Regulatory compliance is a top-of-mind issue for many organizations as new regulations are passed and enacted.
In this article, we will try to provide a better understanding of what is SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) and explain why it is essential for organizations looking to make informed investments to support compliance programs by taking a closer look at issues relating to data security, access control, visibility and management, and managed services.
What is SASE?
At first glance, many may wonder – and rightfully so –whether the same is simply a glorified repackaging of software-defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN). This is certainly not the case.
To put it plainly: SD-WAN is merely a subcategory of SASE. SD-WAN appliances provide critical networking functionality, whereas SASE goes deeper by converging SD-WAN with various other security and network services to offer a genuinely holistic WAN connectivity and security solution.
An up-and-coming technology, SASE is positioned to alter the network connectivity and security landscape shortly.
According to Gartner, by 2024, nearly 40% of enterprises will have specific strategies to adopt SASE, which is pretty impressive considering that at the end of 2018, the adoption rate was less than 1%.
SASE and Regulatory Compliance
SASE is implemented as an array of cloud-based points-of-presence (PoP) with integrated security stacks and SD-WAN optimized traffic routing. This design provides several benefits to enterprises:
#1. Data Security
An organization’s primary responsibility under data protection regulation is securing its user’s data against unauthorized access and potential breach. In many cases, regulators only begin an investigation of an organization after it has breached sensitive information.
Protecting against data breaches requires protecting against a wide range of potential attack vectors.
Additionally, once an attacker has access to an organization’s systems, they may attempt to spread their influence throughout the corporate network to gain access to computers containing more sensitive information.
Protecting against potential attack vectors requires deploying a full security stack to inspect and secure all traffic entering and leaving the organization’s network.
SASE simplifies data security by integrating network and security functionality in a single appliance.
By distributing SASE PoPs across the corporate WAN, SASE ensures that all traffic travelling over the corporate WAN is inspected for malicious content, making it more difficult for attackers to achieve and expand a foothold on the network and seek out sensitive data.
#2. Access Control
Managing access to sensitive data is a vital part of data security. Data protection regulations commonly require organizations to minimize access to sensitive data based on need-to-know and job roles.
Implementing these strict security controls requires solutions to enforce them throughout the organization.
For compliance with regulations like the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), organizations will commonly place all sensitive information on a section of the network that is segmented from the rest of the network via firewalls and only accessible to authorized users.
However, as corporate networks become increasingly cloud-based, implementing such a system and ensuring enforcement of access controls becomes more complex.
SASE solutions have integrated software-defined perimeter (SDP) functionality that inspects all traffic flowing over the network and applies access controls.
SDP makes configuring and managing access control policies simpler because all rules are centrally defined and managed but enforced across all SASE PoPs.
This provides a simple but scalable solution to the access control challenges organizations attempt to achieve and maintain regulatory compliance.
#3. Visibility and Management
One of the most common causes of issues with regulatory compliance is a lack of visibility into an organization’s data and network.
Many data breaches and the resulting compliance lawsuits – involve data that an organization did not realize had or exploited unknown access points into the corporate network.
One of the main drivers of this lack of network visibility is the complexity of the modern enterprise’s security stack. Many companies use an array of standalone security solutions to protect certain types of devices or block specific types of attacks.
As a result, security teams become overwhelmed by the sheer amount of data they receive from these devices and the array of solutions that must be configured, monitored, and maintained.
SASE dramatically simplifies security by moving security to the network layer and integrating a full security stack into a single device.
All traffic flowing over the enterprise network, regardless of source or destination, flows through and is inspected by one or more SASE PoPs.
This makes it easy to achieve a full view of the current state of the organization’s network traffic, perform data analytics and threat detection, and take action to respond to incidents or update security policies.
#4. Managed Services
While it is possible to deploy and manage SASE on your own, the best solutions are offered as a managed service.
With these solutions, the service provider is responsible for managing the SASE PoPs and can perform security monitoring and incident response for the traffic flowing over their networks.
This support can be invaluable for an organization’s regulatory compliance efforts. Managed security services can help to protect sensitive data, and the service provider can assist in demonstrating compliance to regulators by collecting the data required for security audits and compliance attestations.
As the regulatory compliance landscape grows more complex, having the support of an organization with deep experience in compliance activities – due to the need to provide aid to multiple customers – can dramatically simplify and streamline an organization’s regulatory compliance efforts.
Improving Regulatory Compliance with SASE
As the regulatory compliance landscape grows more complex, organizations must make strategic investments to ensure their ability to meet regulatory requirements.
A SASE solution provides optimized network performance and simplified security and can streamline an organization’s regulatory compliance program.