Implementing zero trust, a security model that has achieved widespread adoption in recent years, enables an organization to minimize its cybersecurity risk and the potential damage caused by a compromised endpoint or user account.
However, zero trust is only useful if it can be effectively and consistently enforced across an organization’s entire network infrastructure. Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) is a network and security solution that integrates zero trust functionality. This enables it to perform access management across an organization’s entire wide area network (WAN).
SASE, a next-generation WAN networking and security solution, combines the optimized network routing capabilities of software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) with a full security stack. SASE is available as a cloud-native solution, enabling it to support enterprises’ increasingly cloud-based network infrastructure.
This combination of integrated networking and security functionality in a cloud-based application enables an organization to reap a number of benefits. SASE solutions can be deployed anywhere, providing secure remote access, comprehensive security inspection, and optimized networking throughout an organization’s entire network infrastructure.
As SASE is designed to implement the networking and security functionality of an organization’s corporate WAN, any traffic flowing over the WAN is subject to inspection by the SASE security services. This also makes SASE ideally suited to implementing zero trust security on the corporate WAN. Zero trust focuses on managing access to resources, and, with SASE’s complete visibility into and control over network traffic, it is capable of performing extremely granular access control. For this reason, zero trust capabilities are a core part of SASE’s integrated security stack.
Zero trust solutions integrate software-defined perimeter (SDP) functionality, which is also known as zero trust network access (ZTNA). As the names suggest, SDP/ZTNA is a software-based solution for implementing zero trust to provide remote user network access to applications.
A SASE solution will perform traffic inspection to look for potentially malicious or dangerous content. This inspection provides very granular data about the source of the traffic and the requested resource, which is exactly the data required by a zero trust access management solution.
SDP/ZTNA implement access control based upon centrally defined and managed access control policies. Since all traffic passing over the corporate WAN passes through at least one SASE security service, the access control policies can be applied there. Any traffic that is legitimate under the policy is permitted to continue on, while any traffic containing attempts at unauthorized access to resources is dropped.
Traditionally, many organizations used a perimeter-focused security model, where everything outside the network perimeter was considered untrustworthy (and was subjected to security inspection at the network perimeter), while anyone inside the network was considered trusted. This approach has a few issues, but some of the biggest are that cybercriminals and insider threats often gain internal access to enterprise networks (where perimeter-based security solutions are blind) and that, with the widespread adoption of cloud computing, the traditional network perimeter has dissolved.
The use of a zero trust security model helps to dramatically decrease an organization’s cybersecurity risk. By assigning access based upon need to know and business needs, an organization limits the potential impact of a compromised account.
Integrating zero trust functionality into the corporate WAN – in the form of ZTNA/SDP functionality integrated into SASE solutions – makes zero trust deployment easy and enforceable. Performing access control at the network level eliminates the need to account for the unique needs of a variety of different platforms, endpoints, and deployment environments, and the use of an integrated SASE solution enables policies and alerts to be monitored and managed from a single, central location rather than working with many different standalone solutions.
Zero trust is a great security model; however, it is useless without the ability to enforce it. An organization may develop role-based access control policies, but, if inappropriate access requests are not detected and blocked, then this provides little benefit. Even inconsistent enforcement across the enterprise network is problematic since sensitive data and resources may be located in areas with weak enforcement, enabling an attacker to gain access to them.
Check Point’s SASE solution enables an organization to easily enforce zero trust access controls across their entire IT infrastructure, including both on-premises and cloud-based resources. By using a single, integrated security solution, organizations can ensure consistent enforcement of access control policies without increasing the burden on their security teams.
Zero trust and SASE are the future of corporate security. To learn more about deploying SASE within your organization, please contact us. You’re alsos welcome to request a demo to see the potential of SASE for yourself.