SASE and Zero Trust Network Access solutions are the most modern and future defining technologies that the cloud-computing market can offer today. In the near future, SASE and Zero Trust will become the go-to solutions for the vast majority of businesses. Because the more businesses use cloud data centers, SaaS, and AaaS, the more they will be in need of SASE and Zero Trust implementation. The first thing we need to know about SASE is that Zero Trust solutions are part of its service. 

On the other hand, Zero Trust solutions have been in the market for a decade now, and Zero Trust has gained recognition from many businesses during this period. In 2019 the United Kingdom National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) advised businesses to implement Zero Trust, especially if they are planning to use a notable amount of cloud services. Even in the pre-pandemic year, Zero Trust has proven its worth in the cloud computing market. 

Additionally, the same year, SASE was first introduced as a cloud-native service that offers networking and security features. So, in this framework, Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) is an essential component both for improving network security and implementing the least privilege principle to keep cloud assets safe. Before we explain each of their functions further, both are great in terms of improving network security and enabling secure cloud assets, and safe access resources. Let’s begin with Zero Trust Network Access solutions. 

What Is Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA)

Zero Trust solutions have been around for a decade, but the concept and notion of Zero Trust were first coined in the 1990s when Stephen Paul Marsh studied trust as a concept that can be defined numerically in his doctoral thesis. In 2010, Zero Trust was used to define stricter identity & access management policies, and cyber security programs. Ever since Zero Trust has become a go-to solution for businesses that want to have robust network security.   

Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) framework embraces the idea “never trust, always verify”, and aims to secure devices, users, applications, and networks by verifying their identities before granting access to corporate resources and data that are stored in data headquarters and cloud. Once businesses implement the Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) framework, regardless of employees titles, all of them have to authenticate their identities first. 

For verification, Zero Trust uses multi-factor authentication, biometrics, and single sign-on (SSO) tools. With these tools, Zero Trust makes sure of employees’ identities. Additionally, Zero Trust is based on the least privilege principle, that’s why it limits employees’ access privileges and lets them access only necessary resources to perform their duties. This way, it mitigates the internal security risks associated with an organization’s staff. 

Additionally, the Zero Trust framework applies network segmentation to a business’ corporate network. Network segmentation is a needed component for reducing external security risks and enabling robust network security. For instance, under the segmented networks, employees can access only certain segments that are crucial for their roles. Even if cybercriminals use a compromised identity to access corporate networks, Zero Trust won’t allow them to roam or laterally move within the segmented networks. In short, they won’t be able to access the segments that contain sensitive data. 

What Is Secure Access Service Edge (SASE)? 

Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) solutions have been around since 2019, and it is considered the future of cloud-edge computing. The reason why is that SASE interconnects security and networking features together, and operates as a service in the cloud. Under the SASE architecture, there are five core components, these are SD-WAN as service, Secure Web Gateway (SGW), Firewall as Service (FWaaS), and Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB), and Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA).

SASE allows businesses to have a centralized security setup in the cloud, meanwhile offering secure remote access and improved network security. With SD-WAN technology, SASE architecture makes all cloud-based corporate assets, applications, and data available and reachable to employees from any location. Before employees access the corporate networks via secure web gateways, Zero Trust verifies all of their identities and secures all end-point users and devices. 

Components like Secure Web Gateway (SGW), Firewall as Service (FWaaS), and Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) are the security tools that operate in the cloud perimeter. For example, Secure Web Gateway (SGW) is responsible for distributing user-generated traffic and maintaining lighter traffic in the cloud. Additionally, SGW consists of URL filtering, data loss prevention, and malware detection tools, and these enable SASE to improve cloud security.   

Meanwhile, another security layer; Firewall as Service (FWaaS) aims to safeguard all edge points in the cloud and prevent all attempts of unauthorized access and filter all user-generated traffic. Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) functions as a middle-man between applications and cloud users, monitoring their activities and data transfers constantly to maintain healthy security functions.     

SASE vs. Zero Trust: Which One Do You Need? 

All components of SASE have been around for a very long time, and SASE architecture doesn’t invent brand new security functions, it just unifies these features together as a service in the cloud. Additionally, businesses can implement each SASE component to their cyber security posture alone, but this might mean that they need to work with different vendors for the implementation of each component. This can increase the cyber security spending of organizations. 

When SASE architecture is implemented well, IT admins can control the complete system from a single place. This framework is easy to use and cost-effective in the long run. Businesses can secure all of their cloud assets, or on-premise resources with SASE meaning it enables overall security all across the enterprises. Lastly, Zero Trust should be adopted by all sizes of businesses, even if they don’t have plans to implement SASE architecture.

Last Words 

Both SASE and Zero Trust frameworks are needed components for improved network security against malicious intrusions. Both are excellent solutions for businesses that use a significant amount of cloud services, as they both enable secure access to cloud services.