Understanding the Key Components of SASE Architecture

SASE architecture combines SD-WAN networking and advanced security functionality such as access security brokers and zero trust network access (ZTNA). By implementing these technologies, organizations can lower costs, reduce complexities and enable new digital business scenarios.

Rather than purchasing hardware appliances at each site, SASE delivers networking and security functions as virtualized services. That allows IT teams to scale the solution quickly while lowering costs by paying only for what is used.


Unlike traditional security approaches, which deploy firewalls and DMZs in the data center, SASE architecture incorporates networking and security capabilities at the network’s edge. This removes the need for VPN tunnels and proxies to connect remote users, reducing their attack surface. Instead, security and networking functions are based on the nearest points of presence (PoPs). This reduces latency and delivers a better user experience.

With SASE, employees can access corporate systems from anywhere with a reliable internet connection. Moreover, centralized visibility of users and devices makes it easier for teams to set consistent policies, spot anomalies, and resolve security incidents. Additionally, security functions are delivered from the cloud, eliminating IT staff’s need to install and manage hardware at branch offices.

Zero trust network access (ZTNA) is a core element of SASE architecture that provides mobile and remote employees with granular security controls. It uses a user’s identity to verify requests rather than their IP address or device type. This is essential for digital business transformation and addressing security risks arising from cloud apps’ increased use.

As you choose a SASE provider, look for one with a strong partnership with leading security vendors. This will enable you to break down tech siloes, automate mundane networking and security chores, and improve performance across the network. Additionally, you want a SASE provider with a global network of PoPs to ensure that all locations receive a high quality of service.


For SASE to be effective, network and security functions must operate together. With tight networking and security services integration, SASE provides a unified access experience for users from anywhere.

Unlike traditional security, which requires VPN tunnels and proxies to allow remote workers to connect to the company system, SASE architecture enables application-based routing. Traffic goes to the closest point of presence for inspection, which can be simpler edge servers or more advanced hardware with full deployments.

Contextual access decisions are made at each PoP based on various connection aspects and user requests, including identity, device, location, time of day, and data sensitivity. Identity is the primary context for authentication. Still, additional information from the communication session, such as the threat landscape and the user’s risk/trust posture, can also impact decision-making.

To get the most out of SASE, enterprises should ensure that networking and security function as a single service with automated integration and orchestration. Otherwise, enterprises run the risk of vendor lock-in and the risk of a single point of failure. Choosing an SD-WAN solution that offers native and automated integration with multiple SASE vendors allows IT teams to select the networking and security solutions that best meet their needs without compromising feature sets. This approach helps break down technology siloes, reduces complexity, and allows for seamless work-from-anywhere support while ensuring all solution elements are sourced from trusted and reliable providers.


Modern networks include remote workers, IoT devices, and software-as-a-service (SaaS) products. All these endpoints require network connectivity and security services. They also generate large amounts of data that require inspection. With SASE, IT teams can reduce the work required to deploy, monitor and manage these diverse solutions.

A good SASE architecture combines SD-WAN, cloud security, and zero-trust network access into one solution at the network’s edge. It offers a global network backbone to eliminate latency and connect users to their nearest points of presence (PoPs).

The security component of a SASE solution uses identity-based policy enforcement to allow or deny access to applications or services based on the user’s context. It identifies and authenticates devices, provides inline traffic encryption and decryption, and includes several inspection engines. These engines provide malware scanning, sandboxing, and Domain Name System-based protection to protect against threats like distributed denial of service attacks.

The networking aspect of a SASE solution delivers optimization, caching, and content delivery to deliver a quality user experience. It also reduces the number of devices that need to be deployed at the enterprise edge and provides a flexible, cloud-based architecture. This eliminates the need for hardware at branch offices and remote locations, reducing maintenance and operational costs.


Unlike point solutions and traditional network architectures, which backhaul data to central inspection points in the network, SASE architecture performs security checks at distributed PoPs close to users. This helps eliminate network bottlenecks and allows data to be moved more efficiently for outstanding performance. It also enables organizations to implement consistent policies across the entire network.

For example, when an end user connects to the internet, a SASE-based solution would examine the request and send it to a cloud PoP, where a security engine is installed to look for suspicious activity patterns. This ensures that users get the best application performance and can continue working confidently and without delay.

The architecture is also designed to detect malware and malicious content threats by analyzing the underlying infrastructure for abnormalities. This can prevent attacks from affecting the system and help identify and correct the root cause of such breaches.

Organizations looking to adopt a SASE architecture should ensure that the vendors they consider have a vision for the future of secure networking and a business model that align with theirs. This will help them avoid vendor lock-in, which can result in losing out on vital functionality or paying for expensive upgrades. It’s also worth checking how a potential SASE vendor delivers its services, as this can significantly impact the solution’s overall cost.