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SASE Managed Service: MSP Guide to Secure Access Service Edge

The network edge is an increasingly popular term to describe the expanding corporate network, which has grown beyond traditional perimeters to include the cloud, mobile and remote users, IoT devices, and the multitude of ways users and devices tap into today’s digital resources. For organizations building edge networks, managed edge security could be a viable, if not optimal, route.

A picture of a screen showing plenty of technical jargon because this article is all about the comprehensive management of edge security through the Secure Access Service Edge or SASE, and the prospect of managed service providers or MSPs adding it to their offerings with a managed SASE solution.

As businesses move closer to edge computing to optimize content delivery and user experience, securing the edge is a unique challenge. The budding framework for addressing this problem is known as the secure access service edge (SASE). Using a combination of cloud, SD-WAN, and edge components, SASE is the most comprehensive framework for addressing the evolving security threat at the network edge.

The operative word for channel stakeholders here is “service.” To meet growing consumer and client demands, organizations must develop edge infrastructures, and to do so effectively means securing data and systems along the way. SASE vendors, managed service providers (MSP), and managed security service providers (MSSP) all have the opportunity to assist organizations venturing into edge networking.

Here’s what you need to take on SASE and how managed service providers address one of the latest security frameworks.

Why Choose Managed SASE?

Like any managed solution, managed service providers (MSP) offer the operational and management capabilities that in-house personnel lack. While an organization could be partnering with one or multiple MSPs, choosing a managed SASE solution means placing a broad range of security and access functionality under one vendor’s management.

Building a SASE Strategy is Costly

For startups and SMBs with aspirations of scaling, the investment needed to establish an SD-WAN and SASE framework can be quite expensive. The proliferation of edge networking, SD-WAN infrastructure, and now SASE solutions mean further complexity in the modern IT ecosystem.

For enterprise organizations with an existing content delivery network (CDN) and deep IT bench, adopting and implementing the latest edge strategies will be the easiest. Otherwise, organizations can expect a resource-intensive process meaning more expertise, physical and distributed resources, and a long-term deployment and operational plan.

Managed SASE Solutions Offer Flexibility

To avoid the rabbit hole that could be building an in-house SASE framework, organizations can focus on their core business segments by outsourcing their secure edge strategy. Considering the swath of delivery, management, and security components provided by a secure edge infrastructure, managed SASE solutions are sure to be a pricier partnership.

Still, organizations save big by partnering with a single MSP provider for a large stack of tools relative to splitting servers between multiple MSPs.

Read more: Incident Response Services: A Big Opportunity for MSPs and MSSPs

Relationship to Zero Trust Networks

Zero trust, like SASE, is a conceptual framework that often requires extensive tools, expertise, and resources to establish and maintain. Few buzzwords have had as much staying power as zero trust because it’s a practical solution when adequately implemented. 

In short, zero trust is a process wherein organizations identify and secure critical network resources through microsegmentation. With a complete inventory of acceptable traffic, administrators can configure gateway policies to deny all else – hence, zero trust. Today, the top SASE vendors are also leading the race to develop zero trust solutions as both security strategies target application-specific access across on-premises, cloud, and edge networks. 

As both involve complex provisioning and orchestration, picking the right MSP is critical to developing client-specific needs. An effective managed SASE solution requires a hands-on partner through planning, implementation, and continuous management.

What is SASE?

The Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) is the security framework combining the latest SD-WAN capabilities with network security technologies like secure web gateways (SWG), cloud-access security brokers (CASB), Firewalls-as-a-Service (FWaaS), Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), and more. SASE offers administrators the most substantial visibility and control of an organization’s IT environment in the age of cloud and hybrid infrastructures.

SASE solution frameworks are cloud-native architectures combining Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) and Security-as-a-Service (SECaaS) capabilities into a central console for administrators. With SD-WAN functionality, organizations can manage a distributed network of points of presence (PoP) containing agent-based software.

Read more: MSPs Are Turning Software Into New Services – As We Predicted

SASE: Bringing Network and Security Tools Together

The number of technologies involved in a SASE framework is no joke. Below is just some of the core network and cybersecurity tools offered by leading vendors:

Network ToolsSecurity Tools
Bandwidth Optimization & Caching
CDN Points of Presence (PoP)
Cloud Network Management
DNS Protection
IdP Integration
IP Obfuscation
Path Redundancy
Quality of Service (QoS)
Remote User Access
Routing & Path Selection
SaaS Acceleration
Traffic Shaping
Cloud-Access Security Broker (CASB)
Data Loss Prevention (DLP)
Encryption
Endpoint Protection
Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW)
Remote Browser Isolation
Sensitive Data Recovery
Secure Web Gateway (SWG)
Threat Detection
Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA)
Web Application Firewall (WAF)
Wi-Fi Protection

Three Pillars of SASE

ConnectivitySecurityAccess
Enables application flow and traffic forwarding based on optimal performanceSecurity positioned at network edges protects users secures accessValidation and authorization of users attempting to gain access

Where Do Managed Service Providers Fit In?

SASE vendors need an extensive product stack to meet Gartner’s definition but thus creates the opportunity for MSPs and MSSPs to help a generation of clients in need of edge security solutions. Managed service providers have the access and expertise to bundle and develop a SASE solution fit for their clients.

Read more: The Top Opportunites for MSSPs to Grow Their Business

Why is SASE Important?

SASE is an essential framework for securing an increasingly complex IT environment that includes edge networks. Adopting mobile, IoT, cloud, and edge technologies and forces like increased external traffic from remote access and BYOD policies makes defending the network edge near impossible. With end-users expecting high availability, organizations must find ways to deliver resources while protecting themselves and stakeholders confidently.

In alignment with zero trust philosophy, SASE uses its combination of networking and cybersecurity tools to create proper segmentation and access control to protect an organization’s most sensitive, internal segments. As data processing moves from private, remote data centers to edge micro data centers and cloud storage, organizations must develop a new cybersecurity strategy.

What are the Benefits of SASE?

  • Security fabric for distributed enterprise networks and hybrid infrastructures
  • Identify, categorize, and configure acceptable traffic and user access 
  • Simplified IT infrastructure for managing end-to-end services
  • Zero trust framework emphasizing least privilege and access for users
  • Flexible and adaptable cloud-based management console 
  • Continuous data protection with redundancy and data recovery functionality
  • Optimize network performance and services informed by monitoring and analysis
  • Reduced costs owed to consolidating siloed operations (e.g., tools, MSPs)
  • Secure globally connected network for the flow of data between vendors and end-users

Read more: MSPs Expand Security Practices to Meet Demand: Kaspersky

SASE: Securing Next-Generation Communications

Secure Access Service Edge solutions develop a single IT environment for administrators securing today’s hybrid infrastructures. The next generation of connecting vendor resources to consumers means handling on-premises, virtual, cloud, and mobile workloads for a global network of stakeholders. 

As the 5G infrastructure further expands connectivity within the decade, edge computing and security will grow more valuable to organizations delivering digital resources. MSPs and MSSPs with the resources to combine and orchestrate a managed SASE solution would join a unique club that puts their clients in the best position to operate safely at the network edge.

Additional Coverage

Sam Ingalls
Sam Ingalls is a content writer and researcher covering enterprise technology, IT trends, and network security for eSecurityPlanet.com, Webopedia.com, ChannelInsider.com, and ServerWatch.com.

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