Digital transformation is a buzzword but it’s also a primary goal of many organizations. With the ability to see past the pandemic, many organizations are looking forward to how they can grow into the future.
The ongoing evolution of technology means that these organizations have many options to choose from. However, securing these new devices and environments is also a primary consideration. To effectively build security into their digital transformation strategies, companies need to know what is SASE and how it can support improved visibility and security for the modern enterprise.
Inside The Digital Transformation Landscape
Businesses have adopted a variety of new technologies in recent years, and this trend is only expected to grow in the near future. Some examples of common elements of digital transformation initiatives include:
- Cloud Computing: Cloud adoption has become common with almost all organizations using at least some cloud-based services. In most cases, these cloud investments are multi-cloud deployments, meaning that corporate IT infrastructure is spread across multiple different vendor environments.
- Remote Work: The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of telework, which allowed many organizations to continue business as usual through the pandemic. In the wake of COVID-19, many organizations have seen the benefits of telework and plan to indefinitely support remote work at least part-time for some employees.
- Internet of Things (IoT) Devices: IoT devices offer increased efficiency by allowing centralized monitoring and management of remote sites and systems. With the growth of 5G networks (which offer higher data speeds and support for more dense collections of devices), corporate IoT adoption is expected to grow significantly in coming years.
- Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Policies: Many employees are happier and more efficient when they are allowed to work from the devices that they feel most comfortable with. The increased efficiency and accessibility of the workforce have led many organizations to adopt BYOD policies, especially for remote workers.
All of these changes have the potential to improve an organization’s ability to do business. However, they also represent a significant change from how organizations are used to doing business, which comes with a number of security considerations.
The Challenges of Enterprise Visibility and Security
Organizations invest in a number of different technologies as part of their digital transformation efforts. However, many of the major trends in digital transformation have at least one major thing in common: they break the perimeter.
Cloud computing, remote work, and IoT and Bring your own device (BYOD) devices all involve devices with business data that connect to networks outside the corporate LAN (at least occasionally).
This becomes a problem because the network perimeter is a core element of many organizations’ cybersecurity strategies. Historically, all corporate devices and data were connected directly to the enterprise LAN, meaning that the network perimeter was the barrier between the “trusted” internal network and the “untrusted” Internet.
By deploying security solutions at the network perimeter, organizations could monitor traffic crossing this barrier, enabling them to detect and block many inbound threats and outbound data exfiltration.
Today, a growing percentage of an organization’s business traffic no longer naturally flows through this network perimeter. Remote workers accessing cloud-based resources can do so directly without needing to pass through the traditional perimeter and its associated security solutions.
This shift leaves organizations with traditional perimeter-based security deployments with a difficult choice. They can either backhaul all business traffic through the corporate network for security inspection at the cost of network performance or sacrifice network visibility and security for the sake of performance. Either of these options hurts the organization’s ability to do business effectively.
SASE Provides a Security Designed for the Modern Business
As organizations invest in improving and modernizing their IT infrastructure, it makes sense to do the same for their security as well. Secure access service edge (SASE) provides a solution to the security challenges created by digital transformation efforts.
SASE implements software-defined WAN (SD-WAN), a networking solution that optimizes traffic routing between SASE points of presence (PoPs). Since SASE is deployed as a cloud-native appliance (allowing PoPs to be located geographically near common traffic sources and destinations), this enables SASE to ensure high network performance for business traffic.
However, unlike traditional security solutions, this enhanced performance does not come at the cost of network visibility and security. Each SASE PoP integrates a full security stack, allowing an organization to monitor, secure, and enforce policies on all traffic flowing over the SASE network.
With a high-performance SASE network, an organization can route all business traffic over the corporate WAN with minimal impacts on network latency and performance. If the SASE network is built on dedicated links, it may even be faster than routing traffic directly to its destination over broadband Internet.
At the same time, an organization has the visibility and security needed to secure the new technology deployed as part of its digital transformation efforts.