Zero trust network architecture: why do I need SASE?

Posted:
01/04/2023
| By:
Patrick Beggs

The modern digital landscape is quickly changing as organizations increasingly transition to the cloud. As a result, traditional cybersecurity approaches are no longer enough to protect against ever-evolving cyber threats. 

To ensure secure access to data, companies must consider implementing a solution like Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) to help move towards a proper zero trust network architecture.

In this article, we will explore why your organization may need to enforce a zero trust policy and what it can offer in terms of improved security and better user experience.

What is the purpose of zero trust network architecture(ZTNA)?

Zero trust is a security concept that requires verifying the identity of all users and devices before granting access to corporate assets. 

This concept is based on the idea of never trusting anyone or anything, regardless of whether they’re inside or outside the organization’s network perimeter. 

For example, if a user is accessing the company’s email system from an unknown device, they would still need to go through authentication before being granted access. 

This approach helps reduce the chances of users with malicious intent gaining access to corporate resources, as well as reducing the chance of data breaches if any credentials are stolen.

Additionally, it can help ensure that only authorized personnel can view sensitive information. 

Zero trust network architecture eliminates traditional network perimeters and replaces them with micro-perimeters that are based on user access policies and individual device characteristics. 

The goal of zero trust architecture is to reduce the attack surface by cutting off attackers from accessing networks while allowing legitimate users secure access to corporate resources. 

Ultimately, this architecture helps MSPs protect against potential threats such as data exfiltration, malicious insider activity, and phishing attacks. 

What are the benefits of zero trust network architecture?

ZTNA offers a number of benefits, including: 

  • Improved security: By creating micro-perimeters based on user policies and device characteristics, zero trust network architecture can help protect corporate resources from malicious activity. Also, it can help detect suspicious activity by monitoring for anomalous behaviors. 
  • Enhanced user experience: By providing fast and secure access to corporate resources from any device or location, users are able to better collaborate with their colleagues and perform tasks more efficiently. 
  • Automated compliance checks: With zero trust network architecture in place, MSPs are able to automatically check for compliance with regulations and policies, making it easier for organizations to ensure that they are meeting all security requirements.

While ZTNA is a great tool to minimize the impact of human error, it’s important that your team is aware of upcoming security threats. The ConnectWise CRU publishes regular threat reports that are a great asset to complement your zero trust network architecture.

By itself, zero architecture is an incomplete concept. Let's explore what SASE is and how it makes a difference in any cybersecurity protocol. 

What is SASE and why is it needed?

SASE is a cloud-native security architecture that helps organizations protect against cyber threats while providing secure access to corporate resources. 

The SASE platform combines network security with identity-based access control, eliminating the need for traditional perimeter defense and providing an additional layer of protection that can help defend against threats. 

It also provides fast and secure access to corporate applications and data from any device or location, ensuring that users are able to collaborate securely without compromising on performance or mobility.

By combining zero trust principles with cloud-native technologies such as software-defined networking (SDN) and identity & access management (IAM), SASE enables organizations to ensure secure access to corporate assets, reduce costs associated with traditional security solutions, and improve the user experience. 

SASE is an important tool for organizations that need to be agile in responding to changing threats while providing users with secure access to corporate resources from any location or device. 

How does SASE build on zero trust?

To clearly demonstrate how SASE factors into zero trust network architecture, let's provide a real-world example. 

Imagine that a user wants to access their corporate database. Under a traditional zero trust architecture, the user would have to go through multiple authentication steps such as providing credentials or using multi-factor authentication. 

With SASE, those same steps can be combined into one seamless process that is both secure and efficient. 

The user authenticates once with their identity provider, and then the SASE platform verifies the user's device characteristics before granting access to the corporate database. 

This eliminates the need for additional layers of verification and ensures that only authorized personnel are granted access to protected resources.

Best practices for implementing SASE

When implementing zero trust SASE, organizations should follow the following best practices: 

  • Implement a comprehensive security policy that outlines the procedures for granting access to corporate resources and protecting them against threats. 
  • Leverage cloud-native technologies such as SDN and IAM to create micro perimeters around each user and device. 
  • Monitor network activity for suspicious behavior in order to detect anomalies and prevent malicious activity from occurring. 
  • Establish a clear policy regarding acceptable use of corporate resources, and make sure that users are aware of the consequences of violating the policy. 
  • Incorporate automated compliance checks into the SASE platform to ensure that all security requirements are being met according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
  • Regularly review your organization's overall security posture and adjust as needed to stay ahead of potential threats. 

By following these best practices, organizations can ensure they are able to effectively protect corporate assets while providing users with secure access from any device.

Promote rigid cybersecurity defense with ConnectWise

SASE zero trust is an important tool for organizations that need to be agile in responding to changing emerging cyber threats.

If you're concerned about the security of your critical business assets, ConnectWise can provide the tools and software you need to protect against cyber attacks. 

In particular, ConnectWise is ready to help when it comes to SASE offerings. We’ve partnered with Exium to help MSPs and their clients better secure their systems and cloud data against any ad all threats.

From EDR solutions to incident response services, ConnectWise's cybersecurity management solutions can help identify your organization’s vulnerabilities and reinforce them. 

Contact us today for more information about how you can use ConnectWise to improve your security and protect against cyber threats.

FAQs

Zero trust networks are security systems that require all users and devices to be authenticated before they can access any network resources. This approach eliminates the need for trusted internal networks, ensuring only authorized personnel can access corporate assets

The purpose of zero trust architecture is to create a secure environment in which all users and devices must be authenticated before they can access any corporate resources.

The pillars of zero trust are identity, devices, data, applications, and infrastructure. These five pillars form the foundation for secure access to corporate resources.

The main benefit of zero trust is improved security, as it requires all users and devices to be authenticated before they can access corporate resources. However, implementing zero trust architecture can be costly and time-consuming, requiring significant investment in training and infrastructure. 

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