Software-defined wide area networks (SD-WAN) have become the most popular business networking solutions due to their low costs and high flexibility. Combined with Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), those benefits include highly robust security and greater accessibility for remote workers. These are significant advantages as companies shift to cloud-based Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), which is driving an impressive 30.8% CAGR for the SD-WAN market through 2023.
SD-WAN can be employed on any underlay (most notably, the internet), without the need for private connections with expensive Service Level Agreements. With SASE, workforces can access company resources from anywhere with an internet connection. To keep critical company resources secure when accessed by unsecured devices, the best solution is a single-vendor SD-WAN/SASE solution customized for your specific use case scenarios.
In today’s world, SASE has become integral to modern business. Running as a security and accessibility layer on top of SD-WAN, it gives system administrators everything needed to continually tighten security practices while maintaining a user-friendly, device-agnostic solution for mobile workforces.
New Tools, Higher Standards
The agility that comes from cloud-based infrastructure takes companies beyond their current limitations, and not just when it comes to technology. This agility is enabling greater scalability for faster growth and is breaking limits on efficiency, as employees can add value to the company whenever and wherever they want. However, companies today don’t have time to manage a brand new IT network — transitioning significant portions of their workloads to the cloud is itself a major undertaking.
The promises of software-based network infrastructure are no exaggeration — but at the same time, businesses need them to be as simple as the software they’re already used to. Most importantly, they require these solutions to be at least as secure as the systems they’re moving away from. When news of increasing cyberattacks cross their desk regularly, they can’t entrust their future livelihood to patchy or untested ideas.
Bolstering SD-WAN With SASE
Integrating a security and accessibility layer over SD-WAN with SASE is now the industry standard for creating robust, secure, and accessible cloud-based infrastructure. This is how businesses today leverage the most beneficial aspects of SD-WAN while mitigating the security risks of relying on it single-mindedly.
SASE technically includes SD-WAN within its architecture, but rather than forcing companies to adopt a whole new network architecture, SASE easily integrates with existing SD-WANs. That said, a custom SASE and SD-WAN solution built from the ground up (particularly suited for new, ground-up transitions) offers the highest degree of efficiency and user-friendliness.
One of the advantages of a SASE/SD-WAN infrastructure over SD-WAN alone is that SASE provides an extensive suite of highly adaptive, system-agnostic tools. This gives it versatility without sacrificing security.
The Advantages of SASE
Cloud infrastructures bolstered with SASE enable businesses to transition away from their legacy data systems with the confidence and security they need to move into the new remote-first environment. Just as SASE is built from a wide range of utilities and applications, its benefits are numerous and far-reaching.
SASE is built to adopt new applications over time, providing an innately adaptable security and accessibility solution for IaaS systems. Those needs are free to develop in their own right, secure in the equally versatile security layer SASE provides.
Since its formal inception in 2019, SASE has served as the framework to help developers, engineers, and administrators transition from centrally positioned architectures to a decentralized architecture that secures data anywhere it is exchanged.
The following are just some of the numerous benefits enabled by this revolutionary shift to fully scalable remote-connectivity services:
- Employees able to connect remotely from their preferred device
- Admins can maintain secure connections from any point of access
- Data request authentications are made during virtually every individual request
- Authorized traffic automatically routed through a private network
- Optimized data flow into the nearest gateway location
- Lower-latency data transmission, compared to central data centers
- Fast integration with NextGen communication protocols (such as UCaaS and SIP trunking)
- Hybrid deployments are possible for companies in mid-transition to the cloud
- Seamless integration with a multitude of sales, CRM, and other software platforms
- Insecure connections do not put the entire SD-WAN at risk
- Uniform audit management for easy policy enforcement
- Easily customizable to each business’s needs
Due to its easily scalable and adaptable framework, SASE offers the first authentic enterprise-grade experience for businesses seeking to transition to the cloud. When combined with the support of highly experienced industry-leading IT experts, it presents an entirely headache-free utility that meets and exceeds the functionality of legacy data centers.
The Most Reliable Cloud-Network Multi-Tool
Being a synthesis of essential cloud functions, SASE is much more than the sum of its parts. The benefits listed above are only the core foundations laid down in its short time elevating SD-WAN capabilities — and because it’s inherently versatile, the sky is the limit for cloud infrastructure solutions.
That versatility results from an impressive suite of advanced cloud-based applications that have each undergone rigorous development in their own right. At the same time, each custom enterprise-grade system can, for the most part, use whichever combination of utilities is desired to create the single-vendor SASE/SD-WAN solution most compatible with their company’s needs.
The tools stand on their own, but they’ve been developed in concert to create a cohesive network architecture. This is the antithesis of the patchy, siloed security solutions that have long been a major pain point for IT teams. Greater flexibility now comes with, not at the expense of, security — the SASE features making cloud networks more secure are also making them more accessible.
Most generally and at its core, SASE includes cloud-specific firewalls, authentication systems, and virus protections. It’s built around much more than SD-WAN, incorporating tools such as Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) and Zero Trust Networking Access (ZTNA) to secure virtually every point of the network. Here are some key benefits CASB and ZTNA provide businesses as part of a comprehensive SASE strategy.
CASB — Managing Accessibility, Securing Data, & Monitoring Risks
CASB provides granular control over the content of specific sites while managing the role users have in accessing system resources. Remote workforces need access to enterprise software from unmanaged devices, and CASB’s suite of policy enforcement and other tools allows users to do so without putting the network at risk.
It goes beyond merely blocking or granting access, providing entire system-wide oversight and accessibility controls. These controls can be customized for each device and user, allowing simultaneous control over accessibility and security through the following tools:
- Malware detection
- Risk factor classification
- Policy enforcement & adjustment
- Credential mapping
- Risk assessment
- Analytics tracking
- API scanning
These features allow system operators to control the flow of data, which can even be redirected by proxy controls.
This is accomplished by CASB’s data loss prevention (DLP) processes, which ensure sensitive data is not lost, misused or accessed by unauthorized users. It can accomplish this while data is in motion, giving users a seamless experience even while transferring data at a high rate.
DLP also blocks the unauthorized sharing of data, which is absolutely essential when sharing financial, legal, or other proprietary information. CASB further secures sensitive information by continually scanning for and identifying compromised users. Threat remediation is accomplished by identifying malicious activity, such as ransomware, as well as negligent risks posed by unsecured devices and applications.
ZTNA — Ultra-Granular Data Control
When businesses had central data centers, they could think of their system as a fortress that needed to be secured from the inside out. As a result, they eased their internal operations by adopting procedures enabling more effortless data flow for trusted connections. These connections were easier to authenticate, as hackers would have had to make it through an intensively fortified perimeter.
Now, the perimeter is essentially anywhere with network access, and admins must think of security from the outside. While SD-WAN and CASB work together to provide proper access from the user to the data, ZTNA functions at every data-point transfer for incredible security redundancy.
Rather than open large portions of the network at a time to authenticated users, as trust-based systems did, every single request for information is treated as though it is not trustable until proven otherwise.
This is accomplished through “micro-segmentation” — countless individual perimeters that must be authenticated every time data is attempted to be passed through the system’s myriad internal boundaries. Instead of bogging down information flow, the most efficient and cutting-edge SASE layer handles all of these protocols seamlessly in the background. All the user has to do is point and click.
Securing Your Competitive Edge
Companies need the simplest but most secure technology to facilitate more efficient networking and communication systems. For countless modern businesses, that technology is SASE. Combining the most cutting-edge and historically proven security and accessibility features, almost entirely software-based data infrastructure is not just here — it’s pointing the way ahead.
For world-class SASE integration into your SD-WAN, or even fully custom SASE/SD-WAN solutions built from the ground up, contact BCM One today. You’ll benefit from the world’s leading IaaS technology, supported by the most attentive, white-glove service in the industry.