SASE: Beyond the hype

With the rise of remote working, organisations face new security concerns. So what's SASE and is it right for you?

SASE: Beyond the hype

With the rise of remote working, organisations face new security concerns. So what's SASE and is it right for you?

The future of business lies in the cloud, but organisations that haven't already started their cloud journey are now having to play catch-up. 

While for some it's been relatively easy to get employees up and running from home, other organisations have had to buy hundreds of desk phones and get phonelines delivered, just to keep their contact centres running.

Taking on so many new locations and devices also introduces a new set of security challenges and concerns. And this has led to the emergence of the term secure access service edge (SASE).

What exactly is SASE?

As the hype continues to grow around this term, we’re getting more and more clients coming to us at Cisco asking for ‘a SASE’. But what exactly do they mean?

SASE is a holistic strategy that brings network and security together into a service that delivers secure access across every edge of an expanding network. 

So, what’s driving organisations to look at adopting this new strategy?

The need for more agile networks

Increasingly, organisations are realising their networks need to become more scalable and agile. 

Most traditional, fixed virtual private networks aren’t able to offer this kind of scalable access. Yet very few companies are in a position where they can tear out their old infrastructure without causing significant disruptions.

Fortunately, there's an attractive and flexible solution in the form of software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN). This leverages the fixed network already in place to deliver Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) in the cloud. 

SD-WAN gives strong application performance and fast responses wherever employees need to gain access. And it allows organisations to move to a more flexible and interconnected networking strategy. 

But it also opens up organisations to new risks and this puts pressure on security departments.

A SASE approach is a critical element of security

When companies transform their networks to allow scalable remote access, more critical data is leaving the confines of the trusted data centre and moving into the cloud. 

The type of security architecture companies have used for 25 to 30 years relies on the old-fashioned assumption that data will be kept permanently inside the perimeter of the corporate network. As such, firewalls have always been placed around this perimeter to keep intruders out.

But now that data is moving to remote locations outside the firewall, companies need to find new solutions to protect their entire estate. 

SASE is an attractive concept, because it suggests organisations can: 

  • embed security beyond their traditional perimeter
  • protect their SD-WAN and cloud locations
  • make sure any user’s location or device is secure before it accesses precious data.

Security and network teams must work together

As the need to embed security into the network grows, so does the need for security and network departments to converge. 

Historically, most security and network departments have operated in distinct silos, using separate buyers for each team’s transformation budget. But increasingly we’re seeing a shift, with chief information security officers (CISOs) beginning to lead on the procurement of SD-WAN solutions. 

In future it looks like these departments won’t be able to make buying decisions in isolation. To achieve a successful adoption of a SASE solution, networking and security will have to start working together to realise the same plan, and that plan will need alignment. 

SASE is still a relatively new concept and these changes may take some time. To prepare for SASE in the near future, we think organisations should start work on laying these foundations now.

Together with BT, our longstanding partner of over three decades, we help organisations find the right navigational course for their SASE journey, by using our combined experience in networks and security. 

We make sure you:

  • get that much-needed agility over your network
  • improve your security posture as your business transforms
  • can still keep using the legacy systems you’re probably going to need for the foreseeable future.


Find out more about our combined services