Implementing SASE: A Step-by-Step Guide for IT Professionals

You can gain cloud-based scalability, flexibility, and cost savings by moving your organization’s networking and security operations to a secured access service edge (SASE) architecture. SASE is an excellent option for today’s geographically dispersed businesses because it safeguards remote workers in any location and platform. 

Even though some suppliers offer all-inclusive SASE solutions, most businesses will reuse at least some of their current technology when creating their SASE framework. Here are some tips for making sure your IT is ready for SASE.

SASE: What is it?

According to Gartner, Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) is a security architecture that encourages the fusion of network connectivity and security technologies onto a single cloud-delivered platform to facilitate secure and rapid cloud migration. SASE’s networking and network security convergence resolve edge computing, workforce mobility, and digital business transformation issues.

The Benefits of SASE

Moving to a SASE architecture has several advantages, including the following:

  • You can improve operational resilience and global scalability by providing low latency to consumers, devices, and services. 
  • To protect the network without compromising performance, reduce friction to increase the effectiveness of the network and network security staff.
  • Integrating your suppliers can improve management effectiveness and visibility while lowering costs and complexity associated with vendor management.
  • Make it possible for entities that aren’t a part of the corporate organization to participate in cutting-edge digital business scenarios.
  • By placing security measures as close as possible to the user, you can increase security by making it harder for attackers to locate and abuse corporate resources.

SASE Deployment Components

SASE is composed of the following five components:

  • Following the guidelines established by your company, FWaaS creates a cloud-based firewall that regulates user network traffic.
  • Every user’s internet activities are monitored, analyzed, and logged by SWG to prevent viruses and intrusions.
  • SD-WAN offers an overlay that securely connects the main office, branches, data centers, work-from-home employees, and users’ mobile devices for your company over the public internet, private networks, or even cellular networks.
  • Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) is a cloud-based architecture that ensures all users, devices, and access requests are carefully considered regardless of location.
  • Since it manages interactions between employees of your business and your cloud instances and apps, CASB is essential security software for any cloud deployments.

The essential components can be combined with or added to as desired:

  • A cloud-based data loss prevention (DLP) service may be part of the FWaaS.
  • A cloud-based IPS/IDS or intrusion prevention or detection system examines your existing IPS/IDS to see if it can be changed for the cloud. 
  • Domain-name system (DNS) layer security disables risky or undesirable servers and could be a part of the SWG or FWaaS.

Six Steps for SASE Implementation

The following six steps are beneficial for IT professionals to implement SASE.

  • Define Your Edge

The network infrastructure may still be required depending on the architecture, even though most businesses are moving to edge computing. Regardless of the situation, deciding where the edge is and where you want to go would be best. Some services may still need local delivery (SD-WAN), despite the trend toward mature SASE systems with services hosted on edge. The tools you need for your plan will depend on how you perceive your limitations.

  • Determine the Essential Competencies

The importance of highlighting the fact that SASE offers a conceptual framework for approaching edge defense rather than a single set of common tools is essential. The SASE framework offers a wide range of capabilities but could be more inclusive. For instance, security measures must be implemented to protect JavaScript environments from threats and group skimmer attacks. Network as a Service (NaaS) and Network Security as a Service (NSaaS) capabilities must be determined for each company. 

  • Perform a Gap Analysis

After deciding what you’re protecting and what tools you’ll need to use, performing a gap analysis is critical to understanding where you are and how much money you’ll need to spend to achieve your goals.  It is a fantastic opportunity to analyze compliance and audit data to find areas where duties are necessary. As part of the gap analysis, look at the crucial elements of your business model. Also, consider hiring outside experts to gain a different viewpoint.

  • Calculate Your Technical Debt 

One of the main causes of security debt is a need for more resources, such as the difficulty of having one engineer maintain several different systems. It’s crucial to assess the maturity and effectiveness of the networking and security technologies you already have before implementing your strategy. Although some tools could have been bought to deal with a specific problem, they might have yet to be improved to maximize their potential or integrated with other systems. These issues can raise the risk of a breach by increasing a company’s IT environment’s “security debt ” or accumulating infrastructure and application vulnerabilities.  

  • Sketch out the Steps in the SASE transformation

The majority of businesses will transition to SASE over several stages. They might eventually disappear as specific point solutions are no longer required. You should start there if your JavaScript environment or DNS infrastructure is insecure. There are many natural areas if you already have a program and want to expand it.

No SASE provider can provide all the solutions mentioned earlier, so it is crucial to consider vendors with various skills and integrated partners to meet your strategic objectives. It is preferable to incorporate a cloud-based SWG on edge rather than attempt to change an existing system. Think about SWGs with sandboxing and data loss prevention (DLP) capabilities.

Gartner recommends using Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), which provides application-level access rather than full network access, as the starting point for SASE deployment. ZTNA solutions can provide security where it is most needed, at the edge, to meet the demands of modern business. 

A CDN distribution strategy for ZTNA enhances security at the edge, cloud, and core. Lastly, these solutions should be based on reliable pillars like DNS security, DDoS protection, and web application and API protection as a service (WAAPaaS). Finding a platform with ZTNA and SWG support and these features reduces complexity and costs.

  • Obtain Support from Important Stakeholders

When constructing a budget business case, remember that combining vendors with SASE reduces complexity and expense. Additionally, using a model with the support of industry analysts, like SASE guide on pros and cons by NordLayer, gives you access to experts, established resources, and validation, all of which should boost the board’s confidence in your security plan.

The Final Thoughts

We know that putting the cloud security process into action is a very different experience from simply sitting down and outlining each step. Working with an expert is one of the most effective and secure ways for most businesses to create a cloud security architecture that satisfies their needs.

Last Updated on December 15th, 2023