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How Sassy (SASE) Is Your Network?

Four Steps Toward Securing Your Digital Transformation

The term SASE, pronounced ‘sassy,’ is kind of cute, isn’t it? But secure access service edge (SASE) is a serious focus for organizations seeking to protect their data in the cloud, across the Internet, and within private networks.

In its Research Note, “The Future of Network Security Is in the Cloud,” global IT research and advisory firm Gartner defined SASE as “a converged cloud-delivered secure access service edge.”

Why is this security edge so important in defending data?

Best practice security is multi-layered, and establishes security intricacies along the way, seamless and nonintrusive to the digital user experience, but which effectively make it difficult for malicious parties including bots to breach the network.

Whether you believe in the cute SASE term or not, the edge (aka your network endpoint connections) is integral in perimeter security and for protecting against threats, the spread of malware, loss of control, and massive contamination and business damage. The edge is almost always the initial point of digital infection; a vector for infiltration.

In what Gartner characterized as its early stages of adoption, SASE is being driven by digital transformation, the adoption of cloud-based services, software-as-a-service (SaaS), and mobile and distributed workforces. We have to connect to do our jobs, but along the way, we might ingest malware, which can lay dormant, waiting to spread. Spoofing the identity, looking for that next jump… We all know those unfortunate individuals on Facebook, whose identities have been used to spread contagious links.

Understanding the risk that comes with digital business growth, you definitely want to filter all this traffic coming into your network, so you might run it back through your on-premises security appliances and over network resources. This eats up a lot of network bandwidth and costs more than use of the public internet, IaaS, and the cloud.

SASE enables organizations to overcome this difficult security-versus-Internet-access tradeoff; this business transformation hurdle.

SASE Business Drivers

Why get SASE in your security approach?

When the data center is the center of your network universe, it can inhibit transformational business architectures. A social, non-engineering side of your “network” wants to grow: A workforce cost-effectively using the Internet to amplify business potential, and partners and customers plugging into your network, making transactions. But amid all these new connection points, is it really your network anymore? It’s understandable to have sudden network blind spots as connections outside your visibility test you for access versus maintaining digital security.

Gartner reports, “More users, devices, applications, services and data are located outside of an enterprise than inside.”

How do you encrypt and inspect all this traffic and filter all those packets and links before you allow them into the business’s bloodstream?

Rather than hairpin traffic back through your datacenter, smart and more cost-efficient network service can be achieved through software-defined networking (SDN) and SD-WAN deployments that are secured through the infusion of security-as-a-service from the cloud.

Why Evaluate OPAQ SASE?

Digital business transformation requires anywhere, all-the-time access to business IT services, many now located in the cloud.

OPAQ enables organizations to:

  1. Shift inspections out to the session layer vs. routing the sessions to software engines that have to centrally inspect and then reroute communications. Network traffic and sensitive data storage is shifting to cloud platforms vs. enterprise data centers. Why haul it all in for costly inspection when the OPAQ SASE cloud provides a safe, cost-effective barrier?
  2. Get over the business transformational hurdle of risk aversion. Use SD-WAN and MPLS backhaul offload projects as catalysts to modernize and optimize security through enterprising software-defined perimeters. Cloud-based SASE offerings heavily reduce the need to update security at the physical or software level. Network and IT staff won’t have to spend all their time setting up equipment and performing maintenance and instead can focus on business transformation, business tools, privacy requirements, as well as advanced, next-generation security schemas.
  3. Reduce network security complexity by moving to one or two third-party providers for the key components of SASE: i.e., secure web gateways, DNS, zero trust network access (ZTNA), and workstation segmentation. This favorable software portfolio reduction can reduce agent bloat and performance issues at the end-user level. OPAQ also provides the requisite peering partnerships critical for points of presence, reducing latency for performance-sensitive apps such as video, web conferencing and VoIP.
  4. Easily bolster network segmentation to avoid kill-shots as you connect with new data sources as part of digital business transformation. OPAQ protects your organization with separate secure tunnels for: A) private enterprise data access (through MFA and monitoring for sensitive data and malware) and B) always-on protection for remote employees surfing the web for business connections and while on public WiFi.

OPAQ delivers the core SASE components to protect your digital business transformation investment:

  • Secure Web Gateways
  • Firewall-as-a-service (FWaaS)
  • Leading advanced endpoint protection and segmentation
  • ZTNA (Zero Trust network architecture)
  • CASB capabilities

Enterprise data centers, which traditionally scrubbed the network from contagion, aren’t suddenly vanishing; they just aren’t the center of the universe anymore when it comes to granting secure access. To protect endpoint connections, SASE clouds can drift more flexibly and cost-effectively to secure the fluctuating perimeter

Get secure where the user requires access with OPAQ.

Download the Secure Network Modernization white paper

Download the Securing Remote Workers solution brief

Why Firewall-as-a-Service Makes Sense for Your Growing, Distributed Network

It’s true that cloud adoption won’t eliminate all your IT infrastructure equipment at every office. But this doesn’t mean you have to stock up on big-ticket items such as servers, single-purpose routers, switches, security appliances, datacenter square footage, power and cooling, plus manpower, at every new site your organization operates.

Enterprises have traditionally established IT infrastructure within each branch office for the purpose of connecting remote workers with the headquarters, branch offices, and the Internet. This approach typically requires the procurement of an assortment of network, server and security equipment, which is expensive to acquire, manage, maintain and store.

Your branch offices don’t have to be so equipment-intensive and space-eating anymore. Cloud infrastructure is a viable way to grow and secure your network rapidly and efficiently, without having to build out and maintain the infrastructure yourself. You see, cloud infrastructure can flex to the needs of organizations large and small, thanks to a dozen or more years of investment, innovation and proven value. The cloud has led to shared efficiencies, where even the smallest of businesses can tap into and harness the pre-built infrastructure for networking, software, web presence, billing, and more, via providers such as Amazon, Microsoft, Salesforce, Shopify, and countless others.

Similarly, security services can be hosted in the cloud, where smart traffic orchestration and advanced protection capabilities can be deployed instantly across your distributed network, without complex and costly onsite maintenance.

Firewall in the Cloud: Why Firewall-as-a-Service?

Bolting security into your existing network infrastructure can be a massive, complex and costly task that never ends, including for organizations already doing business in the cloud or those grappling with multicloud environments where the juxtaposing concepts of a tight perimeter and accessibility can foil one another. A firewall can solve some of these tradeoffs through packet filtering, TCP/IP monitoring, and advanced traffic inspection, but the traditional equipment-centric approach hinders the ability and agility of companies to keep ahead of fast-evolving security threats that can cross Internet gateways and gain access to the private network.

Firewall-as-a-service (FWaaS) is a digitally transformative alternative that dispenses the need for physical firewalls at every remote site and enables an organization or managed service provider to simplify security operations in the cloud, where cost and efficiency advantages such as shared economy of scale (multitenancy) and rapid service delivery reside.

Additional advantages of FWaaS include centralized control, easy and consistent distribution of the latest generation of security capabilities, scalability beyond on-site hardware limits, and more-predictable cost and budgeting.

Reduction of security hardware management and maintenance – By supporting multiple branch offices and remote workers through a flexible cloud-based firewall approach, IT management teams are likely to see hardware acquisition and recurring maintenance costs go down. OPAQ Firewall-as-a-Service empowers organizations to reduce the amount of network edge devices they procure, support and replace, and instead realize a predictable security investment that is right-sized for them. OPAQ clients have reduced costs by as much as 40%, and are better able to leverage their limited security personnel for essential security priorities.

Central management and consistency – Through a single cloud console, FWaaS offers consistent security policy management across multiple offices/locations and remote users. Network and IT security managers can route traffic through policy enforcement checkpoints in the cloud to ensure protection and performance of communications and attachments between your offices, ISPs, the public Internet and more.

Faster deployment and ongoing updates of advanced security – OPAQ Firewall-as-a-Service is next-generation protection powered by Palo Alto Networks, a leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Firewalls for seven consecutive years. The OPAQ Firewall-as-a-Service model enables organizations and managed service providers to deploy advanced security capabilities across the network without the need for time-consuming onsite device reconfiguration. Initial deployment, timely security updates and customized subscriptions become less time-consuming and less costly. Once deployed, the addition of new features — such as moving from antivirus inspection to file sandboxing or decrypting SSL —no longer relies on the size and capacity of the firewall appliance at a specific site.

Firewall-as-a-service represents a smart, fast and efficient way to fluidly administer the latest, most comprehensive protection across your network and vulnerable points of ingress and egress.

To find out more, read the Firewall-as-a-Service solution brief in our resources section.