The future is perimeterless: leveraging SASE on your journey to zero trust

| By: Patrick Beggs

As the nature of commerce, work, entertainment, and communication continue to evolve in the digital space, traditional security models surrounding resources and access are becoming antiquated. The concept of zero trust is gaining traction as a viable replacement for legacy security systems, providing a modern approach to securing decentralized networks and data.

SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) is one of the foundational frameworks that can enable zero trust security architecture, allowing an organization to create a perimeterless security environment. By leveraging SASE, managed service providers (MSPs) can improve their overall security posture and eliminate the need for security perimeters.

Why zero trust is a goal for MSPs

The zero trust concept was initially developed by Forrester Research, who published a report detailing the model in 2010. A ZTNA helps organizations protect their data from malicious actors by eliminating the need for traditional security perimeters based on the idea that all traffic within the perimeter is secure.

As organizations and enterprises increasingly move towards decentralized, cloud-based technologies and distributed workforce models, the traditional security perimeter is no longer an effective way to protect data. Built upon the "trust but verify" principle, conventional network security models don’t account for the fact that modern threats can come from internal and external sources.

Zero trust network architecture empowers organizations to regain control of their data regardless of physical location, allowing them to set granular policies and apply multi-factor authentication for access. A zero trust architecture is thus essential to creating a secure network environment as workforces, end-users, and customers become increasingly distributed and mobile.

Extending beyond the physical boundaries of an organization and instead focusing on granting access to networks and applications based on rigorous authentication protocols, ZTNA is an essential concept driving the development of next-generation security solutions.

The value of SASE and perimeterless security

Secure Access Service Edge is a newer concept that combines traditional WAN technologies with features like:

  • secure web gateway
  • content filtering
  • cloud access security broker (CASB) 
  • software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN). 

In today's distributed workforce environment, where employees often work remotely and access corporate resources over the internet, SASE provides the granular security controls needed to ensure data is secure while managing access to the network. When appropriately implemented, organizations can protect their data from internal and external threats while streamlining access for end-users.

The difference between ZTNA and SASE

As these two concepts gain traction in the world of cybersecurity, people sometimes use them interchangeably. With that said, it’s important to point out that while both concepts may share similar goals, the methodologies used to achieve them differ.

ZTNA is a concept and approach focused on building secure access policies based on identity verification and granular access policies. It is a framework that provides guidance on designing an environment where all user access must be authenticated and authorized.

On the other hand, SASE is an overall security framework that aims to provide a cloud-based, integrated security solution that can be tailored to fit an organization's specific needs. Thus it's best to think of ZTNA as the conceptual framework and SASE as a technological architecture that can help achieve said framework.

To learn more about implementing these concepts to achieve a perimeterless security environment, visit the ConnectWise Cybersecurity Center.


How SASE helps you reach zero trust

SASE provides organizations with an integrated security solution to help them achieve zero trust goals. By combining traditional WAN technologies with features like a secure web gateway, content filtering, cloud access security broker (CASB), and software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN), SASE solutions enable organizations to create a perimeterless security environment.

For example, unlike traditional security systems, SASE solutions can provide granular access control to users based on identity and context. This means organizations are able to grant users access only when they meet certain security requirements, such as multi-factor authentication, and can block access when users fail to meet those requirements.

SASE solutions reduce the complexity of multiple security solutions while enabling organizations to control access and protect data from threats. These solutions also provide broader visibility into user activity and the ability to detect and respond to threats more quickly.

While SASE incorporates multiple technologies to achieve its goal, implementing a SASE framework does not necessarily guarantee zero trust network architecture protection. As every environment faces unique challenges, organizations must have a strong understanding of their needs and be able to configure the appropriate policies and authentication protocols to ensure that users can only access resources they are authorized to use.

With this in mind, both SASE solutions and ZTNA concepts build upon the principle of least privilege to secure an organization's networks. This means that users can only access the resources they need to do their job, with access privileges scaled back when no longer needed. To learn more about this concept, watch our Principle of Least Privilege webinar

Implementing SASE as an MSP

Managed service providers (MSPs) can use SASE to offer organizations future-focused security solutions. By deploying SASE solutions early on, MSPs can help organizations achieve their zero trust goals, enabling them to better protect their networks from threats and data breaches.

As the digital landscape continues to evolve and expand, SASE solutions offer MSPs the opportunity to provide clients with an integrated security solution to help them meet their unique needs and stay ahead of the curve.

Here are a few benefits of deploying SASE solutions for MSPs:

  • Increased visibility into user activity and improved threat detection
  • Improved performance, scalability, and reliability
  • Ability to customize security policies to meet each organization’s unique needs
  • Streamlined access control, authentication, and authorization processes
  • Reduced complexity of managing multiple security solutions

While pursuing a zero trust security posture, MSPs should ensure that their clients have the necessary policies and authentication protocols to limit access to only those resources authorized for use. This includes:

  • Implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all users
  • Limiting access to only the resources authorized for each user
  • Creating role-based access with granular control of user permissions
  • Establishing an audit trail to track user activity and detect suspicious activity


SASE and future of network security

SASE solutions are a crucial component of any zero trust security framework. By creating a perimeterless security environment, organizations can gain greater visibility into user activity and reduce the complexity of managing multiple security solutions.

MSPs can use SASE to help their clients achieve zero trust goals and offer greater protection for networks against threats and data breaches. With a clear understanding of the value of SASE and the proper policies in place, organizations can leverage SASE to address the next generation of digital threats.

If you're interested in implementing a SASE framework to secure your organization, our cybersecurity experts can help build a flexible, modern security framework to meet your unique needs. Learn more about SASE by ConnectWise and Exium or request your custom quote today.


Perimeter-based security focuses on building a physical or virtual wall around an environment to protect it from external threats. On the other hand, data-based security is centered around protecting data at rest, in transit, and while being used.

No, zero trust security is not perimeter focused. Instead, it relies on granting users only access that is explicitly authorized, regardless of their location or the device they are using. This means that access is always limited to the resources an individual needs, making it much harder for malicious actors to gain unauthorized access.

Not necessarily. Organizations can implement zero trust security without using a SASE framework, but the two are often used to create a more comprehensive security solution. SASE simplifies zero trust security by enabling organizations to reduce the complexity of managing multiple security solutions and provide granular access control.

Zero trust security requires implementing several policies, such as multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all users, role-based access with granular control of user permissions, and an audit trail to track user activity and detect suspicious activity. Organizations should also ensure that access is limited to the resources authorized for each user.

Yes. SASE enables organizations to create a perimeterless security environment, giving them better visibility into user activity and helping them reduce the complexity of managing multiple security solutions. This can help organizations improve their security posture by making it more difficult for malicious actors to gain unauthorized access.

Organizations should consider using additional security solutions, such as firewalls, intrusion detection/prevention systems (IDS/IPS), data encryption, and authentication management technologies, in conjunction with their SASE framework. These solutions can help organizations identify and mitigate threats and protect data from unauthorized access.

Yes! ConnectWise’s team of cybersecurity experts can help you build a secure and flexible SASE framework that meets your organization's needs. Contact us today to schedule a call and get started!