Zero Trust has become a widespread framework for verifying network use across every access point. As network and cloud security evolve, some organizations have adopted and deployed SASE (secure across service edge), which expands upon Zero Trust to consolidate layered security controls within a single cloud architecture.
SASE integrations are unique to a company’s objectives, industry regulations, security policies, and cloud structure, making deployment a comprehensive journey with many considerations. How can you build and integrate an ideal SASE model into your corporation?
Before deploying any SASE model, you must assess your current cloud environment, network security protocols, and fundamental business systems. This includes evaluating your AD (Active Directory) infrastructure for consistent communication and management of authorized users, devices, and domains within your network. A mature cybersecurity program for shared infrastructure in the cloud is also required for SASE deployment. One of the core pre-qualifiers of a SASE model involves analyzing compatibility with applications used to conduct crucial business functions.
After performing the initial assessments, select a tech stack that aligns with your organizational framework. The two standard SASE deployment methodologies include a routing topology and a proxy server. With a routing topology, users connect to a network through an encrypted VPN (virtual private network) integrated with a firewall. You can then connect this back to your cloud architecture through a BGP (border gateway protocol) link. Proxy servers involve connecting encrypted traffic to your cloud infrastructure. When determining which strategy to employ, it’s useful to identify the type of network traffic. For instance, proxies are ideal for providing network access to specific users while minimizing traffic flow, whereas topology requires a mature routing strategy for general traffic.
During a SASE deployment journey, some businesses experience complications when integrating additional applications into their tech stacks. This occurs when organizations develop narrow or vague deployment criteria and lack consideration for application dependencies. Russell Moore, the Senior Cybersecurity Architect at GDT, explains how to mitigate deployment failures, “There needs to be a fair amount of testing to make sure that proper dependencies are met and that it's not causing problems in workflow.” By testing various products and vendors, you can guarantee a high-performing, mature tech stack.
Key cost considerations for SASE include software integrations, licensing, and training. Although SASE is more expensive than traditional network security solutions, you can maximize ROI by investing in the appropriate applications and maintaining the system long-term. Replacing legacy applications with updated security systems eliminates costly shutdowns and enhances operational efficiency. While training staff on these implementations is a large initial investment, SASE models save time by simplifying tasks. For instance, experience management capabilities provide visibility into the underlying architecture, allowing you to identify and resolve access issues effectively.
Zero Trust frameworks are a requirement for many organizations, and mature SASE solutions offer cost-saving options for this journey. GDT’s Director of Security Services, Robert Davila, explains how SASE deployments streamline Zero Trust initiatives, “I like to think of SASE deployments as a Zero Trust enabler…It solves a lot of the challenges around a Zero Trust strategy…It covers a lot of buckets and helps you think about what the next thing is that you need to look at.” As a comprehensive tech stack uncovering fundamental security challenges, SASE is a cost-effective solution for modern encryption needs.
Assessing potential SASE vendors is a comprehensive decision-making process requiring you to align your organization’s use cases with the provider’s capabilities. With integrated platforms managed by multiple users, understanding application dependencies, access models, data encryption, and traffic type is crucial in identifying an optimal security level. The vendor you select should integrate your multi-tenant applications with your workflows for operation efficiency.
However, no vendor can provide all-inclusive solutions, so you must prioritize initiatives as you develop a deployment strategy. Brian Engle, GDT’s Senior Principal of Security Services, says the basic security functions you should prioritize are “visibility, being able to monitor and protect…your ability to respond and react, and the implications into incident response plans and containment strategies.” When making a selection, ensure you partner with a qualified vendor to integrate technologies holistically.
Regardless of the vendor you select and the capabilities you implement, you must evaluate your existing technologies’ compatibility to reduce operational overhead.