The 5 foundational SASE components for client-to-cloud security

Discover the five core Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) components that can help ensure a smooth digital transformation for your organization.

5 minute read time

Enterprises are turning to Secure Access Service Edge (SASE)—an emerging “as a Service” framework enabling secure and reliable cloud adoption.

The reason for this is while the adoption of cloud services has benefited organizations tremendously, it has also revealed how complex network security really is. In fact, 86% of organizations expect to be impacted by a cyberattack within a year.1 Luckily, SASE is ideally configured to combat a multitude of cybersecurity threats.

Traditional network security models were designed to accommodate employee devices and systems that were located within the corporation’s direct perimeter. But these traditional assumptions no longer hold true.

A majority of the workforce now functions outside the office and organizations have become more reliant on systems that operate outside of an official office structure and traditional network edge security.

The SASE advantage

SASE allows organizations to deliver protected networking and security services by providing all workers full access to company applications and resources alongside a much simpler connectivity model for cloud-first enterprises, with security functions wherever they’re needed.

The 5 core components of SASE

According to Gartner, SASE is more than a single technology. It has five main components that embed networking and security capabilities into a “single-service, cloud-native model,” a new descriptor in the ever-evolving language of network edge security.

The core components of a SASE framework: FWaaS, SWG, ZTNA, CASB and SD-WAN

Component 1: Software-Defined Wide-Area Networking (SD-WAN)

SD-WAN is an architecture of connectivity that decouples networking hardware from a physical control layer. It benefits businesses by increasing network performance by offering a resilient and agile solution that enhances and simplifies WAN performance and management. SD-WAN also works together with SASE as an important underpinning for a robust solution.

SD-WAN benefit for SASE

SD-WAN reduces costs while supporting new applications and services resulting from digital transformation. The combination of SD-WAN with advanced security functions lays the foundation for businesses undergoing a SASE transformation.

Component 2: Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA)

ZTNA is based on the premise that nothing is trusted: not users, devices, data, workloads, locations or the network. ZTNA’s purpose within a SASE solution is to authenticate users to specific services or applications. In essence, it shifts the network’s security focus from traffic flow to identity to support today’s environment users and sensitive data, which can be located in an office, at home, in the cloud or on the road.

ZTNA benefit for SASE

ZTNA works within the framework of SASE to better secure remote and hybrid workforces in both cloud-based and on-premises services.

Component 3: Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB)

CASBs offer threat protection using adaptive access control (AAC) to provide user and entity behavior analysis and mitigate malware. In short, CASBs are a way for organizations to protect against cloud security risks, comply with data privacy regulations and enforce corporate security policies.

CASB benefit for SASE

The SASE architecture often includes CASB, because it provides visibility between users and their cloud services to apply security policies as they access cloud-based resources. This data security identifies and controls sensitive content using data loss prevention (DLP).

Component 4: Secure Web Gateway (SWG)

SWGs protect online devices from infection and enforce company policies in order to filter unwanted malware from user-initiated Internet traffic.

SWG benefit for SASE

A SASE solution that includes a SWG can offer cloud protection through a unified platform for complete visibility and precise control over web access while enforcing these security policies that protect users from harmful websites using URL filtering, application control, DLP, antivirus, sandboxing and SSL inspection.

Component 5: Firewall as a Service (FWaaS)

FWaaS is a firewall solution delivered as a cloud-based service. It provides hyperscale, next-generation firewall (NGFW) capabilities such as web filtering, advanced threat protection, intrusion prevention system (IPS) and Domain Name System (DNS) security.

FWaaS Benefit for SASE

FWaaS can be built into a SASE platform to deliver a wide range of network security features, whenever and wherever businesses need it.

How to implement a SASE framework in your organization

As the cloud era continues to redefine the business network, SASE (through its five core components) will enable organizations to deliver protected networking and security services for greater workforce mobility.

To implement a SASE framework in your organization, a step-by-step approach is encouraged.

Step 1: Plan your project

Defining the business goals your SASE will address and assessing what elements you’ll need are critical to launching your SASE framework. Consider what technology, processes and training are required to ensure successful implementation.

Step 2: Review what you have and what you need

Take a hard look at your existing network and infrastructure, including staff who work with them, and identify gaps that need to be addressed. A clearer understanding of these pieces will help you choose solutions that will benefit your organization most.

Step 3: Choose the right solutions (and vendors to supply and support them)

To implement a SASE solution, you’ll need an SD-WAN backbone that provides all networking functionality (including security) or a combination of SD-WAN and a Security Service Edge (SSE) solution that provides the same cloud-based security edge features. Since all SASE components need to work well together, be sure to prioritize integration when evaluating potential vendors.

Step 4: Stage, test and troubleshoot

Creating a staging and testing environment separate from the production environment is highly recommended before going live with a SASE deployment. It will allow for thorough integration and user acceptance testing as well as troubleshooting for any issues that arise without negatively affecting business operations.

Step 5: Monitor and optimize SASE as needed

With any successful SASE implementation, it’s important to monitor how it is being used and look for ways to improve and optimize. As infrastructures evolve, technology improves and your business grows, remember to evaluate regularly to see if additional functionalities could be added to your SASE framework.

The Windstream Enterprise difference

Windstream Enterprise is the first and only North American managed service provider to converge cloud-native network and security into a fully integrated SASE solution. This comprehensive architecture enables businesses to adapt to constantly shifting users, applications and work environments, while keeping all application and security policies synchronized with these changing endpoints—all from a single pane of glass.

Are you ready for SASE? Take our assessment.

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  1. Liu, Nancy Chenyizhi. “Trend Micro: 86% of Orgs Expect a Serious Cyberattack.” SDXCentral. August 4, 2021.