Home » Technology » SASE vs. Zero Trust: Which One Is Better?

SASE vs. Zero Trust: Which One Is Better?


Since cybersecurity issues became increasingly intense, organizations have grown more interested in Gartner’s SASE solutions and Zero Trust model to secure their network and company activities.

While SASE is a cloud-delivering framework with network and security solutions, combining multiple cloud security functionalities to provide enterprise solutions, Zero Trust is an advanced security model that ensures a consistent authentication and validation process before making resources accessible on request.

SASE is a more recent network security technology largely built on the Zero Trust model to help it deliver a complete and efficient network. Zero Trust doesn’t just simplify network requirements but also effortlessly adapts to modern-day technology requirements. 

CNBC has reported a tremendous increase in the demand for Zero Trust products. In fact, it was predicted that the world will experience more than a 200% increase in demand for Zero Trust products between 2020 and 2026. Zero Trust is a major digression from the old traditional cybersecurity system

The increase in diversified remote workforce post-pandemic has boosted the interest in ZTNA, with many claiming that VPN is dead.

How SASE and Zero Trust Align, and The Importance of Identity

Zero Trust, as the name implies, takes away prior trust in a device or user upon every request for access to company resources. The trust algorithms constantly require access to a user’s historical data and identity engines.

On the other hand, SASE demands identity to enforce policy modification based on requested access. For instance, a business user accessing an application in a private bank compared to an IoT device accessing a cloud resource requires multiple identity levels. At the different levels, it is crucial to verify the identity of who is requesting access and what exactly is being accessed.

In essence, the service, user, or device identity is one of the most significant aspects of the SASE policy. Other sources of context that tallies with the Zero Trust strategy include the time of day the request is made, location of identity, risk level, trust level, and application/data sensitivity.

Unified SASE and Zero Trust Principles

Zero Trust Network Access has a focus on whitelisting capability for service access. A reason is it is referred to as the backbone of the SASE architecture. Zero Trust is built over a series of tenets or policies. A major tenet is that encryption and authentication are applied to every communication regardless of where they are situated. And that security must be implemented at the application layer closest to the asset. Another tenet requires that all network flows undergo an authentication process before being finalized, and the access is given by the dynamic policy. These two key tenets are foundational to Zero Trust.

Similar to how traditional remote-access VPNs are implemented, ZTNA secures access to services at the application layer instead of a complete network. In essence, this allows the means for authenticated or authorized users to gain access to approved applications.

Dynamic Policies and Context-Aware Trust Levels

One Zero Trust principle is that access is offered based on dynamic policy. Another is that it utilizes technology to automate the authentication of assets or users to access resources and consider other policy decisions. The device and user monitoring process goes along with automation that enforces the adjustments in policy as a significant SASE component.

SASE vs. Zero Trust: Which Model Is Perfect For Your Business?

Zero Trust is a very reliable security strategy in a time of intense cyberspace attacks. It can be deployed to various aspects of an organization by integrating SASE. With the high rate of cloud adoption and service consumed in an X as a Service model, SASE is a major point of reliance for network security.

However, when it comes to adopting SASE, it is not a situation of a contest between the two models. Instead, Zero Trust is modeled in a way that complements the SASE framework.

Network security architecture is finally undergoing a major shift from perimeter protection as a core spot of the network architectures. As organizations seek to improve the security of their increasingly dispersed remote systems from attacks and threats, SASE and Zero Trust are prioritized.

Zero Trust is built on the following principles:

  • First, trust no one and asset – authenticate and verify everything.
  • Grant least privileged access to devices and users – authorize the extent of access to resources.
  • Finally, consistently verify and monitor all access.

The Zero Trust principles apply at all levels of access points to a company network. Regardless of whether you are a user, service, application, cloud, or entity, it requires authentication, authorization, and process monitoring.

SASE is detailed in the deployment of network security services. Its focus is primarily on four areas:

  • Network security services. SASE concentrates largely on core security services.
  • Network services. It builds a secure connection to data centers and cloud providers.
  • Identity. SASE applies a policy to identity just as Zero Trust.
  • Consumption-based. The cloud deployment of the network services, network security services, and identity.

What Are The Differences Between SASE and Zero Trust?

First, Gartner coined SASE, while Forrester coined Zero Trust.

If you think of SASE as your “how,” Zero Trust would be considered as your “what.” Zero Trust is not dependent on a specific technology solution in Cyberspace. Regardless of what deployment approach you are considering. Whether it is a firewall, Anti-X solution, a DLP product, or monitoring software, you can still apply the Zero Trust principles to every aspect of the deployment of the technology.

SASE particularly incorporates multiple security and networking technologies. In addition, it addresses how a cloud provider deploys these security services and how companies should utilize them.

The common goal that unifies SASE and Zero Trust is that they secure business, contextual, and identity-based policy assignments.

Is one part of the other?

According to Gartner, Zero Trust is a core SASE component. It is not necessarily a complete deployment of a true Zero Trust-based architecture around an entire environment. Find out more about SASE and Zero Trust here: https://nordlayer.com/blog/sase-vs-zero-trust/

Brain Curry

Brian is the news author at Research Snipers which mainly covers Technology News, Microsoft News, Google News, Facebook, Apple, Huawei, Xiaomi, and other tech news.