Securing digital infrastructure has become more complex as organizations embrace hybrid work and migrate their applications and data to the cloud.

A dispersed workforce widens the attack surface of your organization’s IT infrastructure because many users are now located outside the traditional network perimeter. In fact, at least 75% of ransomware attacks and breaches fielded by Unit 42’s incident response team in 2022 resulted from attack-surface exposures, up from 40% a year earlier.

The solution to these emerging challenges is secure access service edge (SASE), which integrates the networking functionality of a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) with zero trust network access and other cloud security features.

SASE allows you to modernize your organization’s network security while reducing the complexity associated with distributed network access.

How SASE makes a real difference

1. Accessing the corporate network, from anywhere

About 6 in 10 employees worldwide now work remotely all or some of the time, according to NTT DATA’s 2023 Global Employee Experience Trends Report. To work as efficiently and productively as possible, these employees need secure access to corporate resources from anywhere and using a range of devices. Remote access via existing network and security solutions can also slow down connectivity.

How SASE helps: With a cloud-native architecture, SASE enables employees to connect securely to the corporate network regardless of their location. This is achieved through a combination of SD-WAN and security services, making remote access seamless and secure.

2. Securing and connecting branch offices

If your organization has multiple branch offices, you need a cost-effective and secure way to connect these offices to the corporate network.

How SASE helps: By replacing traditional Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) connections with SD-WAN, SASE helps to reduce costs and improve agility. MPLS connectivity was not designed to handle the high volumes of traffic to cloud destinations and software-as-a-service applications that today’s corporate office and branch network users generate.

And with SASE, network security functions are delivered from the cloud to ensure consistent protection for all branch offices without the need for dedicated on-premises security infrastructure.

3. Supporting zero trust network access

The traditional network perimeter is becoming less relevant, so your organization is adopting a zero trust security model, requiring verification for every user and device attempting to access resources.

How SASE helps: It inherently aligns with the principles of zero trust by providing identity-centric access and applying security policies based on user and device attributes. So, only authorized users with trusted devices can access specific applications or data, regardless of their location.

4. Protecting information

Protecting sensitive data is a key concern for your organization, and you need to inspect and control the content that flows in and out of your network.

How SASE helps: Security services such as data loss prevention, real-time URL filtering and content inspection are integrated directly into the cloud-based architecture. You can enforce policies that prevent the unauthorized transfer of sensitive data and inspect content for malware or other threats.

5. Managing internet-bound traffic

You want to keep your organization’s internet-bound traffic secure and efficiently managed to improve the user experience.

How SASE helps: Because it consolidates security and networking capabilities, it can simplify both IT and security operations by delivering visibility and centralized control. Security services are applied at the edge so that all traffic, whether it’s destined for the internet or the corporate network, is consistently protected.

Network management made easy with SASE

The dual security- and network-related functionality of SASE keeps your applications and data secure and will also simplify your network management in other ways:

  • Latency: SASE places network and security services closer to users and their devices, thereby reducing the distance that data must travel and minimizing latency issues. And, by caching content locally, SASE minimizes the time it takes to fetch data, resulting in faster access for users. This is especially important for real-time applications and services.
  • Bandwidth: By routing internet-bound traffic directly and securely to the internet from the edge, rather than through a centralized data center, SASE helps to reduce bandwidth. You can also prioritize critical applications and services so that the related essential network traffic receives the necessary bandwidth. And, because SASE is cloud-native, you can scale your network and security services based on demand.
  • Costs: Budgets are an integral part of network management. SASE eliminates on-premises applications by moving security and networking functions to the cloud. This means fewer upfront hardware investments, and you save on ongoing maintenance and upgrades. Add to that the inherent scalability of SASE, and you can avoid unnecessary spending associated with overprovisioning. And, with your security and networking functions integrated into a unified platform, you can achieve operational efficiencies and streamline your IT management.

Managed services make SASE soar

It takes a certain skill set to implement and optimize SASE according to best practices, then manage the solution day to day – and this can present a challenge to many organizations.

A managed SASE solution offered by an experienced managed service provider (MSP) can improve operational efficiency, network performance and agility. These solutions also consolidate essential security capabilities within a single, unified and easy-to-manage platform architecture.

The additional support that comes with a managed SASE solution also means the size of your organization, your industry and your geographic spread won’t hold you back from swiftly reaping the benefits. An MSP will have all the resources needed to deploy, manage and maintain a comprehensive SASE solution for you.

Powering up with Prisma SASE

NTT DATA has partnered with Palo Alto Networks to incorporate Prisma SASE – the industry’s most complete SASE solution – into our Managed Campus Networks service.

Prisma SASE integrates seamlessly with our Sentient Platform for Network Transformation (SPEKTRA), our global services platform for managed network solutions that unites security, observability, AI, incident management, automation, reporting and more in a single service.

So, our clients benefit from both the technology and the strong partnership between NTT DATA and Palo Alto Networks that keeps their employees, applications and data safe.

With managed SASE, redesigning your network security to stop sophisticated ransomware attacks and advanced threats is no longer a burden or an afterthought. It’s the ultimate strategic plan you need to safeguard your infrastructure.