E-Handbook: Can a SASE architecture deliver better network performance? Article 1 of 4

Consider SASE architecture to improve network performance

For decades, the data center has been the central environment for applications, routing and switching, firewalls, processing and more. But as enterprises increasingly rely on distributed devices and cloud-based resources that generate traffic outside their networks, traditional networking models that backhaul traffic to the data center are proving inefficient, opening the door for new architectures like Secure Access Service Edge, or SASE.

Most enterprises must connect and secure multiple dispersed endpoints that request access to the network. These endpoints include branch office appliances, IoT sensors, mobile users and SaaS applications. Each one of these has different requirements for connectivity and security, and disparate networking and security strategies further complicate the process.

While software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) technology eased some of these problems, it can't properly support mobile users or provide adequate security to distributed clients. That's where SASE architecture can make a difference.

SASE is a cloud-based platform that provides networking capabilities and security functionality directly to endpoints that connect to the platform. A single vendor offers the platform, which combines services such as routing, SD-WAN, firewalls and secure web gateways. SASE evaluates source identity and company policy to distribute the appropriate services to an endpoint. SASE moves away from a data-centric network design, instead considering the data center as another endpoint.

While SASE architecture represents a drastic shift away from traditional networking models, it is still a nascent market. Enterprises should exercise caution when evaluating vendors, ensuring a provider can truly deliver on both sides of the SASE coin -- networking and security.

This guide explores how the limitations of traditional networking led the industry to SASE, as well as how SASE architecture differs from traditional networking and security strategies. It also provides insight into how enterprises can prepare their existing network and security designs for SASE.