What Are SASE and VPN?
SASE and VPN Defined
Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) and Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are technologies designed to safely connect users with applications and systems.
SASE combines a Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) with cloud-based security technologies known as the Security Service Edge (SSE) to enable fast and safe connectivity for hybrid workforces while simplifying network management.
VPN technology establishes a secure connection between an organization’s network and a user’s device by creating a private tunnel through which encrypted data can travel, protecting it from being intercepted by threat actors.
SASE and VPN both enable secure connectivity, but these technologies are quite different in architecture and in scope. While VPNs may play a role in a SASE environment as one of several ways that organizations can route data across the internet, SASE is widely seen as an emerging technology that is quickly eclipsing the use of VPNs in enterprise networking and security.
How Does SASE Work?
The SASE framework is a response to the networking and security challenges in modern IT environments. As organizations rely more heavily on cloud services and as more employees work outside the traditional office, both IT environments and workforces have become highly distributed. As a result, legacy networking and security solutions designed for traditional on-premises office environments are becoming obsolete – they are simply unable to deliver the security, performance and flexibility that this digital transformation requires.
SASE products offer a far superior alternative to traditional technologies. Rather than backhauling traffic through a central data center for inspection – a process which adds considerable latency to connections – SASE accelerates performance by enabling by direct-to-cloud connections using SD-WAN. SASE security focuses on authenticating identities rather than centrally inspecting traffic or restricting access based on IP addresses and locations. This enables security to move out of the central data center and to the network edge, making security functions available wherever users and devices require them. SASE services also simplify the tasks of managing networking security by enabling IT teams to set and enforce policies within a single cloud-based solution, rather than managing multiple point products.
While there is no single formula for architecting a SASE environment, most SASE vendors package SD-WAN with security solutions that include a Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB), a Secure Web Gateway (SWG) and Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) technology.
How Do VPNs Work?
VPNs provide privacy and anonymity by creating a private, encrypted “tunnel” or connection between the device and an intermediary VPN server, which forwards traffic on to its final destination. VPNs mask the user’s internet protocol (IP) address, making it virtually impossible for anyone else to trace or intercept activity online.
Despite their benefits, VPNs have become increasingly problematic for organizations. VPNs introduce latency – in contrast to the direct connections within SASE environments, all VPN traffic must flow through a centralized VPN server before being routed to its destination. Traditional VPNs also lack the Zero Trust security controls that can restrict a user’s access to specific IT assets, which is crucial to limiting the attack surface and preventing threat actors from moving freely within an IT environment. Because VPNs are time-consuming to provision, maintain and update, they add considerable management cost and complexity as networks scale up.
Does SASE Use VPNs?
While many organizations would prefer to phase out VPNs, modern IT networks may use SASE and VPNs effectively. The SD-WAN component of a SASE environment improves network speed while lowering costs by incorporating a variety of low-cost commodity connections in addition to more expensive MPLS connections. These additional connections may include VPNs as well as cable, fiber, DSL and LTE. Next-generation VPNs may incorporate some SASE architecture components such as ZTNA, firewall, content filtering and intrusion prevention. And because many organizations cannot completely migrate to the cloud all at once, they will likely require some hybrid of SASE and VPN technologies for the foreseeable future.
Forcepoint: Data-First SASE – Without a VPN
Recognized as a leader in cybersecurity by Gartner, Forrester and NSS Labs, Forcepoint delivers a single-vendor, data-first, cloud-native SASE solution with Zero Trust Network Access technology that eliminates the need for VPNs.
The SASE solution offered by Forcepoint blends the proven networking capabilities of Forcepoint FlexEdge Secure SD-WAN with Forcepoint ONE, a cutting-edge Security Service Edge (SSE) platform. The Forcepoint SASE application includes seamless adoption of Zero Trust principles, integrated DLP, secure SD-WAN and advanced threat protection. With SASE from Forcepoint, organizations can:
- Enhance productivity by enabling remote and hybrid workforces to safely use applications and access data from anywhere.
- Lower costs with converged solutions delivered via the cloud on a unified platform.
- Reduce risk by consistently applying strong security for apps and data across all channels.
- Streamline compliance with visibility and control everywhere that data goes and people are working.