What is SASE and How Does it Work?

by Maja Cizmic
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Nowadays, so many businesses rely on applications based in the cloud due to how many people are working remotely. This has caused the need for Network security to skyrocket among companies and service providers – they want more systems in place for safety and for these systems to have synergy to maximize their potential.

Many companies that previously only offered networking solutions are now offering security (including antivirus, IPS, and protection from malware), and many security companies are now offering network solutions.

The crossover between security, networking, and WAN is more important than ever. Furthermore, businesses must begin to recognize how vital network security and networking features are for each other. Network providers must also acknowledge the value of security to meet the needs of their customers.

SASE – What Does it Mean?


SASE stands for ‘Secure Access Service Edge.’ It gets its name from two concepts that have merged in the market: network as a service and network security as a service. SASE is just these two concepts in one. Each of these concepts are made of multiple parts.

Network as a service includes solutions such as WAN optimization, CDN, SD WAN, and carriers. In contrast, security on service includes firewalls, Cloud Secure Web Gateway, DNS WEB Security, and Zero Trust Network Access. All of this combines to become SASE.

The term ‘SASE’ may be unfamiliar to you, but you’ve likely heard of the concepts it’s based upon. The idea of offering security alongside solutions such as SD WAN has been around for a while. Still, businesses have only recently begun to use ‘SASE’ to refer to both as one.

SD WAN overtook MPLS, and SASE may be the next step – network solutions keep on evolving! Currently, many businesses offering SASE as an all-in-one solution seem increasingly common. So it seems likely that SASE will become compatible with many more platforms in the near future.

Why Are Businesses Interested in SASE?

The push for SASE as a single package has many driving forces. Here, we’ll take a look at just a few of them:

Increasing Reliance on Remote Work

remote work

Due to recent events, the amount of people working from home has dramatically increased – and remote working owes most of its success to the internet. With so many more people working remotely, much more of a business’s traffic is now not passing through the datacentre or HQ – meaning the business’s security doesn’t protect it.

Anyone using apps within the business network can use the business VPN’s split-tunneling to have the traffic they need to be sent to them. Still, the ones that aren’t using any apps within the business’s firewall are not connected or protected by the VPN.

Usage of Apps in the Datacentre

Most traffic on a network’s circuits is sent through the datacentre or HQ. Usually, there will be the primary circuits and rarely used backup circuits. 80% of this data does not go on to the wider internet. Instead, it remains to traverse the network. Commonly, as a safety measure, the backup circuit will be connected using the internet if the MPLS system goes down.

However, this meant that most of a company’s apps were not connected to the internet directly, which is where SD WAN came in.

SD WAN’s Incredible Popularity

SD WAN was a fantastic solution for many businesses, as it gave their circuits a direct link to the web – something they didn’t use to have. Now, traffic for applications based in the cloud could be routed directly across the internet, increasing network performance.

SD WAN also meant that traffic used by apps in the data center could use the MPLS system, but the traffic reduction indicated that its bandwidth could be decreased.

SD WAN was so popular as it boosted a network’s performance and helped stop congestion from occurring – but for a network’s data to be safeguarded as it traverses the internet, a high level of security is a must.

Security Gaps

girl coding

The fact that the security is not protecting so much network traffic at the datacentre or HQ has led to large gaps in the safety of the business and the network. SASE, with its Secure Internet Gateway – which can include web security and a cloud-based firewall – allows businesses to rest a little easier.

SASE – What Comes Next?

As mentioned earlier in this article, SASE brings together many different security products and features. With SASE in its current state, this can end up with IT workers being presented with dozens of alerts and notifications.

Furthermore, this can be overwhelming as many of them may lack context. SASE with integrated security can pick up on correlations of signs, providing much-needed context.

Picture the scene – you’ve lost your car keys. You go to check by the front door (the last place you remember seeing them) only to find the front door wide open, with your keys nowhere in sight.

These incidents on their own may not be any cause to worry, but the correlation of them together creates the alarming context that your car may have been stolen! Integrated security pushes SASE further by revealing the correlation instead of the isolated information.

SASE with integrated security, when used right, could detect any security threats and issues and solve the problem by itself.

For instance, phishing scams in emails could be detected, and the sender would be blocked, along with the domain the emails came from – all done automatically! Integrated security means that the future is looking brighter than ever for SASE solutions.

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