Remote access and cloud computing access have become the new normal of global business after the epidemic. Enterprises are faced with many problems such as hybrid cloud configuration, diversified network access, key data security protection, and network access management.
"Remote access" network security protection is the most concerned market. Mobile users access important enterprise applications, transfer key enterprise application data to cloud computing, or enterprise adopts hybrid cloud architecture, all of which connect the network infrastructure. The demand for the integration of online functions and network security functions has emerged. In response to this trend, Gartner has defined a SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) model based on cloud service SD-WAN technology and centered on user identity, which is considered the most important development trend of network security access architecture.
Remote access and cloud computing access have become the new normal of global business after the epidemic. Enterprises are faced with many problems such as hybrid cloud configuration, diversified network access, key data security protection, and network access management. Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) seems to be the best solution for cloud security at present. It integrates the needs of today’s enterprises for the network as a service and information security as a service and integrates comprehensive wide area network WAN functions (including SD-WAN, CDN, etc.) Integrating with network and cloud security functions (such as SWG, CASB, FWaaS, and ZTNA), is based on user identity (maybe specific individuals, branch employees, third-party vendors, specific IoT devices) at the edge of the network. Network access permissions are shunted, and then applications or smart data are accessed directly to corporate data centers or public cloud applications or platforms, instead of importing network traffic to the head office and then transferring it to the cloud, which would increase data transmission risks from attack.
SASE network edge security access service architecture introduction:
Under the impact of the 2020 epidemic, VPN (Enterprise Virtual Private Network) was the first remote access solution for enterprises. However, with the new normal operating model of a remote office, enterprises are accelerating the deployment of many cloud services and applications. With the rapid development of cloud data centers and mobile offices, VPNs are facing great challenges by breaking the familiar network boundary protection. Only by establishing a "trusted" security management model can the user's authentication and authorization be credible, and the information flow and information security risks can be visible, controllable, and manageable.
The Zero Trust network security framework (Zero Trust) believes that any network access requirements should be preset to be untrustworthy, and only after authentication can they be accessed by the management policy authority. However, the zero-trust architecture does not refer to a specific technology, but the concept of application integration of multiple technologies. Therefore, the SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) market has become the best practice for "zero-trust" security in enterprises now.
What is SASE?
SASE is to implement identity management on the terminal equipment and the edge of the network, while network traffic is diverted to the application cloud platform or the data center in the enterprise according to the identity management policy, and the network security functions and equipment are all Built-in cloud solutions. Especially in the long-distance working mode after the epidemic and the advent of the 5G era, this trend will become more and more obvious, and the market demand will continue to grow. Under the new normal, the use of traditional network access mode in this environment will bring very complex network management configuration problems. With SASE architecture, wide area network connection capabilities (such as SD-WAN) and network security protection capabilities (such as SWG, CASB, FWaaS) are integrated, thereby effectively reducing the complexity of network control. Not only can it provide a flexible and expandable network, but it can also provide software-defined security access services based on user rights policies. This flexible network provides unprecedented network visibility and manageability for the security teams of digitally transformed enterprises. The network connection can be precisely specified according to the user identity and the context of the packet content. The security team can provide secure data access, QoS performance, reliability, and security for mobile users, and branch teams, with cloud-based application services, to safely realize the dynamic storage required for digital transformation.
The SASE network edge secure access service architecture has the following characteristics:
SASE architecture is the integration of network services and security services
- Focus on user identity: Network Edge Secure Access Service (SASE) is a new center for using identity as the access decision-making center, not the access authority of the enterprise data center. Therefore, network access permissions are based on identities such as user identity, connected device identification, and application access permissions, rather than the IP address or geographic location of the device as in the past. It is this logic-level conversion of defined policies that greatly simplifies security policy management.
- Take the cloud application as the native architecture: The biggest assumption of SASE is that enterprises will gradually cloud important data and services, or directly adopt public cloud SaaS services (such as CRM, Mail, office software...), so they are outside the company. Mobile users or overseas branch offices will not redirect all network traffic back to the headquarters due to the use of VPN, nor will they allow free access to wide-area network services and lose network security protection. SASE makes full use of the main features of cloud computing in its architecture, such as flexibility, self-adjustment, automation, self-healing ability, and self-maintenance.
- Simplified architecture of network security equipment and configuration: By integrating secure access services from third-party security product providers, it will effectively reduce the total number of suppliers and reduce the number of physical or virtual security devices in overseas branches. This will reduce the number of agents required on the user’s terminal device. At the same time, the integration of supplier equipment will have the opportunity to use the "single-pass" architecture for network content inspection. Under this architecture, all packets at the network session layer will be decrypted at once and checked once in parallel using multiple security policy engines (FW, IDS) instead of multiple security check engines for serial check, which would increase the delay time. This will provide users with a consistent network access experience no matter where the user is, what site they are visiting, or where the site is located.
The SASE architecture represents the structural integration trend of corporate networks and security systems. It is suitable for the trend of remote access and corporate services on the cloud under the current epidemic. It integrates security and network access and can be applied to any type of terminal access method. Enterprises do not need to place an agent on the device, and do not need to connect to the VPN and then reroute all traffic to the Internet. The SASE architecture brings security to each access service. It is estimated that by 2024, at least 40% of enterprises will adopt SASE-based cloud services.
It is not easy to build a complete SASE access service platform, as it requires extensive and diversified technologies. At present, few vendors can provide complete solutions in the market. This technology is still in its infancy, but as cloud services continue to grow, the SASE access service platform will drive the demand for edge computing equipment, and future growth is still expected.