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Helpful Answers to Your SASE-est Questions

Dec 18 2020

If you joined us for Netskope’s SASE Week, you’ll know that we covered quite a bit of ground with our talks and programming. For a relatively new concept, there’s still so much potential to explore and discuss that we could probably talk about it for much longer than just a week. 

Netskope customers, large and small, are seeing the cost and business benefits of moving to a cloud-native control point, with the security posture and risk management tools they need.

With that in mind, it’s still understandable to have questions and want clarity about SASE (secure access secure edge) as a concept. 

Below are some key themes from the many Netskope conversations happening in the market and what they mean to your business:

Which legacy technologies are being made obsolete by SASE?

Appliance-based solutions for SASE architecture capabilities are being made obsolete in favor of a cloud-hosted security service edge and software-defined network fabric. A few prime examples of the technologies being made obsolete are secure web gateway (SWG) appliances, sandboxing appliances, virtual private networking (VPN) appliances, and branch office firewall appliances.  

How is SASE different from existing cloud-based web gateways?

The most important difference is web traffic is only one of five types of user traffic that a secure access service edge (SASE) architecture analyzes. Beyond web traffic, SASE also covers managed SaaS, unmanaged SaaS, public cloud services, and custom apps in the public cloud with data and threat protection defenses alongside granular policy controls. Data context becomes key in these granular policies controls for conditional and contextual access control, real-time coaching to users, and detecting anomalies. Web gateways focus primarily on access and threat detection and are weak on the data context required for a successful SASE architecture.

What security solutions within SASE architecture are going through the most change? 

SASE architecture is driving a cloud native single pass security edge that consolidates defenses while optimizing user experience. Secure web gateways (SWG) will experience significant changes from a web-only inspection point focused on access and web threat protection defenses, to expand to include apps, cloud services, data protection, and advanced DLP.  Single-pass SASE architecture requires user, app, and data context for both data and threat protection, and this naturally consolidates inline cloud and web proxy technologies. Legacy SWG appliances will not only migrate to cloud services, but they will also need to provide cloud data context. Traditional DLP will also migrate from its enterprise roots into cloud data protection as more data, apps, and users leverage apps and cloud services. A relevant example is when organizations analyze the data risks of managed apps and unmanaged apps (Shadow IT), they conclude inline cloud defenses are required and end up participating in the SWG replacement or upgrade project with networking and security teams. Controlling unapproved and unintentional data movement, plus cloud-enabled threats and cloud phishing all become part of the required capabilities for SWG, while a web-only legacy SWG solution faces change or extinction. 

What are the key consolidation and expense reductions for SASE architecture  for network and security transformations?

By embracing SASE to create a secure network edge, enterprises can better address an increasingly remote workforce and the migration of apps and data to the cloud. This allows organizations to reduce their reliance on costly, legacy WAN architectures with their complex routing, extensive traffic “hairpinning” or backhauling, and the added latency that comes with these architectures. Ultimately, these legacy approaches lead to sacrifices on performance for the sake of security, which ends up slowing down business and impacting productivity. 

With cloud-native security and networking approaches like Netskope’s, customers can simply and easily tap the cloud for security and data protection, go direct-to-net to cut WAN costs by up to 65%, possibly in conjunction with SD-WAN investments and larger network transformation efforts. With this approach, traffic routing is simplified, backhauling eliminated, and the legacy WAN can be reserved for only the most critical apps or redundancy if desirable. By leveraging extensive peering and interconnectedness like Netskope has done with NewEdge for example directly peering with Microsoft, customers don’t need to sacrifice performance and good user experience to achieve security since connections are optimized to the web, cloud and SaaS apps that users care about. Plus having the right knobs to determine if traffic, like with Office 365, gets bypassed or inspected is important to give customers the control they may require.  On this topic, some customers realize they can eliminate expensive private links, like Express Routes in addition to their MPLS WAN links, which opens the door for additional infrastructure savings and network simplification. And as organizations embrace Zero Trust approaches, there are opportunities for augmenting traditional VPN investments, to both protect against inbound attacks and risk of lateral movement (which VPNs are notoriously vulnerable to), while tailoring app access to specific users, regardless of what device or where those users are accessing from. 

What is the difference between Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) and Zero Trust? 

Zero Trust is a security concept centered around the belief that organizations should never trust users or devices attempting to access data and systems within the network until their legitimacy has been verified. It is designed to enable least privilege access, narrowly limiting the application or resource a user or device can connect to. This protects data from unauthorized use and limits the impact of breaches perpetrated by malicious insiders or compromised accounts. Zero Trust can be applied to many areas of IT infrastructure and architecture, however when the principle of Zero Trust is used to control access to internal data and resources from outside the organization then this is Zero Trust Network Access. ZTNA is best delivered from a cloud-native platform like Netskope’s, as this avoids any backhauling or hairpinning of remote access traffic through data centers when accessing private applications in the cloud. ZTNA’s ability to be deployed in the cloud, provide secure access to applications in the cloud for internal employees and external partners/contractors alike, and enable people to work-from-anywhere, are the reasons it is a core component of a SASE architecture.

Still looking for more from SASE Week? 

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Sasi Murthy
Sasi is an accomplished marketing leader in the security space. While Sasi is currently the VP of Product and Solutions Marketing, she brings more than 20 years of experience in roles including product management, program office, and marketing, around the tech and cybersecurity industry.