Wide area networking (WAN) is a traditional networking solution based on multi-protocol label switching (MPLS). In such solutions, the reliability of the connection depends upon pre-defined communicating nodes. But these high-performance networking links between the two sites face limited bandwidths along with some other physical constrains. Hardware defined pre-setup in WAN is the major reason to shift towards a software defined – wide area networking (SD–WAN) solution.
Software Defined – Wide Area Networking (SD–WAN)
In SD-WAN, our reliability over the dedicated hardware circuits is minimised, and we can achieve the same networking performance without relying on the pre-defined hardware setups. It chooses an optimal path for incoming traffic through software defined networking from multiple transport sources like mobile networks, data sources and broadband, etc. Each connection request is assigned with a specific bandwidth and latency through specific routing according to the needs of the application. It manages multiple network connections in economical ways beneficial in a business perspective by giving the same performance as the multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) technique provides in wide area networking (WAN).
Decoupling of networking hardware from its controlling techniques simplifies our traditional WAN solution in the form of SD-WAN. This new concept makes management of our data centres more efficient. In this way, small and medium sized companies manage to get high performance WAN networks at a lower cost. Companies having their computer networks in different office branches located across significant distances use WAN to give their computer networks access to the main data centre. But this technique has many physical constraints of propagation over large distances, sometimes outside international boundaries, associated with it. SD-WAN provides a solution for all such problems by controlling application-level policies through the enhancement of traditional branch routers to virtualisation appliances. By providing a network overlay, it acts as an optimal circuit.
Getting SASE with SD–WAN
But the journey does not end here. Software defined – wide area networking (SD-WAN) is being turned into secure access service edge, mainly known as SASE, due to its security compilation with wide area networking. In big networking chains with data centres being at the centre point, data security becomes crucial for the protection of data as traffic from multiple nodes comes through. Secure access service edge (SASE) provides a simplified WAN solution integrated with security solutions for data, cloud applications and mobiles. All the traffic from different sources, over long distances, is sent to one data centre to access the centralised data. Over time, there are problems of latency and backhauling in the system when globally dispersed users use cloud applications. SASE provides a solution for this latency problem caused by backhauling through the integration of SD-WAN with different security platforms like secure web gateways, cloud access security brokers, virtual private networking, antivirus/malware inspection, firewalls and data loss prevention. It is done at the network edge through a single cloud service. This is how SD–WAN has given rise to the development of SASE for enhanced security protocols.
For mobile and cloud enabled enterprises, SASE architecture has numerous benefits with key features. As secure access service edge (SASE) has reduced the cloud model to a single vendor, when compared to the previous design of multiple appliances at multiple locations, we can say that SASE has reduced the complexity, both in architectural design from a security perspective and by centralising data centres for both private and public user nodes.
Secure access service edge (SASE) has centralised data centres for both private and public sources in a generalised cloud that can be accessed from any resource, at any location, by any entity. Previously, that was based on the corporate data centre being accessed with latency caused by backhauling.
Secure access service edge (SASE) is also cost efficient in many ways. Due to a reduction of appliances in both physical and virtual branches, it has become an economical solution for small and medium sized enterprises. Cost reductions are also carried out by maintenance and the minimalistic hardware through software defined – wide area networking (SD-WAN).
A latency issue caused by backhauling has been sorted out by secure access service edge (SASE) through integration with SD–WAN, and enhanced performance of service applications has been achieved. This is beneficial for collaborative applications that are sensitive to latency, and for latency-sensitive videos as well. In this way, SASE has enhanced the overall systematic performance of the network.
As we have observed, the minimalistic design and simplistic approach in secure access service edge (SASE) solutions due to the software defined nature of SD–WAN have made its implementation easy and reduced the number of software agents and applications required to provide a user with a consistent experience.
Secure access service edge (SASE) provides security to all the WAN connections and WAN security functions through a single cloud service. When SASE adapts to any security threat, it adapts to all the public and private edges, making connections secure. That is why SASE is considered to provide consistent security for data protection through a single cloud service, which is developed from SD–WAN.
SASE as a service upgrade for existing SD–WAN capabilities
SASE is not considered new technology, nor a new product, by some of the analysts, but rather a combination of existing technology with some cool managerial updates. It is a smart managerial upgrade into an existing SD–WAN solution. SASE combines enhanced security with SD–WAN capabilities and delivers them as a service. That is why it is generally considered as a security upgrade of the existing SD–WAN solution.
But due to its extraordinary and economical solutions at a corporate level, this smart management has made it appeal enough to hold the market. This is the reason we have observed a market trend shifting from SD-WAN towards SASE as a substitution of WAN. But SD-WAN is still a big complementary technology in contrast to SASE along with some other technologies such as network as a service (NaaS), next generation firewall (NGF) and firewall as a service (FWaaS).
According to Gartner, SASE is an emerging market with big vendors offering a SASE portfolio, which are Cisco, Cloudflare, Akamai, Palo Alto Networks, Symantec, Cato Networks, VMware and Netskope. Gartner also expects that some of the big cloud providers will also move towards SASE in this category because the future of network security is in the cloud. This is the major reason we have seen a complete shift of the wide area network (WAN) towards software defined – wide area network (SD-WAN) to decouple networking hardware from its controlling techniques and switch towards smart and simplified software defined solutions.
Now, after significant achievements in SD-WAN, our existing technology is moving towards further upgradation in the form of secure access service edge (SASE), which is not a new technology but a smart managerial upgradation of an existing SD–WAN solution. SASE combines SD–WAN capabilities with enhanced security and delivers them as a service. That is why it should be considered as a security upgradation of the existing SD–WAN solution. It would not be wrong if it were considered as the future of our networking technology based on a centralised cloud.
If you would like more information on how to implement SASE or request a Proof-of-Concept then have a look at our Managed SASE solution.