Unpacking the Fundamental Elements of Sase Secure Access Service Edge

Modern businesses must allow employees to work from anywhere with a fast and reliable internet connection. Using SASE provides an “as a service” framework that scales network and security with business growth while keeping costs low.

Unifying SD-WAN networking and embedded security capabilities deliver a cloud-first approach with application quality assurance, intrinsic security, and operational simplicity. Explore these five core components to find out how you can make SASE work for you:


SD-WAN combines networking and security capabilities into a single-as-a-service tool to simplify network operations, reduce IT complexity, provide a least-privileged model, ensure consistent policy enforcement, and deliver an excellent user experience. It also helps organizations meet digital transformation goals by breaking down siloes, eliminating costly Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) lines, and allowing for faster adoption of cloud and IoT applications.

Leading SASE platforms include a global network backbone to optimize performance, reducing latency and routing traffic to a POP closest to the source application, cloud, or branch office. It provides a better user experience and reduces security threats, such as man-in-the-middle interceptions and spoofing.

SASE solutions also offer Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) to secure remote access to an organization’s data, apps, and services based on identity rather than physical location or IP address. It allows for granular access control and protection for mobile users, IoT devices, and branches. It lets network and security teams shift time and resources from maintenance tasks to strategic projects. Moreover, it eliminates the need for VPNs and other outdated technologies.

Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA)

Zero trust network access (ZTNA) enables users to connect directly to applications without first passing through the company’s security gateway. Its granular application access control and network segmentation significantly reduce the business’ attack surface, making it a good choice for businesses embracing cloud environments and hybrid or remote working.

In agent-based ZTNA, a software agent on the user’s device sends their security context to the solution, which prompts the user for authentication. The device is then granted connectivity to the application, which hides infrastructure from public discovery and allows only limited user access.

A ZTNA solution can be deployed on-premise or as a service. Organizations can deploy it as a standalone product or integrate it into their SD-WAN, SWG, CASB, and FWaaS solutions. When purchased as a service, the maintenance responsibility lies with the vendor and can simplify the deployment process. It can also provide greater flexibility and scalability, but organizations should ensure that their chosen solution supports the core SASE components.

Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB)

CASBs provide deep visibility into cloud application usage within a network and are designed to address the security challenges associated with the uncontrolled use of SaaS applications. They help companies identify and classify applications, monitor cloud application usage, and automatically analyze risk factors to detect and remediate threats.

Unlike a traditional firewall, which protects data in motion, CASBs are positioned in line to intercept all traffic and enforce policies for data in use or at rest. They rely on encryption and tokenization, monitoring and alerting, device posture profiling, and other advanced technologies to establish data-centric protection and control in the cloud.

Many CASBs offer advanced malware detection and prevention capabilities leveraging their global research, threat feeds, or third-party integrations. They also deploy granular policies for access control to specific services and apps by user, role, device, location, and other contextual parameters.

A CASB is one element of a broader SASE architecture that converges networking and security functions to secure a hybrid work environment flexibly. A complete SASE solution typically integrates a CASB, next-generation firewall (NGFW), web application firewall, and secure web gateway into a single solution to unify the network and security.

Firewall as a Service (FWaaS)

Firewall as a Service (FWaaS) removes firewall functionality from hardware and moves it to the cloud. It’s a great alternative to maintaining hardware firewalls, as it eliminates the need for IT teams to perform constant updates and manage multiple systems. Instead, a firewall as a service provider like Securus Communications handles all upgrades and adjustments, freeing up in-house resources and allowing security teams to focus on strategic initiatives.

FWaaS is also better equipped to protect remote workers than traditional NGFWs. With FWaaS, connections from remote mobile workforces and branch offices are automatically protected when connecting to the internet or company cloud apps.

Additionally, FWaaS is quick to deploy and set up for organizations. With a centralized management console, cybersecurity teams can establish uniform policies immediately and spot anomalies in real time. FWaaS provides an easy-to-use interface similar to the firewall configuration interfaces that cybersecurity teams are already familiar with. This unified design enables complete visibility and security across the in-house and remote network. The cloud-based FWaaS architecture allows IT teams to view all WAN and internet traffic as a single logical network.

Global Network Backbone

While some SASE solutions combine multiple disjointed point products into a product suite, the best-performing platforms unify networking and security functions as a single service. That reduces management complexity and costs, delivers a least-privileged model, ensures consistent policy enforcement, and improves security and performance for enterprise networks.

Rerouting traffic back to centralized data centers is no longer practical with the rise of remote users, software-as-a-service applications and cloud services, and distributed work initiatives. SASE solves this by bringing network and security controls to the network’s edge. That means secure, anytime, anywhere access for your distributed workforce.

Cato, for example, has a global network of points of presence (PoPs) that deliver a seamless, fast user experience. Unlike hosted SASE solutions that send your traffic to a separate compute location, the Cato PoPs use multitenant software managed in the same data center as your data. That eliminates latency and reduces the cost of network and security services. Plus, the 1:1 ratio of PoPs to computing locations reduces network overhead. That translates into lower hardware, maintenance, and licensing costs for your organization.


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