Zero Trust vs SASE

Cyber attacks are evolving daily, putting the corporate world at risk of the loss of sensitive data and millions of dollars each day. Thus, advanced cybersecurity methods need to evolve at the same pace. Realizing this, several businesses are looking to enforce security policies that include robust and holistic cybersecurity services and defense techniques.

Zero trust and SASE have become buzzwords in cybersecurity today. These two security frameworks have gained traction in recent years, primarily due to a rise in remote working environments, which have exposed businesses to increased cyber threats.

These two frameworks are comprehensive and provide all-rounded security services. It is easier to convince one for the other, and although they share several similarities, specific core differences separate them.

Therefore, it is best to understand the fundamentals of both zero trust and SASE to identify which is best for your business model.

Zero Trust Vs. SASE

What Is Zero Trust?

The core principle of Zero Trust security, or Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), is to consider anyone or anything accessing the server a threat. As a result, the system continually verifies all user and device behaviors, allowing an in-depth approach to deal with and counter internal and external threats.

ZTNA tracks and notes all flowing traffic ensures every resource can be accessed easily and securely, and executes strict security controls.

Zero Trust principles help automate important processes, filter alerts based on type and significance and reverse unauthorized alterations. It also allows micro-segmentation. This means dividing the employees’ system access according to their access requirements and work duties.

Simultaneously, Zero Trust also enables continuous identity verification of a user as they access the system and data and governance of applications and networks.

What Is SASE?

SASE stands for Secure Access Service Edge and is one of the newest yet most crucial advancements in cloud-delivered network security services. Its rise in popularity can be credited to the increased use of cloud systems, thanks to remote working environments due to the pandemic. SASE provides a more layered security model which is centered at the connection source instead of an endpoint.

SASE has five core components. The first is Firewall as a Service (FWaaS), which allows the system to deploy a firewall throughout a cloud system. This way, the system can detect and delete any threats caused by users.

Second is the SD-WAN service, which is a cloud-adopted service that enables network connectivity for traffic distribution. It not only allows network connection over large distances but also improves network and application performance.

SASE also comprises Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB), which is a secure tool for the connection between users and applications on a cloud. CASB is able to continuously monitor service exchanges and deploy necessary data protection or security policies.

Another component of SASE is Secure Web Gateway (SWG). SWG is an alerting system that detects incoming user-initiated threats and notifies defense systems to prevent the incoming threat and deploy necessary security policies.

The last component of SASE is Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA). Here, it can be noted that SASE is built upon the core principles of Zero Trust, except with the addition of several other elements which differentiate it from basic Zero Trust policies.

Similarities Between SASE And Zero Trust

The core components of both SASE and Zero Trust help us understand the differences between the working principles of the two. The pair, however, also share certain similarities.

Continuous Verification

Both of these security frameworks continuously authenticate user traffic and provide secure access on the basis of work duties or data required to perform tasks. To put it simply, both security solutions do not offer users unrestricted access to the system. Instead, they grant access based on digital identity.

Zero trust requires appropriate identity authentication in order to build confident communications and grant access to the required algorithms and data sets.

On the other hand, SASE requires proper identity verification to be able to deploy changes in policies on the basis of access requirements.

Dynamic Secure Access

Zero Trust employs technology to automate several policies, including user and asset access. This principle, along with the tracking of device and user behaviors, is also an important component of SASE.

Tracking Risk And Trust Levels

As aforementioned, Zero Trust removes user trust from actions and hence needs to make use of trust levels and scoring techniques to earn confidence in all communications and ensure that the source of a particular action is legitimate. SASE uses a core component technology to implement a similar trust/risk engine to execute contextual scoring capabilities.

Which Is Better For Your Business: Zero Trust Or SASE?

The most pressing cyber security question among businesses is whether to choose Zero Trust or SASE for their systems. However, it is imperative to understand that the two are not independent of each other. Rather, as explained above, Zero Trust policies are a part of SASE.

One core difference to understand before choosing the right solution for your business is that Zero Trust is a short-term solution instead of SASE. Nonetheless, SASE is time-consuming because developers have to work on each technology and solution in detail to enable a holistic combination when combined with the cloud service.

Although Zero Trust offers better insight, SASE not only offers enhanced protection compared to common security protocols but also makes the Zero Trust strategy more manageable and flexible.

To sum it up, Zero Trust can be very useful for a business due to its ability to reduce vulnerabilities. However, SASE provides an overall better platform for business management.

In the case where your business does not have enough resources to invest in both these security solutions, then opting for Zero Trust alone is always a viable option. It is quite simpler to deploy than SASE though it requires greater maintenance to make it long-lasting.

Wrapping Up

Both businesses and system users often confuse SASE and Zero Trust Network Access. Even though the two share some similarities, they have certain core components that make them different, one of them being that Zero Trust strategies are essentially a subdivision of SASE.

Conversely, SASE is also built upon the infrastructure of Zero Trust. As a result, the implementation of Zero Trust strategies ultimately leads to some elements of SASE being automatically incorporated into the infrastructure.

Understanding both the similarities and differences between the pair can help businesses choose which is the better option for their systems.

Derik Belair

As President and CEO, Derik leads the vision, strategy and growth of Augmentt. Prior to founding Augmentt, Derik was the Vice President at SolarWinds, leading the digital marketing strategy for SolarWinds’ Cloud division. Derik has been working in the channel for over 20 years, starting his career as a channel sales rep at Corel Corp. and eventually becoming the first employee at N-able Technologies in April of 2000.
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