How is SASE Helping the Public Sector?

Secure Access Service Edge or SASE is helping the public sector in a range of developing ways. Today we’ll look at what the technology does, its use cases and how it’s benefiting everything from health to education in this comprehensive 10-minute read.

What is SASE?

SASE stands for secure access service edge. This is a technology that skips a data centre by delivering WAN & security from the cloud instead. According to Paloalto, this tech is needed because “existing network approaches and technologies simply no longer provide the levels of security and access control digital [organisations] need. These [organisations] demand immediate, uninterrupted access for their users, no matter where they are located. With an increase in remote users and software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, data moving from the data [centre] to cloud services, and more traffic going to public cloud services and branch offices than back to the data [centre], the need for a new approach for network security has risen.” So, SASE brings Zero Trust, CASB and more security protocols together with SD-WAN for a better, more secure and easy-to-administer solution. And that makes it perfect for public sector organisations looking to cut costs, boost productivity, reduce inefficiencies and keep their ops secure from any access point.

Key components of SASE

Any good SASE will combine these key components:

●     Secure Access – Provide users with consistent and safe access to applications via SaaS.

●     SD-WAN Gateway -Gives branch access for management and deployment of the high-performing WAN.

●     Web Security – Delivered via the cloud, this SaaS protects the network from threats and upholds compliance requirements.

●     ENI – Edge network intelligence means end-user and IoT clients work well and within a high-security standard over wired and wifi connections.

●     Cloud Firewall – This tech keeps bad actors out by using anti-malware, URL filtering, IPS, ATD and other protocols for layered security.

●     Orchestrator – This lets you manage, operate, configure and monitor the network and overall security.

Main use cases for SASE

There are a lot of ways that SASE can help public sector organisations. Here are just a few:

  1. MPLS to SD-WAN – SASE helps organisations transition from expensive MPLS to SD-WAN connectivity.
  2. Remote access – Now, with SASE, your mobile and remote teams benefit from the same security, access and optimisation as if they were on-site.
  3. Ensure global access – SASE offers global PoPs by SLA-backed network providers to give your teams a fast worldwide network experience.
  4. Simple management – SASE lets you manage your whole infrastructure from a single console and offers data-driven decision-making tools at your fingertips.
  5. Cloud control – With SASE, all the PoPs have their data centre in the cloud and there’s no lag between these providers and your implementation. This means that making tweaks to the whole organisation happens in seconds and traffic is smart-routed for less latency.
  6. Branch access – Security at the branch level is important. SASE allows all locations to fit under the cloud so the whole WAN is protected by a single policy.
  7. Remote working – Protect workers wherever they are with the same level of security and VPN access you enforce on-premise for identical productivity at home or abroad.

Benefits of SASE

SASE really helps organisations manage their digital transformation with a scalable and cloud-based solution covering network connections and security. This is better than having several disparate systems, carriers or hardware appliances. FedTech explains, “networking teams can improve performance and consolidate the number of devices they must deploy. At the same time, security teams are regaining visibility and control of data at the user level. By following a SASE framework, agencies can provide consistent firewalls, intrusion prevention, web security and cloud app access control everywhere, managed from a single console in the cloud. Operations speed up and friction is removed, preventing a slowdown by traditional security services and architectures.” And this is particularly helpful in organisations where a majority of the workforce is remote partially or all of the time.

How SASE is used in the public sector

SASE is used in the public sector for a lot of purposes. The first and most obvious is a move into a hybrid or multi-cloud environment. This helps reduce management concerns, save time, offer equal access to remote employees and consolidate applications. There’s also an automation benefit to realise. By just automating some time-consuming and repetitive functions, SASE is saving ops costs. The time it takes to securely transfer data is also dropping too. This helps public sector organisations interact better with the citizens and helps put the data that government agencies do gather into a more usable format.

And getting data in a single repository for analysis is key. Agencies can then start, according to Versa:

●     “Leveraging data analytics and API platforms that are helping distribute offerings across third parties to engage private partners and NGOs.

●     Enriching the end-user experience by understanding a user’s context and applying role-based access controls to their journey.

●     Building smarter and [faster-connected] cities with a [centralised] network that can help effectively monitor, operate, and manage public infrastructure.”

SASE in public sector examples

Here are some specific ways that SASE helps the public sector by looking at health, government and educational examples. Your SASE implementation partner[1]  can help you scope and identify the best way to gain security, productivity and cost-savings benefits from rolling out this technology.

Education

Virtual instruction is likely here to stay. And with ransomware and other malicious attacks on the rise, SASE offers a quick way to protect these environments. EdTech explains, “Secure access service edge solutions combine the key functionalities of VPN and CASB tools into a single, unified, cloud-based platform. Rather than taking the long way around, granular traffic management features allow schools to route encrypted traffic to local access points, also known as the “service edge.” Having complete visibility into security solutions and traffic movement across the network makes it possible to enforce current cloud policies and create new ones as needed.” Just by having a full picture of the traffic across your network and multiple security systems that work together, educational institutions no longer have just one line of defence to prevent attacks.

Health

Sometimes your healthcare personnel aren’t on-site when they need access to critical applications. This might be admins in a home office or RNs making care visits to the patient’s home. SASE makes it possible to enable that remote access while beefing up security across your whole infrastructure. According to HealthTech, “Clinical staff working remotely need access to patient data in electronic health record systems just as quickly as those working inside the four walls of a hospital. CASB coupled with SASE can monitor the activity and performance of business applications and [prioritise] bandwidth for business-critical apps. This has the added benefit of increasing the number of calls to a server farm or data [centre] that a network can handle […]” And with SASE, this access is just as secure as it would be if they were with the hospital walls due to the inherent Zero Trust framework the technology operates in.

Government Offices

Agencies are complex places. From workers at different security levels to interactions with the public and their devices; security is key. And this causes a real opportunity for espionage and bad actors to get access to your systems just by getting a hold of approved devices. SASE gets rid of this risk through Zero Trust. GCN explains, “With the ability to quickly onboard resources and then segment access to them based on role, device and other granular identifiers, SASE makes it simpler to implement a least-privilege access policy for government employees. Because it limits how deep into the network any user can get; unless espionage occurs at the highest levels of access, it can be stopped.” And that Zero Trust means that every single time the device tries to access any data, their levels are polled, there’s no chance that a bad actor will breach security by stealing a laptop or a phone.

Perimeter 81 goes on to say, “By adopting a SASE platform, government offices can enable the delivery of integrated secure network security services that support digital cloud transformation, edge computing, workforce mobility, identity and access management. This new model will help governments get over the hump of doubt that has built up around the cloud. It will allow governments to manage all of their security and network solutions from one platform, fight off new threats and secure employees’ data no matter their location.” This is ideal for hybrid or remote working environments including housing authorities where visits to citizens’ homes are common.

Summary

Hopefully, after reading this article full of use cases and example benefits, you’ll understand how SASE helps the public sector in large and small ways. Perhaps, you’ll begin drafting a business case for your school, hospital, GPs office, government agency or department to scope out a SASE implementation. And that’s where we can help. If you want to benefit from the efficiencies, security, cost savings and easy management that a unified cloud SASE can offer, let’s talk[2] . We’re expertly positioned to help your public sector organisation benefit from this groundbreaking technology without disrupting the ebb and flow of normal operations.