SD-WAN vs. SASE: The Right Choice to Protect Your Business
SD-WAN and SASE are two different approaches to networking technologies that have the same end goal: to connect a network remotely. In the last few years, many businesses have had to rely on SD-WAN solutions, and while SASE is relatively new to the playing field, it’s found its place among remote workers.
In fact, 92% of enterprises now use a multi-cloud strategy, with 95% using SD-WAN or expected to within two years. So, we ask the question, which is better: SD-WAN or SASE? Could the answer be both? Let’s dive into the two cloud migration solutions and how and when you should deploy each.
What Is SD-WAN and How Does It Work?
A WAN (wide area network) connects users from different locations to applications in the data center. Traditionally, solutions involved using MPLS circuits for security and connectivity. However, the old approach no longer works as the world moves towards a cloud-centric focus.
Cloud-focused technology has led to increased WAN traffic—something that old solutions simply cannot cope with. High volumes of cloud traffic worsen the user’s application experience and mean data is vulnerable. Such IT challenges mean businesses face threats and compliance issues.
However, the new model SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide-Area Network) approaches network connectivity differently. By ensuring low operational costs and improving bandwidth efficiency, SD-WAN means high levels of performance without sacrificing security. An SD-WAN uses a centralized control to direct traffic to trusted SaaS and laaS.
Today, SD-WAN technologies are well-known and used throughout the industry. Everyone, including the biggest tech companies, has taken to SD-WAN to ensure high-performing, secure network connectivity.
What is SASE, and How Does It Work?
On the other hand, SASE is a relatively new technology. Launched in 2019, SASE is pronounced “sassy” and stands for Secure Access Service Edge. It is an emerging model that effectively does the same job as an SD-WAN but with a focus on security.
Both SASE and SD-WAN aim to connect different users and devices across the network intelligently. Using virtual overlay networks, both route traffic through the most secure route and can cover large areas. So, how is SASE different?
SASE focuses on individually connected endpoints to the service edge, which consists of distributed points of presence. If you’re interested in how to deploy SASE, contact our cloud consulting services.
Comparing SD-WAN and SASE: Which Is Better?
SD-WAN providers and SASE both have their place, but which is right for your business? Or, can you use both?
As mentioned, SD-WAN and SASE aren’t entirely different. Similarities include:
- Using virtual overlay networks to route traffic automatically and optimally
- Covering extensive geographical areas, especially suitable for global organizations
- Controlled from anywhere
However, SD-WAN and SASE offer different approaches to reach the same endpoint. Firstly, SD-WAN focuses on the organization’s data center, while SASE uses private data centres and the public cloud.
Secondly, SD-WAN technology does not focus its approach on security. Instead, SD-WAN’s safe practices are secondary features, often delivered by third parties. In contrast, SASE combines security and networking to work together. With SASE, security agents are on each user’s device and in the cloud.
Finally, SD-WAN and SASE differ in their approach to traffic inspection. SD-WAN inspects traffic one function at a time. It deals with traffic functions on a case-by-case basis, offering individual solutions. On the other hand, SASE networks examine traffic overall, saving time. Instead of passing traffic through multiple functions, it provides an overall solution.
Advanced SD-WAN Functionality with SASE
Looking at our comparison at face value suggests that SASE comes out on top. With better end-user experience, greater security, and time-saving traffic inspection, SASE is the obvious choice. However, it’s not an either-or decision. SASE requires SD-WAN to work effectively.
- Firstly, identify your application traffic. Organise it with your quality of service, security policies, and business intent in mind.
- Update cloud application definitions and TCP/IP addresses automatically daily.
- Automate control of the SD-WAN and cloud security services to a single console for ease.
- Set failover to use secondary cloud security to avoid interruption automatically.
- Automatically reconfigure secure connections to newer and closer cloud security enforcement branches as they become available.
- Allow end-users to adopt cloud security services and SASE.
- Finally, enable customers to adopt new security tools from third-party vendors to address future threats.
The Problems with How SASE and SD-WAN Are Sold
As SASE is still a relatively new technology, many SD-WAN vendors offer SASE solutions as an addition to their SD-WAN products. However, as we have learned, you should not consider them as separate products. Instead, SD-WAN and SASE should work together to provide an optimized, effective, high-performing, and secure network connectivity.
SASE vs. SD-WAN: Key Takeaways
- SASE and SD-WAN are different technologies employing different techniques to reach the same end goal: connecting wide-area networks securely.
- SD-WAN is used throughout the industry; SASE is an emerging technology started in 2019.
- Both SASE and SD-WAN both aim to connect geographically distributed branches, applications, and users with flexibility and adaptability at heart.
- SASE uses cloud-native security tools and centres the cloud in its approach to network connectivity.
- SD-WAN technology focuses on connecting branches to the central headquarters and data centre—although it can connect users directly to the cloud too.
- SD-WAN and SAS are often sold as separate solutions when most businesses can make use of both in their network connectivity and security approaches.