The pandemic has caused a dramatic shift in the ways organizations operate. Many people are working remotely, and there are multiple satellite offices around the globe. For this reason, organizations are considering such technological solutions as Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) as it guarantees them security, provides agility, flexibility, and enhances the quality of network service.
Several firms are offering SASE. However, not every product can fit your needs. This article provides you with a few tips to help you choose the SASE vendor that can meet all the security needs of your business.
A SASE Vendor That Offers a Flexible Solution
Each organization has unique needs that may not be covered by the standard off-the shelf features of a SASE product. Therefore, it is important that you choose a provider who offers a truly flexible SASE implementation program that can be adapted to meet your needs. Ideally, you should go to a provider that offers a truly integrated solution that can work with the existing infrastructure.
An integrated solution should provide a cloud-native infrastructure and deliver cloud instances in any deployment instance, whether on-premises, public or private clouds, and in any location.
A flexible SASE architecture reduces the workload burden on the IT teams by removing the complexity of on-premises or cloud deployments while also delivering quality functionality to end-users.
In the same breath, the SASE vendor should also deliver a network fabric that includes security services such as SWG, IPS, and FWaaS and enterprise-grade networking such as SD-WAN.
FWaaS, Secure Web Gateway, and IPS firewalls ensure that connections from outside the network are secure by closing any vulnerability loopholes in the network.
A Solution that Integrates Network Security and Performance
It is important to ensure that the SASE solution you are considering offers an experience that is highly consistent and predictable for all the network users. On the other hand, it should provide security that is dynamic, flexible, and agile enough to serve each terminal no matter the location and the type of device that is accessing the network.
In addition to this, you should look at the third-party solutions that you will be using for your daily operations. Integration with third-party solutions helps close gaps that may be apparent in the primary solution.
Some legacy solutions cannot be wished away because of their practical usage in the company. An ideal SASE solution acts as an extension of these legacy solutions and enables them to be integrated with applications across the network.
It is also important to ensure that the on-premise solutions of the said SASE provider are consistent with the cloud requirements. In cases where the cloud portfolio is rich, the on-premise platforms lack some key capabilities of the former solution. This causes operational inefficiency and complicates its implementation.
Consider Multi-Tenancy Capabilities
In many organizations, the security and network functions are not centralized. The IT personnel are forced to make regular back-and-forth checks and integrations with other networks, which is time-consuming and cumbersome.
However, when looking for the ideal SASE vendor, go for solutions that centralize networking and security and transform them into multi-tenant, automated software stacks. Such software allows for role-based access to vital control and policy formulation sectors of the security system.
It also makes it easy for the organization to determine vulnerable areas of the network and streamline the assignment of duties. This also lowers the cost of securing the network, as various resources can be used across the entire network.
Optimal Performance on a Global Scale
While most SASE vendors do not look at the global network as their core requirement, it is important to replicate the experience in any part of the globe. Solutions like the public internet are global. However, they face latency and connectivity problems as the distance increases.
Companies may also use MPLS as it is more reliable. However, it is very costly and lacks the agility required for integrated operations. This leaves companies with SASE as the best solution to achieve the desired experience.
If your enterprise is truly global, consider a vendor that provides a private backbone, preferably one that is SLA-backed. This saves you from lagging and slowdowns while delivering the same capabilities to all workers around the globe.
A Scalable Solution
The security and networking environment change regularly. Organizations may also expand in the future and require more resources or features. Even as you look at a solution that meets your needs today, it is important to look at one that can be expanded to meet your needs in the future.
The design should be a future-proof design and have an architecture that supports application programming interfaces (APIs) flexibly. You should also check if the solution supports the current and planned infrastructure and standard protocols.
In addition, the ideal solution should support new technologies in line with your company’s needs. Internet of Things (IoT), Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), and Virtual Reality (VR) are examples of such technologies.
Each of these technologies comes with its own unique connectivity and security challenges. You should also consider possible future network solutions, such as 5G, and requirements that may not be covered by the current setup.
Consider Zero Trust Network Access Capabilities
Most enterprises use SASE to enable remote teams to access and use cloud applications with ease. Unfortunately, most legacy security systems give users unrestricted access once they are past a VPN or a firewall appliance. This approach also becomes a challenge when users are accessing mobile edge and cloud endpoints.
However, a system with Zero Trust Network Access (ZNTA) allows the organization to configure access based on applications, devices, locations, and available resources. This way, the organization can determine who has access to what and to what extent they can use the available resources.
This has several benefits. The organization can ensure data security by keeping away people who are not authorized to use a resource. It can also save on resources as only those that are supposed to use specific ones are allowed access. Essentially, SASE should be an identity-centric infrastructure, and ZNTA is what it needs to achieve it.
The Cost of the Solution
The cost variable when looking at SASE should be looked at in various respects. First, you should look at the standard features of the software versus the cost to see if it is worth it.
Second, look at the cost of integrating it with third-party software solutions. Does it require additional licensing and coding requirements? This cost will be incurred before it is implemented.
Third, assess the SLA and the cost of various service levels. How long does the SLA cover the solution? What is the level of training offered? Does the vendor enable in-house teams to handle many of the general issues that occur during daily operations?
Fourth, what will be the cost of scaling the SASE solution? Check the compatibility issues with the most popular technologies and whether they are future-proof.
Choose a SASE Vendor That Meets All Your Needs
When looking for a SASE vendor, select a flexible solution that allows you to centralize your network and security operations and can be scaled up in the future. It should also possess Zero Trust Network Access and have the same quality of performance around the globe.
BCM One provides quality managed SASE solutions to enable companies with a distributed workforce peace of mind. It also has several security features and provides a single solution for all your needs without requiring you to configure and integrate other solutions. Contact us for a demo and see how it works.