What’s SASE? A Comprehensive Guide to New Generation Security

Staples like on-premise servers and intrusion prevention have kept company networks safe for decades. However, changes in how we work and access company resources introduce new challenges legacy systems don’t have the means to handle. SASE promises to fuse network operation and advanced yet streamlined security into a holistic system that’s better for everyone.

What is SASE? How does it differ from the systems it seeks to replace? Are there drawbacks? Our in-depth guide will help you find out and reach an informed decision if and when the topic of adopting SASE comes up.

SASE and Its Role in Modern Network Security

SASE stands for Secure Access Service Edge. It’s a cloud-based security and networking management solution designed to allow secure network access. Before SASE, any remote connection would cause backhauled traffic towards a company’s data center.

Inspection in the new systems happens at a network’s edge, simplifying networking requirements and freeing up bandwidth. SASE came about as a reaction to a change in the way devices connect to and interact with corporate networks.

A centralized company network was the default. It made sense since everyone worked at their desk, and there were no external devices to consider. A shift towards remote and hybrid work started even before the pandemic. Still, that global event gave it the impetus to change the way employees perform their duties irreversibly.

Moreover, companies now have to account for the explosion of edge devices brought on by the IoT boom. All the new light switches, cameras, sensors, etc., are vulnerable entry points hackers could leverage to breach company systems.

Traditional network security hinges on establishing and maintaining a perimeter. Problems occur when that perimeter expands and weakens. That’s usually the case if users connect unsanctioned devices or when they do so remotely. SASE’s decentralized architecture lets it shift access to identity markers instead. It uses identifiers like expected locations and specific devices to enforce security.

What Makes Up SASE?

Consolidation of key networking and security services is at the heart of SASE. These are its primary components.


The Software-Defined Wide Area Network is an overlay that automates, secures, and directs network connections. It unifies different connection types (Broadband, LTE, MPLS, etc.) and optimizes how remote users, branch offices, and edge devices connect to a company’s network and the internet when needed.


Since businesses depend on and interact with ever more SaaS applications, there needs to be a method of minimizing risks while upholding security and regulatory compliance. The Cloud Access Security Broker is a point that exists between a company and SaaS applications used to oversee them and ensure the handling of any sensitive data.

FaaS and SNG

Preventing users from installing and using unauthorized applications or visiting undesirable sites becomes exponentially harder once they no longer work from the office. Integrating Firewall as a Service into the SASE platform ensures administrators retain full access control at the network level, allowing them to block malicious traffic originating from connected devices.

The Secure Network Gateway functions similarly but sets its sights on connections to the internet. It detects and filters online threats, prevents access to specific websites, and inspects applications for threats.


Zero Trust Network Access is the component responsible for comprehensive user classification and access management. It lets administrators create user categories with different privilege tiers. Users can view or interact with data, apps, etc., only when their authentication is successful.

Zero trust ensures they only get access to resources they need to do their jobs. Moreover, this practice minimizes the potential damage someone could cause even if they gain unauthorized access to a low-level account.

Why Should You Adopt SASE?

Improved security is the number one reason companies should consider switching over to SASE. Its multi-layer approach to connection security, authentication, and user monitoring, regardless of location, ensures SASE will become the new gold standard.

In the meantime, security solutions like VPN remain relevant and will persist even after SASE’s more widespread implementation. Legacy server-based VPNs aren’t as effective. Still, VPN-as-a-service will remain useful for providing encrypted connectivity to remote users.

SASE aims to be a catch-all solution, yet it plays nicely with established security practices. It’s still sound advice to use up-to-date antivirus and antimalware on endpoint devices. There’s also nothing stopping privacy-conscious individuals from using the Tor browser for internet access and benefiting from the combination of anonymity and security it and SASE provide.

Being cloud-based means a SASE solution is adaptable and scalable. This lets you maintain complete control and coverage as your needs grow. There are few (if any) hardware requirements, and users enjoy a simplified experience without network slowdowns associated with older technologies.

Since security and networking options are part of the same feature set, SASE offers a more cost-effective approach. Companies need fewer vendors to benefit from an equally effective solution. This lets networking and security teams assess needs and find redundancies. It allows them to cut ties with legacy vendors while cutting costs in acquiring and maintaining the required hardware and software.

What Challenges Does SASE Face?

SASE is a cutting-edge solution to new developments, so it’s bound to go through growing pains. Many companies with established systems will hesitate to switch to a cloud-based system and give up parts of their security autonomy.

Being a single multi-faceted service is both beneficial and challenging. Companies who opt into a SASE solution will have to deal with vendor lock-in since they can’t pick and choose individual firewalls, CASBs, etc. That also means the SASE provider needs to ensure exceptional uptimes and problem-free operation since a mishap on their end can leave thousands of clients vulnerable.

Environments will persist where transitioning to cloud-based network services completely will remain impractical. Regardless, security and networking departments will need to undergo restructuring since SASE requires knowledge of and close collaboration between these two branches for optimum results.


So, in simple terms, SASE is like a modern and efficient security guard for a company’s digital world. It makes sure everything is safe, no matter how or from where people are connecting. As new threats emerge and AI-assisted attacks become more widespread, security solutions like SASE will quickly transition from an intriguing concept to a necessary response. Weigh the pros and cons and consider the benefits SASE could bring to your organization.

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