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SASE vs. SD-WAN: A Quick Guide

Miguel Fersen, Senior Cloud Consultant @ GlobalDots
09.05.2022
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SD-WAN and SASE

New technologies have a wicked tendency to pile up. With cloud solution categories now emerging on a weekly basis, the result of bringing them into your estate is usually more complexity and confusion. But sometimes, a single new technology allows us to rid a bunch of old ones in a snap. SASE pretends to be this kind of thing, fusing networking and network security operations into a single service. As such, it wants to replace your good-old SD-WAN and all the security products you installed to protect the latter.

Too good a promise to be ignored, right? So let’s break it down and see if it’s really worth it, and for whom. 

What is SD-WAN?

Software-defined Wide Area Network or SD-WAN is a simulated wide area network architecture that enables businesses to employ any configuration of transportation services, such as MPLS, LTE, and wireless broadband services, to seamlessly interconnect users to applications. Another advantage of a central operating function is that it can securely and efficiently divert traffic across a wide area network and straight to trusted SaaS and IaaS suppliers. This feature improves application performance metrics while providing an excellent user experience, increasing organizational results, and agility while lowering IT expenses.

Benefits of SD-WAN Networks Compared to Legacy MPLS

Listed below is the comparison of benefits between SD-WAN and MPLS:

  • An SD-WAN virtualizes the network operations on the information systems, allowing them to run as software on embedded systems instead of on dedicated network infrastructure. MPLS technology is based on private hardware and software.
  • You can configure wired or public SD-WAN connections networks, whereas MPLS connections get defined by the dedicated lines they utilize. You may combine one or more SD-WAN connections with MPLS in certain situations.
  • MPLS works similarly to routers and switches, and it gets located among layers 2 and 3 of the network. MPLS occasionally gets referred to as layer 2.5.) When making data transmission choices, it uses packet-forwarding technologies and labels. The label gets applied between Layer 2 or the data link and Layer 3 or the network headers in the protocol stack.

SD-WAN is gaining popularity for several reasons ranging from cost savings to greater speed and adaptability to utmost ease of use and implementation to enhanced protection. On the other hand, private-based connectivity, such as MPLS, continues to be in high demand among enterprises with unique connection and security standards. When picking between the two, firms must consider the advantages and disadvantages of each and determine which requirements are more important in their particular setting.

What is SASE?

Benefits of SASE Compared to SD-WAN

SASE, or Secure Access Service Edge, is a revolutionary concept in enterprise networks. Essentially, SASE is Wide Area Networking and network security converged and delivered as a service in a SaaS, cloud-native model. SASE provides network services per user identity, the current real-time environment, workplace security and compliance regulations, and a constant risk evaluation and confidence during the interactions.

Security Access Service Edge and Software-defined Wide Area Network are two networking techniques meant to join geographically dispersed endpoints to a stream of data and application functions. These two networking techniques have different use-cases and methodologies.

SD-WAN is a type of software-defined networking that connects and manages satellite offices remotely by utilizing a network virtualization overlay to link and govern branch offices. The emphasis is on linking these satellite offices back to the initial secure network rather than connecting them to the internet. Even while you can use SD-WAN to connect with the cloud, you do not create it with the cloud.

SASE is a cloud-based application with a distributed network that focuses on security. SASE concentrates on joining various endpoints to a service edge of a network. Furthermore, SASE places a strong emphasis on built-in security.

SASE is also a great step that organizations can take to reduce cybersecurity challenges. It contains a baked-in security layer that saves the need to procure network security products. Obviously, it saves you all the additional dashboards currently associated with your network security solution – all is managed from the SASE platform, with IT & Security finally having a common language. 

SASE also provides an instant and nearly complete zero-trust transformation. If you deploy SASE, the only remaining element for a full zero-trust transformation would be a WAF – which some SASE vendors already have on their roadmaps. 

Additionally, SASE enables businesses to be better prepared to take advantage of emerging technologies such as edge computing, 5G, and mobile artificial intelligence.

Benefits of SASE compared to VPN

VPN-based architectures are typically network-centric solutions that let users access a specific network section within the company’s internal network. Most of the time, it requires devices, access control lists, and firewall settings, and it does not provide detailed user-to-program linking. As the business perimeter has expanded to include the internet, network-centric solutions, such as remote access VPNs, have become increasingly antiquated.

The inability of VPN services to recognize and address the needs of users’ applications significantly increases security vulnerabilities. Data governance and transparency into company resources are provided by SASE, which operates on the zero-trust concept.

VPN solutions are not flexible as they gear toward the design of a particular number of users and bandwidth allocations in the first place. A cloud-native multi-user SASE solution reduces the amount of human labor required and speeds up the provisioning process.

Who Uses SASE?

An excellent use-case for SASE involves an organization with the following characteristics:

  • Firms that are cloud-native or that are undergoing cloud transition.
  • Firms with various physical locations such as:
    • Regional offices
    • Chain stores & service branches
    • Virtual personnel
  • Businesses operating across multiple nations can benefit from SASE’s internationally-spread PoPs, which essentially reduce latency in organizational communication and transactions. 
  • Fast-growing companies will also benefit from SASE’s cloud-native nature, which makes it quickly deployable and scalable.

SASE Deployment

SASE is a top priority for many organizations. They want to shift away from the costly and strict traditional on-premises solutions toward SASE’s extremely dependable, inexpensive, and adaptable solution. As a cloud-native, hardware-free solution, SASE can be up and running in a single day if firms work with a technology provider who handles the hands-on deployment.

How to Choose a SASE Vendor

SASE is revolutionary, with new vendors coming in constantly. IT teams must begin to examine which features are ready for implementation through strategic partnerships and which features are accessible in the future through vendor evaluations.

When evaluating a SASE vendor, always look for these four key features:

  • Cloud-native architecture, with no need for any hardware or manual updates
  • Advanced Security as a Service – including most zero-trust elements
  • PoPs located in all geos relevant to your current or planned areas of operation
  • Instant scalability – namely, opening an additional location with a credit card transaction at most
  • Real-time self-optimization and auto-repair

Learn more about how to choose a SASE Vendor that fits your needs in our latest SASE eBook!

Conclusion

The SASE method can help manage and secure a network more easily, cut costs, boost scalability and efficiency, and increase security. 

However, as SASE is still an evolving category, expect some hurdles if going at it independently. Identifying a real SASE and enjoying its full no-touch benefits will exhaust a great deal of your resources. 

The easiest way to avoid them is to consult a network & security specialized technology partner that works tightly with some leading SASE vendors.

 Contact GlobalDots now for more information.

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