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Benefits of a SASE Approach

The traditional workplace has undergone a profound transformation and organizations seeking to secure their hybrid workforce as well as protect their distributed environment beyond the typical perimeter can adopt a SASE approach to cybersecurity.

As technology advances and work environments become increasingly decentralized, many organizations face unique challenges in ensuring the security of their data and networks. An innovative approach that continues to gain significant traction is Secure Access Service Edge (SASE). This comprehensive cybersecurity framework combines networking and security functionalities, offering a strategic solution to protect against a wide range of threats. In this blog post, we'll explore the benefits that a medium-sized organization can realize from adopting a SASE approach to cybersecurity, with a focus on securing the hybrid workforce and protecting hybrid cloud environments.

Securing the Hybrid Workforce

The traditional notion of the workplace has undergone a profound transformation, with remote and hybrid work becoming the new norm. While this shift brings numerous benefits in terms of flexibility and productivity, it also introduces security vulnerabilities that organizations must address. A SASE approach to cybersecurity is particularly well-suited to meet the needs of the hybrid workforce for several reasons: 

  1. 1. Unified Security Policy: With employees accessing company resources from various locations and devices, enforcing a consistent security policy can be challenging. SASE simplifies this process by providing a unified security framework that applies regardless of the user's location or device. This ensures that security policies are consistently enforced across the entire organization, reducing the risk of breaches and compliance violations.
  2. 2. Zero Trust Architecture: In a traditional network architecture, once a user gains access to the corporate network, they often have broad access privileges. This presents a significant security risk, as compromised credentials can result in unauthorized access to sensitive data. SASE leverages a zero trust architecture, which assumes that all users, devices, and applications are untrusted until proven otherwise. By implementing granular access controls based on identity, device health, and other contextual factors, SASE minimizes the attack surface and mitigates the risk of lateral movement by cyber adversaries.
  3. 3. Secure Remote Access: Remote workers rely on secure access to corporate resources to perform their jobs effectively. SASE provides secure remote access solutions, such as virtual private networks (VPNs) and secure web gateways, that encrypt traffic and authenticate users before granting access to sensitive data and applications. This ensures that remote workers can connect to the corporate network securely, regardless of their location or the network they are using.
  4. 4. Cloud-Native Security: As organizations increasingly adopt cloud-based applications and services, traditional network-centric security approaches become less effective. SASE is designed with a cloud-native mindset, enabling organizations to extend security controls seamlessly to cloud environments. Whether employees are accessing on-premises resources or cloud-based applications, SASE provides consistent security policies and threat prevention capabilities to protect against advanced threats and data exfiltration.

Protection Beyond On-Premises

The perimeter-based security model, which relies on securing the network perimeter to protect against external threats, is no longer sufficient in today's dynamic threat landscape. With the proliferation of mobile devices, IoT devices, and cloud services, the traditional perimeter is increasingly dynamic, making it difficult to defend against sophisticated attacks. SASE offers several key benefits for protecting beyond on-premises environments:

  1. 1. Edge Security: SASE leverages a distributed security model, with security controls deployed at the network edge to protect against threats closer to the source. This ensures that security policies are enforced as close to the user and the application as possible, reducing latency and improving performance. By shifting security enforcement to the edge, organizations can effectively protect against threats before they reach the corporate network, regardless of the user's location or the network they are using.
  2. 2. Continuous Monitoring and Threat Detection: In today's threat landscape, SASE incorporates advanced threat detection capabilities, using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, to continuously monitor network traffic and identify suspicious behavior indicative of a potential security breach. By analyzing network traffic in real-time and correlating data from multiple sources, SASE can detect and respond to threats more effectively, reducing the risk of data breaches and downtime.
  3. 3. Scalability and Flexibility: Organizations often face resource constraints when it comes to deploying and managing security infrastructure. SASE offers a scalable and flexible solution that can adapt to the changing needs of the organization. By consolidating networking and security functionalities into a single platform, SASE reduces complexity and operational overhead, allowing organizations to scale their security infrastructure as needed without sacrificing performance or security.

Protecting Hybrid Cloud Environments

The shift to cloud computing has revolutionized the way organizations deploy and manage IT resources, offering unprecedented flexibility and scalability. However, this transition also introduces new security challenges, particularly in hybrid cloud environments where data and applications span multiple cloud platforms and on-premises infrastructure. SASE provides several key benefits for protecting hybrid cloud environments:

  1. 1. Dynamic Policy Enforcement: In hybrid cloud environments, workloads and data may migrate between on-premises infrastructure and public cloud platforms based on factors such as cost, performance, and regulatory requirements. SASE enables organizations to enforce dynamic security policies that adapt to the changing needs of the business. Whether workloads are running in a private data center or a public cloud, SASE ensures that security policies are consistently applied to protect against threats and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements. 
  2. 2. Cloud-Native Security Controls: SASE is designed with cloud-native principles in mind, enabling organizations to extend security controls seamlessly to cloud environments. Whether data and applications are hosted on-premises, in public clouds, or in hybrid environments, SASE provides consistent security policies and threat prevention capabilities to protect against advanced threats and data exfiltration. This ensures that organizations can securely embrace cloud technologies without compromising on security. 
  3. 3. Cloud Capabilities: A SASE approach leverages native cloud security controls and services while extending their security posture with additional capabilities such as secure web gateways, cloud access security brokers (CASBs), and zero trust network access (ZTNA) solutions. This ensures that organizations can take advantage of the scalability and flexibility of cloud computing while maintaining a strong security posture.

Adopting a SASE approach to cybersecurity offers significant benefits for many organizations, enabling them to secure the hybrid workforce, protect beyond on-premises environments, and safeguard hybrid cloud environments. There are many ways to get started with SASE. C1 has the experience to help determine the best way forward.  

  • Security Assessment: Conduct a thorough audit of your existing IT security infrastructure, including your security posture, user base, applications, and network traffic patterns
  • Define Requirements and Set Strategy: Develop a clear plan outlining your SASE deployment objectives
  • Phase Your Implementation: Begin by deploying SASE components in phases, to best test functionality and identify any integration issues
  • Evaluate SASE Providers: Do your research and evaluate vendors based on your needs. Look for providers that offer core components like Firewall as a Service (FWaaS) and Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), and that best align with your security strategy

C1 offers a Zero Trust Architecture Strategic Program that assesses your data, network, and applications in building on-ramp for adopting SASE. Learn more about the program here. 

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About the author:
Phil Vickman creates customer-focused narratives, content strategies and campaigns aligned with cloud services, business applications and cyber security solutions.