Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) is a security framework connecting users, endpoint systems, and devices to applications and services, that requires solid attention to design, integration, and management.
Here are some key strategies businesses should consider for an effective SASE deployment.
Assess Crucial Capabilities and Conduct a Gap Analysis
SASE represents a framework for securely connecting users and endpoint systems. Therefore, enterprises need to assess the capabilities and resources required for a current, converged network and security architecture. This helps businesses to invest time to take stock of the environment to procure a complete view of the assets to assess which on-premises hardware should be phased out, in favor of cloud-based SASE capabilities.
Also Read: Organizations adopting ‘SASE’ to fight Security issues in Hybrid work mode
Additionally, a gap analysis allows businesses to compare the current to the desired state. Identifying gaps in the current network helps companies to gauge the technology stack’s relative maturity and define which resources should be prioritized ahead of a SASE implementation. At the same time, gap help systematically identify potential vulnerabilities and design flaws early in the process, establishing a blueprint for planning future re-design or expansion efforts. Since SASE cuts down the network and security function efforts, businesses must analyze human resource gaps to ensure appropriate cross-functional competencies are in robust alignment.
Develop KPIs and Operational Metrics
Businesses need to invest time in determining the metrics that can be measured for the ongoing operations and the services being delivered. While key performance indicators (KPIs) for a robust technology like SASE can be challenging to define and can overlap with the existing network and security metrics. Therefore, it is vital to develop SASE-specific KPIs to drive consensus among all of the core stakeholders. SASE-specific KPIs include mean time to detect (MTTD) and mean time to respond (MTTR), network latency, packet loss, and help desk response time.
Establishing clear metrics will help safeguard executive buy-in, which will be critical to the initiative’s long-term success.
Establish A Staged Roadmap with Milestones
Businesses need to establish a well-defined roadmap to ensure uniformity among stakeholders. A complete SASE deployment can be complex and entail a great deal of uncertainty. Therefore, there might be other options than developing a detailed project plan at the outset. Companies need to start by simply defining the key stages and milestones and backfilling as the project progresses. For an effective SASE implementation, Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) acts as an initial starting point as it allows for application-level access versus full network access representing a robust approach for securing a distributed workforce. This can have an immediate impact on reducing security risks and known vulnerabilities. Additionally, some vital stages in the SASE roadmap include upgrading the current wide-area network to a modern SD-WAN with an updated policy enforcement engine via the adoption of a cloud access security broker (CASB) and a secure web gateway (SWG).
Also Read: Operant Networks Emerges from Stealth Mode with SASE Energy OT Solution
Analyze Vendors and Initiate Consolidation
A single vendor can only a meet part of the spectrum of SASE functionality, while some vendors specialize in security and others in networking capabilities. Therefore, businesses need to evaluate vendors with a broad set of capabilities with a well-established partner ecosystem. An average enterprise consists of several separate point solutions within its security environment. Hence, businesses need to consider various solutions that are being utilized in the environment. Consolidating the number of vendors and solutions enables businesses to minimize operating costs with robust efficiency gains that come with reduced complexity. With minimal vendors to manage, businesses can troubleshoot issues faster, asserting greater control across the environment.
As per a recent report by Gartner, “2022 Strategic Roadmap for SASE Convergence“, by 2025, 80% of businesses will have a robust strategy to unify web, cloud services, and private application access using a SASE/SSE architecture, while 50% of SD-WAN purchases will be of a single vendor SASE offering. Hence, businesses need to establish an effective SASE architecture by adhering to best practices for deployment and management.
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