More organizations are moving to distributed architectures for their computer networks. The traditional monolithic systems do not provide the flexibility, resiliency, and scalability that distributed computing offers. With the growing number of users, devices, and data that reside outside the security perimeter, organizations have to re-evaluate how to secure the edges of their networks without restricting access to critical data for Power BI Reporting.
SASE vs. SSE
In 2019, Gartner recommended that enterprises implement a secure access service edge (SASE) framework to strengthen their cybersecurity defenses. SASE was designed to decentralize security to make it more dynamic and adaptable to ever-changing cybersecurity threats. As envisioned, Gartner’s SASE consisted of the following components:
- Secure Web Gateway (SWG)
- Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB)
- Next-Generation Firewalls
- Zero-Trust Network Access
SASE was designed to secure cloud services, applications, and the web while protecting users and devices located on-premise or remote.
Less than three years later, Gartner has suggested that a security service edge concept provides a more robust cybersecurity framework for cloud-based infrastructures. Instead of next-generation firewalls that are tied to the network, SSE offers a security solution that matches the flexibility, scalability, and resilience of distributed computing.
Secure Web Gateway
SWGs protect against web-based threats. Their job is to ensure secure internet access for all users regardless of location. Before users access the internet, they must go through a gateway that filters internet traffic to prevent potential web-based attacks. SWGs use security tools such as the following to protect against malware and data breaches:
- URL filtering
- Malicious code detection
- Application control
- Data leakage
SWGs are a foundational component of any comprehensive SSE strategy. They not only protect against web-based cyberattacks, but the gateways enable organizations to:
- Block access to malicious or questionable websites
- Configure policies by groups to strengthen internet access safety
- Prohibit unauthorized data transfer
Securing internet access by deploying multiple security tools can identify and contain threats from the perimeter.
Cloud Access Security Broker
As more organizations consider software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, they encounter visibility issues as information moves through multiple cloud instances, mobile users, and on-premise data centers. The lack of end-to-end visibility of cloud movement hampers a company’s ability to secure, govern, and comply with cybersecurity regulations and best practices.
CASBs are designed to help organizations with their cloud visibility and control. CASBs reside between the user and cloud resources. They allow enterprises to see cloud-based applications across platforms and identify unauthorized use. The solution provides another mechanism for businesses to implement their security policies.
For example, CASBs can deliver the following:
- Autodiscovery of cloud applications in use
- Identify high-risk users and applications
- Enforce encryption and device profiling
Integrated CASBs can automatically find and control existing SaaS risks and can scale to address expanding SaaS implementations. By deploying API-based security capabilities, CASBs can scan applications for policy violations and potential threats in real-time without third-party tools.
Zero Trust Network Access
Zero trust is a cybersecurity model that assumes that every attempt to access or consume network resources is a potential security threat. The traditional network access model assumed that once a user was authenticated, they were given access to network resources without additional checks. In a zero-trust model, user authentication happens each time access is requested.
Within an SSE strategy, zero-trust network access offers added layers of enforcement through:
- Central Controls. Zero-trust implementations let businesses know who is accessing what. It can identify where data is stored and restrict access based on sensitivity.
- Least-Privileged Access. Granting access to only resources needed for job performance prevents unauthorized access to critical data. The framework can also monitor behaviors after access is granted to protect against data loss.
- Uniform Policies. Zero-trust strategies can enforce security policies regardless of where the user is located, or the data resides.
Requiring authentication whenever a user requests access to a network resource provides tighter controls and adds to an organization’s security posture.
SASE uses next-generation firewalls as a security defense; however, these advanced-featured firewalls are often tied to the physical underlayer. Using software-based solutions designed for the cloud enables firewall protection to be delivered as part of the cloud’s infrastructure. Firewall-as-a-Service (FWaaS) allows firewall capabilities to be delivered as part of a company’s cloud infrastructure.
An FWaaS delivers consistent enforcement of security policies across the enterprise. It can consolidate traffic from on-site data centers to remote users to provide uniform implementation and network visibility. The service takes advantage of the flexibility and scalability of software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications.
Although the four components of an SSE strategy can be delivered as stand-alone tools, the recommended approach is to use a single platform to deliver all capabilities. By using a single platform, organizations have an integrated solution that combines with other resources to deliver a SASE framework. SSE is intended to strengthen security defenses against the advanced capabilities of cyber criminals without impeding a company’s ability to use the data it is protecting.
Power BI Reporting
Power BI can be delivered as a desktop application and as a cloud-based service. The familiar desktop application allows users to connect to multiple data sources to create a data model for reporting. The localized use of the desktop application ensures maximum performance during resource-intensive data modeling.
Once the report is created, Power BI Service is used to share the information across an enterprise. Collaborative efforts are facilitated through the Power BI Service without compromising data security. SSE implementation ensures that data is securely moved throughout the enterprise while business intelligence informs critical decision-making.
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