MPLS lines for traffic routed to the data center or between sites that require higher levels or reliability and performance. SD-WAN offers centralized visibility of all circuits across locations and facilitates a way to manage data flows. Some benefits of SD-WAN include faster networks, improved resiliency, the ability to prioritize bandwidth to critical applications, and potential cost savings.
  • Firewall-as-a-Service (FWaaS): Since 2007, next-generation firewalls (NGFWs) have been a staple in network security. They protect users and assets located on-premises or connected via VPN against a wide range of modern-day threats. Companies deploy them as a dedicated appliance at either the data center or branch office, a virtual appliance (on-site or hosted in a public cloud), or in the vendor’s/MSSP’s cloud.
  • Zero-Trust Network Access (ZTNA): Coined by Forrester in 2010, Zero Trust runs on the principle of least privilege and specifies that security teams should inspect all traffic, regardless of its origin. Legacy access technologies, such as a VPN, usually gives users access to everything within a network segment. These segments often contain more information than users need and raise the possibility of exposing sensitive information. ZTNA lets administrators grant access to specific applications, by role or user, oftentimes without having to connect to the network.
  • Secure Web Gateway (SWG): Employees browse websites to conduct research and interact with vendors or customers, but also for reasons completely unrelated to their jobs. The protection of a secure web gateway follows users virtually everywhere they are located to help provide that websites employees visit are both safe and appropriate for the workplace.
  • Cloud-Access Security Broker (CASB): CASBs first appeared on the market in 2013. Shadow IT has become a constant concern for security administrators since unsecured applications greatly increase the probability of malware or sensitive data loss. CASB delivers visibility to which SaaS or cloud-based applications are being accessed by users, so appropriate security controls can get applied. Some CASB tools also offer analysis of identified vulnerabilities for particular applications.

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