SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) offerings are an emerging and essential part of a cloud-centric enterprise network and security architecture. SASE offers a single point where connectivity, routing, security, and compliance capabilities can work together in high efficiency. But SASE also brings with it some significant new visibility needs that are addressed by digital experience monitoring (DEM).

Networks are bending to the shape of the cloud

Enterprises are rapidly adopting cloud services, and deploying edge computing to support new IoT "machine users." These new cloud-centric technologies are causing an inversion of traditional WAN and network security architectures. 

Users used to sit exclusively in branch offices and the data center was the hub for enterprise networking, applications, and security services. Now, applications are more commonly in the cloud, employees are increasingly mobile users sitting outside of branch offices, branch offices are connecting via Direct Internet Access (DIA), and new, cloud-native digital business applications are key to serving customers across the Internet. 

The future of network security is SASE

To meet this newly inverted network architecture, new solutions have arisen such as SD-WAN, Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB), Firewall as a Service (FWaaS), and Secure Web Gateways (SWG).  zero trust network architectures (ZTNA) are the security model of the day. While on-premises edge networking devices are still needed, network security functions are moving to cloud security platforms. Service providers like Zscaler, Netskope, and vendors like Cisco Viptela and VMWare Velocloud are some leaders in this space.

In recognition of these trends, a recent Gartner report by Neil MacDonald, Lawrence Orans, and Joe Skorupa advocates a new Secure Access Service Edge or SASE (pronounced "sassy"), which combines all the above solutions and many others including malware security. The Gartner, Inc. point of view is that SASE offerings are the future of network security. This is because rather than service chaining disparate functions, SASE solutions unify all those functions, can open sensitive data once in real-time and deliver all those security use cases more efficiently. Gartner is positioning SASE very early in the hype cycle, with only a small fraction of IT organizations yet taking it on board.

DEM For SASE (1) (2)

DEM solves a significant visibility challenge

While SASE brings many benefits, it also increases complexity that can blind IT teams to the sources of digital experience problems. The sheer number of dependencies including internal networks, SD-WAN and SWG tunnels, ISPs, proxy servers, and traffic from huge numbers of internal and SaaS applications make it very difficult to isolate problem domains and find root causes of issues. DEM restores that lost visibility by integrating user experience insights from multiple points in the operational delivery chain, including endpoint devices, network and Internet paths, network traffic, and application and API data.

To learn more about these challenges, read our blog post on "The Secure Access Service Edge Needs Modern Visibility".