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SASE: The new wave of securing the enterprise

03 Nov 2020

Article by Bitglass CTO Anurag Kahol.
 

As the rate at which users, devices, apps, and data are moving off-premises accelerates, remote work, personal device access and cloud application usage continue to increase.

This provides the flexibility and access that companies need to adapt and survive in today’s trying times. Unfortunately, legacy network security solutions built around on-premises architectures cannot support the evolving demands placed on IT.

So how can organisations ensure that data, employees and their businesses are secure?

Secure access services edge (SASE) offerings are security platforms designed for this new business world. With comprehensive and consistent security, SASE offerings are indispensable for the modern enterprise.
 

What do SASE platforms offer?

SASE is the consolidation of various network and cloud security solutions; most notably, the integration of cloud access security broker (CASB), zero trust network access (ZTNA), and secure web gateway (SWG) technologies. This integration grants organisations data and threat protection for any interaction. Below are four core functionality sets of SASE offerings.

Visibility over data

Visibility is critical when it comes to corporate data and user activity. Without it, companies are in the dark about which documents are being shared, as well as which activities represent data leakage threats.

Furthermore, comprehensive visibility enables organisations to identify and document the movement of regulated data patterns to prove they are safe in the cloud, on the web, and in on-premises resources. This is critical for demonstrating regulatory compliance.

Data loss prevention (DLP)

Corporate data must be controlled in a context-aware fashion, as it is vital that confidential information does not end up in the wrong hands. Granular DLP policies identify sensitive data to protect data at rest within SaaS and on-premises applications, stop leakage at access and prevent exfiltration through the web.

Identity and access management (IAM)

Authenticating users is the first step towards intelligent, context-oriented security. Single sign-on (SSO) tools serve as the sole point of authentication across all managed applications, while multi-factor authentication (MFA) requires a second form of identity verification like an SMS token sent via text. 

IAM protects companies as well as their employees from malicious parties trying to hijack their accounts.  

Threat protection

As cyber-criminals are continually changing their attack methods, organisations must be able to respond. 

SASE platforms block known and zero-day malware at upload, at download, and at rest, and block access to malicious web destinations designed for malware infections and phishing schemes. Additionally, they can identify and halt insider threats stemming from disgruntled or careless users, as well as hackers that gained access to employee credentials.
 

Is SASE the right choice?

Individually, CASB, ZTNA and SWG provide varying degrees of the above protections. However, today’s advanced threat climate calls for complete, integrated security rather than partial or disjointed protections. Organisations that are deciding if SASE works for their company should consider: 

The expanding attack surface

Hackers show no signs of slowing down as data breaches and security incidents continue to rise. 

Unfortunately, employees may willfully or unknowingly upload malware or expose sensitive data in on-premises, web, and cloud resources, from managed, personal, and remote devices. 

Organisations that lack security across their attack surface should consider implementing SASE as it provides visibility, DLP, IAM, threat protection, and more on any interaction.

Security budgets

Due to the pandemic impacting businesses and the economy, organisations’ security budgets are likely to be less than IT, and security professionals might like. 

In fact, global security spending’s projected growth rate dropped from 8.7% to 2.4% in 2020. Companies with constrained budgets would benefit from SASE offerings that can be used to replace multiple standalone tools.

Unified, manageable security

Companies with smaller or bandwidth-constrained IT teams likely need integrated security rather than partial protections. 

SASE simplifies the IT landscape by replacing disjointed point products that the IT team would otherwise have to purchase, manage, and update individually; not to mention the integration challenges that arise when products don’t play nicely with one another. 

A single platform that provides broad and consistent security coverage through a single set of policies and a single dashboard can save significant amounts of time.
 
The way we work has shifted dramatically, and enterprise security and business continuity must keep pace. Fortunately, SASE platforms are up to the challenge. 

As data has moved off-premises and beyond the reach of legacy, on-premises-only tools like firewalls, SASE platforms are the ideal way to ensure comprehensive, consistent security in today’s work environments.