Why SASE will help the new standard of working together

Cloud technology has revolutionized the world of business, and it can be found in almost every modern business function. Collaboration between geographically dispersed colleagues, third-party providers, and business partners has never been easier, yet security challenges involving the cloud still exist. So, what remedies do organizations have? Sundaram Lakshmanan, Chief Technology Officer, Lookout, Inc. Think SASE solutions.

There is no denying that cloud technology has revolutionized the world of business, and it can be found as a force for almost every modern business function. As organizations embrace a new world of work-from-anywhere, work-from-home policies to lower office rental costs and expand globally, cloud has, in many ways, enabled these business transformations. Collaboration between geographically dispersed colleagues, third-party providers, and business partners has never been easier, but it presents its own set of security challenges involving the cloud.

Say goodbye to traditional IT security

Data that resided in the workplace was historically protected using traditional security methods such as hardware firewalls and device-level security controls, but these are becoming more and more outdated, due to how information is accessed and shared remotely outside of the traditional perimeter. As organizations become increasingly dependent on the cloud, these traditional IT security strategies are losing relevance in the modern business context. Therefore, attention must be paid to improving the security of the cloud, especially at the network edge, where attackers take advantage of vulnerabilities in the enterprise infrastructure to exploit, demand ransom payments, threaten to leak data and cause downtime.

We’ve seen a record number of data breaches, cyberattacks, and ransomware incidents in 2022, and the daily headlines are probably spammy. However, they serve as a much-needed reminder that we have yet to tackle security as companies continue their digital transformations, prioritizing usability and efficiency over security. Many organizations struggle to understand the idea that data is at risk everywhere.

As part of every security strategy covering aspects of data protection and visibility is critical. Therefore, having defenses in place that keep critical assets secure, no matter where they are located or who is accessing them, is essential to ensuring safe collaboration between employees in the workspace. However, this does not mean that one should put data under lock and key. Doing so will not allow workers to perform their jobs or cooperate, which will negatively affect productivity. A middle ground must be created that allows contextual information to keep data secure while enabling access and use by those who need it.

To truly reap the benefits of the cloud, security must be appropriate for the environment, and one answer to the question of improving security for the modern enterprise is the Secure Access Services Edge (SASE) framework, which is designed to address these challenges.

Understand SASE

The SASE concept is a framework built with the modern hybrid business model in mind because the traditional perimeter, or “edge,” of an enterprise network has expanded beyond the four concrete walls. SASE brings security and network capabilities together within the cloud so that access and security can be done seamlessly.

For example, apps or mobile devices used by workers will have default security policies in place. Knowing if they are all enabled is its own battle, and for an enterprise security team checking each one individually would be resource intensive. Furthermore, many of the mobile devices used are likely to be personal or unmanaged, which means that any chances the organization has to enforce security policies would be a futile exercise. As a result, the security team has no visibility into what could pose a threat nor who is trying to access the data.

Traditionally, if an organization wanted security from the endpoint to the cloud, it needed to buy stand-alone tools that solve specific problems. But this creates complexity and inefficiency. Nor does it address data security in its entirety.

In an ideal situation, the overall view of all devices would be visible to the security team providing information on location, device type, data being accessed as well as user behavior, once the user is logged into the system.

Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) and Trustless Network Access (ZTNA) solutions allow you to do this across cloud, private or on-premises infrastructure and applications. Another component of SASE is Secure Web Gateways (SWGs) that provide visibility and control over access to shadow-IT. By adding an endpoint protection layer, security teams will be able to receive contextual signals from mobile devices and enable uniform security policies across the entire infrastructure. Moreover, with contextual information, security teams will know that only secure users and devices can access critical assets. These core tools make up SASE strategy and are available to high-volume organizations, especially those struggling to stay secure in the new hybrid business world of a cloud-first environment.

See more: SASE is greater than the sum of its parts

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The implementation of the SASE strategy will help to combine several security solutions under one banner. Previously, organizations would buy tools so customized for specific use cases that they became unmanageable by the security team. Another challenge may arise when vendors sell these solutions – ZTNA, CASB and SWG – separately, which can lead to integration issues.

This is negated by the standardized SASE approach, and to test whether the platform is properly integrated, one must evaluate monitoring capabilities and policy implementation. An effective SASE solution provides clear scope for user behavior and potential security risks to endpoint devices while also allowing for consistent policies to be deployed and enforced across all applications, devices, and software with Internet access.

Deploying security delivered through the cloud is now critical for organizations in this modern age of business. Cloud and SaaS applications have certainly been beneficial to business operations, and it is in the best interest of organizations to adapt to these technology changes to increase productivity and agility in order to stay competitive. Likewise, an effective security strategy that has been deployed will help maintain this feature.

Simplifying security is a huge advantage as organizations look for new means to save costs, especially as challenging economic times anticipate. Instead of having to juggle multiple dashboards, systems, and technologies, security teams can now focus on, monitor, and implement policies from a single platform. Bringing vision, efficiency, and security into a single strategy is a focus for many organizations in the non-peripheral world of work, and the SASE framework makes it possible.

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