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Is SASE still the future of modern digital security and connectivity?

Posted by Chris McQueen on Sep 28, 2023 12:00:00 AM
Is SASE still the future of modern digital security and connectivity? - Business IT Sheffield

Please noteThis post was written by Highlander prior to their rebrand to FluidOne Business IT - Sheffield.

Businesses today face greater security threats than ever before as operations are increasingly digital and cloud-based – not to mention the accelerated adoption of remote and hybrid working strategies.

It’s no secret that every solution comes with its own set of challenges and, in turn, a rethink of network and security architectures to effectively protect modern distributed environments. With more users, devices and assets outside the traditional network, safeguarding identity and data is paramount. This is where the benefits of Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) really come into play.

The benefits of SASE

As we covered in a previous blog, SASE refers to a converged cloud-native model for networking and security. It brings together multiple capabilities to create a unified service that’s often comprised of five key components:

  • Software-defined WAN (SD-WAN)
  • Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB)
  • Firewall-as-a-Service (FWaaS)
  • Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA)
  • Secure Web Gateways (SWG)

As well as unifying security services, SASE offers flexible, high-performance connectivity that leverages multiple links – no longer relying on traditional MPLS circuits. Its cloud-native nature allows rapid scalability to support digital innovation goals like nothing else. It can reduce the sprawl of security protection measures while simplifying user onboarding and privileges management. Its real-time threat detection is AI/ML powered across endpoints. And most importantly, its zero-trust access control is based on user identity and context – not just IP address – while secure web gateway functionality is integrated into the platform.

SASE also minimises hardware requirements, which tends to reduce security costs while centralising analytics, monitoring, and update management. Moreover, integrated routing can avoid traditional network chokepoints and simplify network complexity.

Common SASE adoption issues

If you’re thinking that all sounds pretty darn fantastic, you’re not alone. However, adopting this increasingly popular approach is not without its challenges. You see, SASE is not just a technology, or even a package of technologies. It integrates traditional IT security and networking disciplines to create a single solution. Common adoption issues include:

  • Immature technology – SASE is still an emerging concept and products are rapidly evolving. As such, there is some inconsistency in the capabilities of available solutions.
  • Fragmented solutions – Many vendors focus on specific SASE components, and integrating multiple point products and architectures can be complex.
  • Lack of skills – Scarcity of integrated skillsets poses a big hurdle, as SASE requires expertise in networking, security, and cloud.
  • Cultural resistance – Moving from legacy MPLS and appliances to cloud-delivered security requires extensive organisational change management.
  • Performance concerns – Latency, reliability and quality of internet transports affect user experience. MPLS still offers predictability.
  • Cloud concerns – Cloud offerings allow less customisation compared to owned infrastructure and can introduce risks around availability and data privacy.
  • Regulation compliance – Data residency and other regulatory requirements may limit SASE adoption in some sectors.
  • Prohibitive costs – Migrating to SASE requires significant investment in tools, services, and network upgrades.

There’s no doubt that overcoming these challenges demands careful planning and governance, but that’s certainly no deterrent for organisations wishing to secure a new, boundaryless enterprise. SASE adoption is surging and, according to Gartner, is projected to reach $15 billion (around £12 billion) by 2025.

Start your SASE adoption on the right foot

If you’re still making sense of various stacks and need guidance from people in the know, get in touch with the experts at Highlander – we’ll work closely with you to make the right choices for your business.

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