To increase their cyber resilience, drive digital transformation and at the same time ensure secure remote working, more and more companies are opting for the Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) architecture concept. However, the implementation requires thorough preparation of the network architecture and security measures to prevent later additional work and follow-up costs.
The SASE framework integrates network and security performance into a single architecture, bringing together cloud-native security technologies such as Zero Trust, Firewall as a Service (FWaaS), and Secure Web Gateways (SWGs) with WAN technology. This makes it possible to securely connect users, applications and systems regardless of location without compromising user experience, performance and connectivity for businesses or end users.
However, as promising as the benefits of SASE may sound, they can be quickly negated by poor implementation. For SASE adoption to go as smoothly as possible, organizations must first understand how well their infrastructure is prepared for the technology.
Where The SASE Journey Starts
Before companies can implement SASE, they must determine which devices will be secured. These can only be computers, mobile devices, or all devices that connect to the company network. Once this question has been answered, the security teams responsible have two approaches to implementing SASE.
One of the approaches is to enable functions for employees as soon as they are outside the protected company environment, i.e. in the home office or on the road. It is essential that – when working with mobile phones or laptops – Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) and secure web gateways are implemented as a matter of principle. This is the only way to ensure that SASE can guarantee high network performance, maximum security and complete transparency across all devices connected to the network.
The second approach involves the nationwide enforcement of software-defined wide area networks (SD-WAN) and implementing a zero-trust strategy based on this. The latter is a security concept based on the principle of not trusting any device, user or service inside or outside your network and enforcing user authentication. The combination of SD-WAN, a well-defined approach, and Zero Trust also provides organizations with sufficient visibility and control to prepare for SASE implementation.
In principle, companies can, of course, implement both approaches simultaneously, provided their security situation requires this.
Keep An Eye On Your Security Situation
Another prerequisite for successful SASE implementation is evaluating the company’s security situation. For this purpose, those responsible for security must have an overview of all the guidelines and protective measures used in the company. If you know where necessary access controls have been implemented sufficiently or where improvements still need to be made, the transition to SASE is much easier.
In practice, the security teams must have a list of all the applications used by the workforce, including their providers. Based on this list, you can then check how many applications to access can be controlled in principle. The first thing to do is to use an appropriate audit to filter which applications are outside the network or off the grid. The latter are applications for which IT teams cannot provide security. It is then checked which applications the company’s employees use. Those responsible are faced with the challenge of precisely checking whether the workforce is only using the applications and documents approved by the IT teams,
Finally, once a company has an overview of which applications need to be secured, it’s time to look at the hardware.
The Importance Of Hardware Neutrality
The fact is that many companies have yet to renew their hardware inventories in recent years. It is common for outdated or outdated hardware to be used that does not support a SASE implementation. If this is the case, it is essential to recognize this early in the process to avoid being confronted with additional work later. This could give management or the board the impression that the SASE project is significantly more resource intensive than it is.
The SASE preparation process, therefore, includes an accurate inventory of what hardware already exists in the organization as an anchor point and what type of hardware is involved, including mobile devices. It is also essential to understand the types of multi-cloud environments deployed. If it becomes clear that the hardware landscape needs to be refreshed, choosing an infrastructure that offers complete flexibility is necessary. Because to be able to benefit from the advantages of SASE in the long term, companies must be able to use the same SASE platform throughout the network.
With the hardware issue under control, it’s time to examine the company’s security procedures.
Which Security Measures SASE Requires In Advance
The SASE framework comes with many security benefits. However, for these to be fully implemented, the company must already implement basic security measures.
Among other things, SASE requires encryption to protect transactions and data effectively. Security teams must be able to control sessions and terminate them, if necessary, based on policies with a scalable framework.
SASE offerings must therefore be able to offer encrypted inline traffic control, ideally delivered from the cloud, without the need for dedicated hardware. To ensure a high-quality user experience, SASE solutions need wire-speed encryption capabilities. Because if SASE is not able to provide robust connectivity and high network performance,
Another prerequisite for a successful SASE implementation is the implementation of cross-client segmentation of network traffic. So IT teams need to ensure that each user has their profile, permissions, policies and configurations so they can be isolated. This ensures that the overview of the entire network is preserved.
By implementing SASE, companies hope for higher availability, scalability, cost savings and, above all, more security. If those responsible for network and safety take a few points into account before implementation, they can remove obstacles in good time and benefit more quickly from the advantages.
Also Read: Is It Worth Investing In Cloud Security?