Wide Area Networking (WAN)
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 the pre-definition of communicating nodes. But these high-performance networking links between the two sites face limited bandwidths and have some other physical constraints. Hardware defined pre-setup is the primary cause in WAN 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, dedicated Internet access, broadband, etc. Each connection request is assigned with specific bandwidth and latency through specific routing according to the application’s need. It manages multiple network connections in economical ways beneficial from 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 the management of our data centres more efficient. In this way, small and medium-sized companies can get high-performance WAN networks at a lower cost. Companies having their computer networks in different office branches located far apart use WAN to give their computer networks access to the primary data centre. But this technique associates with it many physical constraints of propagation over large distances, sometimes outside international boundaries. SD-WAN provides a solution for all such problems by controlling application-level policies by enhancing traditional branch routers to virtualisation appliances. By providing a network overlay, it acts as an optimal circuit.
Secure Access Service Edge (SASE)
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 to protect traffic from multiple nodes. Secure access service edge (SASE) provides a simplified WAN solution integrated with a security solution for data, cloud applications and remote users. All the traffic from different sources over long distances is sent to one data centre to access centralised data. Over time, there are latency and backhauling problems in the system when users are globally dispersed and are using cloud applications. SASE provides a solution for this latency problem caused by backhauling by integrating SD-WAN with different security platforms like secure web gateways, cloud access security brokers, virtual private networking, antivirus/malware inspection, firewall and data loss prevention. It is done at the network edge through a single cloud service.
For mobile users 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 and security perspectives by centralising data centres for both private and public user nodes.
Secure access service edge (SASE) has centralised data centres for 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. The reduction of appliances in both physical and virtual branches becomes an economical solution for small and medium-sized enterprises. The minimal maintenance and minimalistic hardware also incur a cost reduction through software defined-wide area networking (SD-WAN).
As a latency issue caused by backhauling has been sorted out by secure access service edge (SASE), the performance of service applications has been enhanced. This is beneficial for collaborative applications that are sensitive to latency and latency-sensitive videos as well. In this way, SASE has improved the overall systematic performance of the network.
As we have observed, minimalistic design and a simplistic approach in secure access service edge (SASE) solutions make its implementation easy, and a reduced number of software agents and apps are required to provide the user with a consistent experience.
Secure access service edge (SASE) provides security to all the wide area network connections and WAN security functions through a single cloud service. When SASE adapts to any security threat, it also 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.
SD-WAN Going SASE
SASE is not considered new technology or a new product by some analysts, it is rather a combination of existing technology with some cool managerial updates. But due to its great and economical solutions at the corporation level, this smart management has made it appealing enough to hold the market. This is why we have observed a market trend shifting from SD-WAN towards SASE as a substitution of WAN and SD-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 prominent vendors offering the SASE portfolio: 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 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. After the achievement in SD-WAN, our existing technology will further upgrade access service edge (SASE), which is the future of our networking technology based on the centralised cloud.