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Security at the Edge - What is Gartner's SASE & why does it matter?

Recently, Gartner published a report called "Market Trends: How to Win as WAN Edge and Security Converge Into the Secure Access Service Edge" that dives into how to enable security and network access controls as-a-service from the cloud. But what is Gartner's SASE (pronounced like "sassy")? The acronym stands for Secure Access Service Edge, and is a concept that merges the functions of network and security point solutions into a unified, global cloud-native service.

It should come as no surprise that at Akamai we are big fans of the edge. What do we mean by the edge? I am glad you asked. This is one of those cases where a picture speaks a thousand words.

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With our intelligent platform distributed everywhere it counts, and eighty-five percent of the world's Internet users within a single "network hop" of an Akamai CDN server, we accelerate and protect apps and APIs for our customers with our security and application delivery capabilities at the edge.

We have talked at length about how existing security and even enterprise network architectures no longer make much sense in today's mobile and cloud first world, where the Internet is fast becoming the corporate WAN. That has left many enterprises asking themselves, who wouldn't want to consume security and application delivery capabilities as-a-service from the edge?

As mentioned before, the analysts at Gartner clearly believe in this cloud based, as-a-service delivery model. The recent Gartner report linked at the beginning of this post is about how the SASE concept enables security and network controls to be consumed as-a-service from the cloud.

But as-a-service delivery isn't enough. We couldn't agree more. We see making smarter security and access decisions based on a multitude of contextual signals, that are continuously analysed to establish trust, as foundational. The same Gartner report recently outlined: "SASE capabilities are delivered as a service based upon the identity of the entity, real-time context, enterprise security/compliance policies and continuous assessment of risk/trust throughout the sessions."

Gartner calls SASE "transformational" and points out the value and opportunity: "This inversion of networking and network security patterns will transform the competitive landscape over the next decade and create significant opportunities for enterprises to reduce complexity and allow their IT staff to eliminate mundane aspects of the network and network security operations."

Capabilities include:

  • Zero Trust Access
  • Threat Prevention/Detection
  • DNS Protection
  • Web Application & API Protection (WAAP)
  • Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Now, if you have been following Akamai, that list of capabilities should sound familiar. We have been focused on providing security and content delivery network capabilities at the edge longer than anyone at this point.

And it shows.

While our competitors claim to have reinvented the wheel while quietly building out their networks with more PoPs, we continue to believe that a truly distributed cloud-native platform at the edge is the only way forward. This is particularly true when it comes to delivering enterprise security and network services at planetary scale to some of the largest organizations in the world.

Learn more about how to get started with your enterprise security transformation by consuming Zero Trust Access and Threat Prevention/Detection as-a-service delivered at the edge.

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