The rapid shift to hybrid work has transformed where and how work happens. Today’s workers are more likely to hop online from their home office than from the company’s main office, creating new challenges for the information technology security teams charged with keeping networks safe — and moving the edge to front and center.
Amid this change, Secure Access Service Edge, or SASE, has emerged, blending wide-area networking and security services into a single cloud-delivered service model. However, though the narrative around SASE as the way to protect the edge, the edge is only half the story. SASE improves security across the network in three key ways to create the best and most secure experience possible.
Centralizing orchestration and monitoring
Over the past few years, many security teams have likely experienced some variation of the same trend: A solution from a current vendor lacks the functionality they need, so they layer on functionality from another vendor. That cycle repeatedly continues until they get the stack that meets their security requirements. Sometimes that never happens.
Though great in the short term, this approach creates significant issues over time. Teams find themselves with a complicated, sprawling security stack that generates a ton of data and contains individual components that don’t communicate with each other. Therefore, a siloed stack quickly becomes an insecure stack.
SASE turns this dynamic on its head by aggregating functionality: SASE solutions offer a single place for managing policies, configuration and monitoring across the network. Creating a single-pane-of-glass visibility across the entire client-workload transaction simplifies management and allows teams to respond to threats with greater agility and effectiveness.
Building a more resilient security operation
The emergence of a unified security management approach to network security has led to a newfound appreciation for the limitations of the old one.
Case in point: Consider the firewall. Creating and building a perimeter around a company’s most important assets has always been comforting and alluring. But with that approach comes drawbacks. For example, what happens when a firewall fails? A centralized approach to security, wherein enforcement occurs through a single point of failure, has inherent risk.
SASE, in contrast, comes with built-in resiliency. Here, policy enforcement happens closer to where users are. As Gartner notes, this is an inversion of network security design because it is “shifting the focal point to the identity of the user and/or device — not the data center.”
Ultimately, this approach also benefits from being more scalable: Security teams can ensure that their protection grows alongside their operations without having to procure and install new hardware.
Creating a more consistent end-user experience
Given the consumerization of the enterprise, every team is now a customer experience team. Yes, that means security as well.
One of the essential benefits of SASE is its ability to simplify and centralize how security policies are developed, propagated, and enforced. The result: Both devices and security tools can leverage the same security policies, meaning users get consistent, unified access regardless of whether they’re on campus, at a branch or on the road.
Consistent security experiences have a direct impact on overall network security. The more consistent and frictionless a security experience, the less likely end-users will attempt to go around it through less secure means.
The “it just works” mindset has become pervasive in the consumer space. SASE furthers efforts to bring this to the enterprise side.
Kate Adam is senior director of security product marketing at Juniper Networks Inc. She wrote this article for SiliconANGLE.
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