What is SASE?

In information security, there is a new term pronounced ‘sassy’ but written as SASE (Secure Service Access Edge).  Gartner depicts SASE as “transformational” which addresses traditional networking being concentrated into the cloud.  Many think this will become standard vernacular in the next 12 months in the cybersecurity world, so we should become familiar.

What is SASE? As we are increasingly ‘connected’ and decentralized due to cloud computing and remote access technologies, it is becoming harder and harder to validate access controls and identity management into all our services, becoming the top attack vector in today’s world. We have all these different identity and access systems, spread across many locations which include business locations, homes, and coffee shops. It’s a nightmare to consistently provide secure access to sensitive data and systems. SASE is meant to address this challenge.


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Gartner describes SASE this way, “The Secure Access Service Edge is an emerging offering combining comprehensive WAN capabilities with comprehensive network security functions to support the dynamic, secure access needs of digital enterprises”.

SASE capabilities are delivered as a service, based upon the identity of the entity, real-time context, enterprise security/compliance policies, and continuous assessment of risk/trust throughout the sessions. Identities of entities can be associated with people, groups of people (branch offices), devices, applications, services, IoT systems, or edge computing locations. The goal of SASE is to take our cloud-based firewalls (FWaaS), software-defined networks (SD-WAN), cloud access service brokers (CASB) and incorporate them all into one zero-trust model.

It can be likened to when we had a firewall, IDS/IPS, proxies and gateway antivirus and someone decided it’d be best to simplify it into one appliance and the layer seven firewalls was born (now referred to as the next-gen firewall.) By taking all these operations and merging them we can simplify and see more clearly our environment to control it.

The following vendors are expected to play a major role in defining this technology and market: Akamai, Cato Networks, Cisco, Cloudflare, Forcepoit, Fortinet, McAfee, Netskope, Palo Alto Networks, Proofpoint, Symantec, Versa, VMware, and Zscaler.

So are you SASE? If you aren’t now, you may be required to be in the future.

Tracy Fox

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