What Are Managed SASE Services?

5 min. read

Managed SASE services are delivered by a third-party provider that oversees and executes the deployment and management of a SASE architecture.

In this service model, the managed service provider (MSP) handles infrastructure maintenance, security policy implementation, and ongoing SASE solution management. Organizations rely on MSPs to deliver managed SASE services to overcome cybersecurity challenges, skills shortages, and lack of technical expertise needed to optimize a SASE solution.

What Is SASE?

SASE diagram showing SaaS, clouds, and data center linked to security services and endpoints.

Secure access service edge (SASE) is a cloud-based architecture model that combines SD-WAN, SWG, CASB, FWaaS, and ZTNA into a single platform.

The SASE framework is designed to consolidate various networking and security functions into minimal products or services from a single vendor (or a limited number of vendors) rather than multiple vendors. This approach enhances operational speed and simplifies management.

SASE allows businesses to support distributed remote and hybrid users automatically. This is accomplished by connecting users to nearby cloud gateways rather than backhauling traffic to corporate data centers. SASE also provides secure access to all applications while maintaining complete visibility and traffic inspection across all ports and protocols.

The SASE model drastically simplifies management and reduces complexity. It turns the perimeter into a consistent set of cloud-based service capabilities that can be deployed where and when they are needed. This is a more efficient alternative to establishing a perimeter around the data center instead of using a collection of disparate security appliances.

What Is SASE?

Industry Drivers for Managed SASE Services

Industry drivers for managed SASE Services: tech disruption & AI, work landscape evolution, cloud adoption & hybrid app delivery

In recent years, hybrid work has become the standard, with tasks seamlessly shifting between corporate offices, branch offices, home offices, and travel locations. Hybrid work presents a unique opportunity for organizations to establish a stable foundation that enables employees to work securely and productively from anywhere. As a result, many are turning to MSPs to deliver managed SASE services to prioritize the security and performance of all networks and locations. MSPs bring solutions and expertise that complement the SASE offering. As a result, organizations can benefit from unique solutions, network design and integration expertise, solution bundles and more.

Cloud technology adoption has empowered companies to enhance agility, efficiency, and flexibility. Most enterprises have embraced a multicloud strategy, combining private cloud, public cloud, internet, and Software as a Service (SaaS) in a hybrid app delivery model. This shift reflects a broader trend in digital transformation. Organizations are strategically investing in cloud solutions to gain flexibility, save costs, and better serve customers. With managed SASE services, enterprises can eliminate the need to backhaul cloud traffic to the on-premises data center, resulting in reduced latency and improved application performance.

Digital transformation initiatives, once isolated projects, have become long term investments essential for growth and maintaining relevance in the dynamic global marketplace. Companies are investing significantly in cloud and digital transformation. This includes efforts to apply AI for enhanced automation, advanced data analytics, natural language processing (NLP), and chatbots. The surge in AI driven projects has prompted MSPs to integrate SASE solutions into their portfolios, addressing increasing demands for security, speed, and cost savings in the evolving technological landscape.

Branch transformation is a strategic imperative to accommodate the dynamic needs of a hybrid workforce, highlighting the critical role of network security operations centers (NOCs) in managing both network and security services from a unified perspective. To navigate challenges, some enterprises are turning to MSPs as trusted advisors, relying on their expertise to manage the combined service infrastructure, guide product selection, and facilitate deployment and implementation.

Managed SASE Services Use Cases

Secure Access to Private Apps

With the shift towards digital work environments, data centers still host many private applications traditionally accessed over VPNs. VPNs don’t scale well and lack robust security. Managed SASE services address these gaps by offering secure access through Zero Trust Network Access 2.0. ZTNA enhances security without compromising the user experience. These services set specific access controls, evaluate trust based on user actions, and protect various applications. This reduces potential security vulnerabilities and prevents unauthorized access to private applications.

Secure Access to the Internet

Traditional SWGs face challenges in distributed networks, leading to latency, operational friction, and compromised security. Advanced managed SASE offerings offer best-in-class cloud SWG functionality. This typically includes Advanced URL Filtering, SSL decryption, SaaS application control, and advanced threat prevention.

Secure Access to SaaS Apps

The integration and interconnection of enterprise SaaS applications poses challenges in securing data. Managed SASE services address these issues with a zero trust-based approach to securing SaaS, facilitated by Next-Generation CASB. CASB offers immediate visibility and control over SaaS consumption. This allows for rapid deployment of SaaS access policies. It also mitigates risks associated with misconfigurations, plugin usage, and generative AI apps like ChatGPT, ensuring the security of sensitive data within SaaS applications.

Secure Remote Branch

With businesses adopting cloud-driven services and a growing hybrid workforce, the demand for secure remote branches is paramount. Advanced managed SASE services power the branch of the future with next-generation SD-WAN, providing flexible and resilient connectivity on any WAN. This solution, in contrast to traditional SD-WAN, ensures application SLAs and Zero Trust security for users, apps, and IoT devices.

Benefits of Managed SASE Services

Managed SASE benefits: less cost, cybersecurity expertise, fast deployment, and resolution, network-managed services, SASE transformation

Reduced Cost for Cybersecurity Labor and Tools

Managed SASE solutions provide a notable cost efficiency advantage. By eliminating the need for heavy upfront investments and minimizing ongoing management and operational overhead, organizations can experience a significant reduction in cybersecurity labor and tools expenditure. This streamlined approach allows in-house IT teams to focus on value driven initiatives, while the predictable operational expense (OPEX) model enables effective management of future expansion plans.

Extensive Cybersecurity Knowledge and Experience

The cybersecurity expertise offered by MSPs plays a crucial role in compensating for the scarcity of high-skilled security professionals within organizations. These experts deploy robust security solutions and adhere to best practices, aiding organizations in compliance with stringent government policies, securing customer data, and ensuring business continuity with minimal downtime.

Faster Deployment and Issues Resolution

Reputable MSPs excel in addressing common network security issues and possess valuable experience in handling rare challenges. This results in faster and more cost-effective deployments and swift issue resolution.

Complementary Network Managed Services and Expertise

Managed SASE solutions aren’t isolated. They bring additional benefits through complementary expertise in areas such as transport and network. Organizations gain access to unique solutions, expert network design, and integrated services. Additionally, established relationships with service providers can lead to discounted offerings, ultimately lowering the overall total cost of ownership.

Custom, Comprehensive SASE Transformation

MSPs can tailor SASE offerings to align with specific business needs. Customization ensures security policies adhere to Zero Trust principles, providing a comprehensive and adaptive security framework. The ability to tailor SASE solutions is a key factor in adapting to changing security requirements.

How to Choose a Managed SASE Provider

Selecting a managed (SASE) provider is a critical decision for businesses aiming to optimize their network and security infrastructure. With the prevalence of remote and hybrid work, it is essential to ensure secure connectivity and protect against evolving cybersecurity threats.

When choosing a managed SASE solution, enterprises should prioritize providers that offer seamless integration with their existing infrastructure. The ability to adapt to the unique needs of a hybrid workforce, supporting secure access to private apps, internet, SaaS applications, and remote branches, is paramount. A comprehensive solution should address challenges posed by the cloud services adoption, ensuring a secure and efficient connection to various applications across different platforms.

Enterprises should also consider the scalability and flexibility of the managed SASE solution. As digital initiatives expand, the chosen provider should offer a solution that can grow with the business, providing secure access and efficient management of network resources. Security features such as ZTNA, SWG, and CASB capabilities should be integral components of the managed SASE solution, ensuring comprehensive protection against diverse cyberthreats.

The provider's ability to deliver a seamless user experience for both on-premises and remote users is also crucial. A managed SASE solution should enhance productivity by facilitating secure access to applications from anywhere, ensuring that the user experience isn’t compromised.

Key Managed SASE Solution Capabilities for MSPs

Multi-tenant Management

Organizational chart showing hierarchical multi-tenant management across global regions.

Multi-tenant management capabilities enable MSPs to access and manage aggregated SASE products and services for their customers from a single location. Specifically, multi-tenant management allows MSPs to create and manage a hierarchy of business organizations and units. For each tenant, MSPs can specify a name, geographic location, or business vertical designation for identification.

This functionality simplifies the complexity associated with managing numerous SASE deployments by allowing MSPs to execute the following actions from one UI:

  • License activation and subscription management
  • Tenant management
  • Identity and access management
  • Open APIs for app integration and automation

Global Policy Management

Flowchart showing global bulk policy management with regional super admin nodes and policy icons.

Global policy management is a key capability that permits MSPs to efficiently administer policies in bulk across multiple enterprises simultaneously using a unified platform. MSPs can scale services up or down according to demand.

Open APIs

Open APIs enable solutions automation and integration for SASE products and services. MSPs can drive new offers for their customers, support legacy integrations, provide service assurance and even optimize the developer experience.

Managed SASE Services FAQs

SASE stands for secure access service edge.
The 5 key components of SASE include SD-WAN (software-defined wide area network), ZTNA (zero trust network access), SWG (secure web gateway), FWaaS (firewall as a service), and CASB (cloud access security broker).
Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) is a cloud-delivered architecture model that integrates multiple security services, including SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Network). SD-WAN focuses on optimizing network performance, while SASE combines SD-WAN capabilities with enhanced security features.
Firewalls act as gatekeepers using set rules to control traffic, while SASE is a cloud-native framework offering a broader array of security functionalities.
SASE is a cloud-centric architecture merging SD-WAN, SWG, CASB, FWaaS, and ZTNA into one service. SASE operates at the network edge and connects users to nearby cloud gateways, streamlining distributed and hybrid user support. SASE ensures secure access to applications with simplified management and reduced complexity.