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Corporate environments are evolving quickly, and the recent shift towards remote and hybrid work models due to COVID-19 is just the most obvious example of this. The modern enterprise network looks very different from that of even ten years ago, and security is playing catch-up.
Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) offers security designed for the modern enterprise, including native support for remote work. SASE combines networking and security functions into a single cloud service. This combination not only improves the security of the network but makes it faster and more scalable as well.
In recent years, I’ve seen a surge of interest in SASE as organizations start looking for ways to upgrade their infrastructure to support their remote workforce and achieve their goals of implementing zero trust security. However, adopting SASE means that an organization needs to make major changes in how its network operates and is secured. Below are five steps to help you make your SASE adoption process as smooth and painless as possible.Join our webinar: The Evolution of Remote Access: From VPN to ZTNA to SASE
#1. Know your Users and their Applications
When planning your SASE migration, it’s important to keep your users in mind. Every organization has a unique user base, and these users and their needs will determine the required configuration for SASE. If you don’t know how your IT environment is used on a daily basis, it is much harder to secure it.
One of the core benefits of SASE is its support for zero trust security, which requires access controls to be defined based upon business needs. Understanding the structure and use cases of your IT environment is essential for ensuring a smooth migration to SASE and building effective test plans to verify services post-cutover.
#2. Know your Security Policies and Regulatory Compliance Obligations
In recent years, the regulatory landscape has exploded. New laws like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) add further obligations and security requirements for organizations. When designing your SASE Architecture, it’s important to keep these regulations and corporate security policies in mind.
With the recent rise in remote work, it is essential to ensure that your SASE solution is properly set up to support a secure remote workforce. This includes configuring ZTNA/SDP to provide remote access to corporate resources while maintaining compliance with data protection regulations and corporate security policies.
#3. Prepare for the Unknown and Unexpected
The primary goal of SASE security is to simplify and streamline security by consolidating multiple functions into a single service. This enables security teams to have full visibility into their network architecture.
With this increased visibility comes the potential to discover previously unknown security issues within an organization’s IT environment. As you make the migration over to SASE, be prepared to investigate and remediate previously unknown issues, such as security breaches, poorly performing Internet circuits, shadow IT services, and unintentionally permitted traffic flows.
#4. Bring in the ‘A-Team’
A migration to SASE is a complete overhaul of an organization’s IT and security infrastructure. SASE replaces legacy security appliances with a cloud-based, fully-integrated solution. When making this transition, it is vital to engage all stakeholders in the process. This includes internal IT, external contractors, channel partners, MSPs, etc.
By bringing in all of these parties from the very beginning, an organization ensures a smoother transition to SASE. Stakeholders can identify and plan for use cases and business needs from the beginning rather than discovering them later in the process.
#5. Get Ready for Things to Get Better
After making the move, your organization will be able to take full advantage of the benefits of SASE. SASE optimizes both networking and security infrastructure, meaning that your environment will not only be more secure but more agile and efficient as well.
After migrating to SASE, IT will also be freed of the tedious and time consuming maintenance of disparate point solutions, freeing up their time to focus on core business needs.
The Road to SASE Starts Here
If you’re just starting out on your SASE journey, I recommend checking out SASE for Dummies book, which provides a solid grounding on SASE and its benefits to the organization. From there, you can pursue a SASE Expert Certification and build the skills that you will need to effectively implement SASE within your organization.