Secure access service edge (SASE) architecture rolls networking and security into a cloud service, making it easier for enterprises to provide simple, secure access to corporate resources, but it’s still in its infancy. Vendors and service providers sell offerings that they call SASE, but what they actually provide and how they provide it varies widely.
SASE—pronounced “sassy”- is a term coined last year by Gartner, and it combines software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) with access control and security, all bundled as a cloud service.
SASE is expected to grow significantly and rapidly, with Dell’Oro Group projecting it to have a compounded annual growth rate of 116% from 2019 to 2024. And the COVID-19 crisis has “absolutely” accelerated that momentum, says Gartner analyst Nat Smith. Gartner, which projects that 60% of SD-WAN customers will have moved to SASE by 2024, compared with about 35% in 2020.
Potential benefits include easier network and security management, flexibility to scale up or down as business needs require, and lower costs. “SASE is one of those technologies that gives you the ability to be able to better handle disruptions in the future,” Smith says.
Gartner presents a lengthy list of technologies and features that might be included in a SASE service including latency optimization, routing, caching, deduplication and geographic restrictions. On the security side, Gartner includes data loss prevention, web application firewalls, threat detection, encryption, and remote browser isolation among others.
There is no minimum set of these elements that must be included in order for a service to be considered true SASE, says Smith. “It’s more of a framework than an architecture,” he says. “If you’re going through a checklist, then you’re missing what SASE is about. It’s more about evolution.”