In 2022, nearly 60% of U.S. workers (whose work can be done remotely) work from home all or most of the time. Remote work coupled with the explosion of apps, APIs, devices and Internet of Things (IoT) shows us no organization can afford to think about the perimeter in yesterday’s terms anymore.

SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) is a compelling response to the new perimeter-less world. In essence, SASE is a cloud-native security solution that provides seamless and secure access to any application from any location or device. SASE converges security with wide area network (WAN) infrastructure.

Over the past few years, SASE has gained major industry traction. It is now considered a vital approach to secure access to apps from anywhere. This is very relevant to today’s hybrid work world. So what’s going on with SASE in 2022?

What is SASE?

SASE is a framework that converges network services to speed up digital business, serve as a foundation for zero trust security and protect users and devices as they access resources anytime, anywhere.

With SASE, software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) converges with cloud-delivered network security technologies, such as cloud access security broker, firewall-as-a-service and zero trust network access. And it’s all bundled into a single, cloud-delivered service model.

Why choose SASE now?

The pandemic thrust new challenges upon businesses and security teams. The return to the office has been messy as many opt for hybrid options. Past ideas about the perimeter have become obsolete. Meanwhile, the conflict in Ukraine has produced the side effect of increased cyber attacks worldwide. Then there are new challenges related to social engineering, ransomware, cryptocurrency and NFTs.

Today, we encounter a security landscape that continues to increase in severity and complexity. At the same time, all this unfolds in the context of a tight labor market. It’s clear that we need new offerings to fill the gap. Let’s break down some key benefits provided by SASE that address the challenges we face now.

Hybrid workforce support

The move to the hybrid work model began prior to 2020 since it made sense for business and lifestyle demands. Remote access from any device for employees and third parties makes work more efficient. SASE helps protect and safeguard network access and enables centralized and consistent access management to apps. This means rather than fighting against remote work, SASE helps you leverage it.

SASE can provide a network access solution based on zero trust methods which can replace VPN connectivity. This improves protection and supports faster, seamless user experiences. The result is a flexible and scalable cloud-delivered access solution that can adapt to employees working in and out of the office.

Third-party access and M&A

To move ahead, organizations can no longer work in a connectivity bubble. SASE enables organizations to define and extend internal workforce policies to contractors and third-party users. For example, zero trust requires the same level of authentication and offers visibility and control over who can see sensitive data and resources. Organizations can also set up specific policies by type of user, group and application.

Threat actors take advantage of stolen credentials and weaponized APIs to infiltrate networks, and machines ask for access faster and at higher volumes than humans. The vast sprawl of automated applications and APIs also require authentication. Through zero trust measures, SASE enables safer access — for humans and machines — without trading for performance.

In a similar manner, SASE can help deploy integrated access management using existing identity provider solutions. This can also be extended to other companies involved in a merger or acquisition. The result is faster access and transition for employees from both sides.

Network transformation

Changing a network from a traditional model to a cloud-based framework is part of an overall SASE implementation strategy. It’s also critical for digital transformation. The goal is to provide lower latency, cost savings and a cloud-delivered network security structure.

At its core, SASE improves consistency within operations through convergence. It simplifies centralized networking policy control with a zero trust approach. This brings context across users, devices, locations and networks. This approach is essential to not only navigate the new perimeter-less reality but to embrace it. SASE scales remote access infrastructure capacity, reduces latency that comes from a growing hybrid workforce and consolidates and decommissions legacy technologies.

Even 5G, IoT protection and support efforts benefit from SASE. It can help enable edge computing to receive branch-to-cloud protection, and it can be used to integrate edge computing security. This in turn further enables other business drivers such as IoT and 5G.

Converting to a secure, cloud-based framework opens up a wide range of innovative possibilities. For example, one could imagine financial institutions offering cryptocurrency exchange services in addition to traditional banking services, all from a single portal. With SASE these types of initiatives can be explored with the peace of mind that security will be extended along with new services.

Scarcity of security talent

Qualified security professionals have never worked harder. With SASE, a reduced number of unintegrated tools in the IT and security stack make up for limited technical on-site resources. This helps support and secure critical business applications. With fewer tool requirements, companies reduce the cost of hiring experts. It also takes the burden off overworked IT teams.

The demand for new security talent remains high, but the job market is tighter than ever. Selecting a managed security provider to manage a SASE solution can alleviate the skills gap even more. By extending your security team with a strategic cybersecurity provider you also save time, since quality providers have resources ready to deploy. While the transition to a full SASE architecture takes time, an experienced provider can make the move easier.

Prepare for future threats and opportunities

The current risk landscape presents new challenges for organizations worldwide. In every crisis, leaders emerge to embrace new solutions to meet threats. Leaders also leverage solutions into new advantages. SASE is one such offering that promises to transform the modern digital enterprise. For that, 2022 is just the beginning.

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