In modern connectivity, the advent of Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) has ushered in a new era of network architecture. But most network admins and IT pros understand the critical importance of not just adopting SASE but ensuring its continuous, secure, and optimized operation.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the ins and outs of monitoring SASE networks —a crucial aspect that separates a robust, responsive infrastructure from potential bottlenecks and performance issues. We'll explore advanced strategies, tools, and best practices tailored to resonate with your expertise in managing complex IT ecosystems.

From understanding the nuances of SASE architecture to optimizing performance and staying ahead of emerging threats, we equip you with the insights and knowledge needed to not just adapt to the SASE era but thrive in it.

What Is A Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) Network?
What Is A Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) Network?

Secure Access Service Edge, or SASE, represents a paradigm shift in network architecture designed to meet the demands of the modern digital landscape. At its core, SASE unifies network security services with WAN capabilities, enabling organizations to secure and optimize their network traffic, regardless of the users' location. It's a framework that aligns with the principles of cloud-native architecture, emphasizing simplicity, scalability, and flexibility.

In essence, SASE replaces the traditional approach where security functions were confined to on-premises data centers. Instead, it embraces a cloud-driven model, allowing security services to follow the user and the data, no matter where they are located. This approach is particularly crucial in today's scenario, where the workforce is increasingly distributed, and applications are no longer confined to a centralized data center.

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I. Key Components of A SASE Architecture
I. Key Components of A SASE Architecture

To understand and effectively manage SASE networks, it's imperative to grasp its architecture's fundamental components. SASE combines network security functions with WAN (Wide Area Network) capabilities, so it includes many different elements:

Cloud-Native Security Services:

SASE leverages cloud-native security services such as Secure Web Gateways (SWGs), Firewall-as-a-Service (FWaaS), and Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA). These services are delivered as a service model, eliminating the need for on-premises hardware and providing scalable, on-demand security.

SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Network):

SD-WAN is a crucial component of SASE, offering a dynamic and flexible approach to wide-area networking. It optimizes connectivity between different locations, ensuring efficient traffic routing, and enhancing overall network performance.

Zero Trust Architecture:

SASE operates on the principle of Zero Trust, which means that no entity, whether inside or outside the network perimeter, is trusted by default. Authentication and authorization are required from anyone trying to access resources, reducing the risk of unauthorized access and potential security breaches.

Identity-Centric Security:

SASE focuses on identity-centric security, where user identities play a central role in determining access privileges. This approach aligns with the Zero Trust model and ensures that access is granted based on verified user identities rather than network locations.

Understanding these key components is foundational to effective SASE network monitoring. In the subsequent sections, we will explore how these components interplay and how to monitor them for optimal performance and security in your SASE environment.

Elevate Your SASE Monitoring with End-to-End Network Monitoring
Elevate Your SASE Monitoring with End-to-End Network Monitoring

Ready to take your SASE network monitoring to the next level? Look no further than Obkio's Network Monitoring tool – your ally in ensuring top-notch security, seamless performance, and hassle-free network monitoring. Using synthetic traffic and distributed Monitoring Agents, Obkio allows you to monitor and troubleshoot every aspect of your decentralized SASE network with ease.

Instantaneously delve into the heartbeat of your SASE network. With Obkio, you're not just monitoring; you're gaining real-time insights that empower you to be proactive rather than reactive.

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Why Obkio?

  • Real-Time Insights: Gain instant visibility into your SASE network's performance, allowing you to stay ahead of potential issues before they impact your users.
  • User-Friendly Interface: Navigate your network's intricacies with ease. Obkio's intuitive interface makes monitoring a breeze, even for the busiest IT pros.
  • Customized Alerts: Set up personalized alerts tailored to your network's specific needs, so you're always in the loop, whether at your desk or on the go.
  • Scalable Solutions: Whether you're managing a small team or a sprawling enterprise, Obkio scales with you. No network is too big or too small.

Experience the difference Obkio can make in enhancing the performance and user experience of your SASE network. Don't settle for uncertainty; start your journey towards unparalleled SASE network monitoring!

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The Importance of Monitoring SASE Networks: What to Monitor and Why
The Importance of Monitoring SASE Networks: What to Monitor and Why

Welcome to the frontlines of SASE, where the game isn't just about setting up networks – it's about keeping a watchful eye on what really matters. As IT pros and network administrators, your job doesn’t stop at just setting up SASE – you’ve got to keep a vigilant eye on the moving parts.

So, what's the deal? Why should you care about monitoring your SASE network? We're about to spill the beans on what to monitor and, more importantly, why it's absolutely crucial.

I. The Importance of Monitoring SASE Networks
I. The Importance of Monitoring SASE Networks

Monitoring SASE networks isn't just about finding bottlenecks or possible problems; it's more like keeping things in check. As IT pros and network admins, you're kind of the guardians here, responsible for making sure everything runs smoothly and tweaking things here and there for better security and performance,

Let’s discuss:

  • Threat Detection and Prevention: SASE networks often handle sensitive data and provide remote access to critical resources. Monitoring allows for real-time threat detection, enabling quick responses to potential security breaches and preventing unauthorized access.
  • Network Visibility: Monitoring provides administrators with comprehensive visibility into network traffic, allowing them to identify bottlenecks, latency issues, or bandwidth constraints. This visibility is crucial for optimizing the performance of SASE networks.
  • Application Performance: SASE often involves the use of cloud-native applications. Monitoring ensures that these applications, including SD-WAN and Firewall-as-a-Service (FWaaS), perform optimally, offering a seamless user experience regardless of the users' locations.
  • Early Detection of Network Issues: By monitoring network behaviour in real-time, administrators can detect anomalies and potential issues before they escalate. Proactive identification of problems allows for swift resolution, reducing downtime and mitigating the impact on users.
  • User Experience Enhancement: Understanding how users interact with the network helps in improving the overall user experience. Monitoring enables administrators to address user concerns promptly and optimize access for a seamless user experience, especially for services like SD-WAN that impact user connectivity.
  • Remote Work Support: With the rise of remote work, monitoring becomes crucial for ensuring that remote users have secure and reliable access to SASE services like SD-WAN and FWaaS, maintaining productivity and user satisfaction.

In summary, monitoring SASE networks is instrumental in ensuring the proper functioning of critical services like SD-WAN and FWaaS. It provides the necessary insights to optimize performance, enhance security, and adapt to the evolving demands of the digital landscape.

II. What to Monitor In A SASE Network
II. What to Monitor In A SASE Network

So, we’re talking a lot about SD-WAN and FWaaS, but what other parts of the SASE should you be monitoring?

Monitor SASE Networks

Monitoring a Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) network involves keeping a watchful eye on various components to ensure security, performance, and overall functionality. Here are the key parts to monitor in a SASE network:

1. User Activity:

  • User Authentication and Authorization: Monitor user logins, authentication attempts, and access permissions to ensure that only authorized individuals are accessing the network resources.
  • User Behavior Analytics: Utilize behaviour analytics to identify anomalous user activities that may indicate security threats, such as account compromises or insider threats.

2. Network Traffic:

  • Bandwidth Usage: Monitor bandwidth consumption to identify patterns, prevent congestion, and optimize resource allocation for both SD-WAN and other network services.
  • Traffic Patterns: Analyze network traffic patterns to identify unusual or potentially malicious activities, helping to ensure the integrity of data in transit.

3. Security Services:

  • Firewall Services: Monitor the effectiveness of Firewall-as-a-Service (FWaaS) in filtering traffic, blocking unauthorized access, and preventing potential security threats.
  • Secure Web Gateways (SWGs): Ensure that SWGs are effectively filtering and securing web traffic, protecting users from malicious websites and content.
  • Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA): Monitor the implementation of Zero Trust policies to validate user identities and ensure secure access to network resources.

4. SD-WAN Performance:

  • Link Utilization: Monitor the utilization of different WAN links to optimize traffic routing and ensure efficient utilization of resources.
  • Latency and Packet Loss: Track latency and packet loss to maintain a responsive and reliable network, crucial for SD-WAN performance.

5. Application Performance:

  • Application Usage: Monitor the usage patterns of cloud-native applications to ensure that they are performing optimally and meeting user expectations.
  • Application Response Times: Keep an eye on application response times to identify any slowdowns or performance issues that might impact user experience.

8. Remote User Access:

  • Remote Connectivity: Monitor the performance and security of remote user access to ensure a seamless and secure experience for employees working from different locations.
  • VPN Connections: If applicable, monitor VPN connections to guarantee secure communication between remote users and the SASE network.

Regular monitoring of these components ensures the overall health, security, and efficiency of a SASE network. It allows IT professionals and network administrators to proactively address issues, optimize performance, and adapt to the evolving demands of the digital landscape.

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Step 1. Deploying A SASE Network Monitoring Tool
Step 1. Deploying A SASE Network Monitoring Tool

Your SASE architecture is the backbone of your organization's connectivity and security. Ensuring it performs at its best is paramount, and that's where Network Monitoring tools come into play.

With the dynamic nature of SASE, where security and performance are non-negotiable, a dedicated monitoring tool becomes the eyes and ears of IT professionals and network administrators. It provides real-time visibility into the network traffic, allowing for the identification of potential security threats, bandwidth bottlenecks, and latency issues.

By offering customizable alerts, enabling quick responses to anomalies and ensuring the continuous functionality of critical SASE services like SD-WAN and Firewall-as-a-Service (FWaaS).

So, how do you choose the right Network Monitoring tool for your business?

1.1. The Ultimate Network Monitoring Tool for SASE Networks
1.1. The Ultimate Network Monitoring Tool for SASE Networks

Are you looking for the ultimate end-to-end Network Monitoring tool for SASE? Look no further than Obkio!

Obkio is an active, end-to-end Network Monitoring and Troubleshooting SaaS solution built for simplifying network monitoring for modern, distributed network architectures like SASE, SD-WAN, Hybrid, Multi-Homing and more. Using distributed Monitoring Agents and synthetic traffic, Obkio allows you to monitor performance from all ends of your network, from WAN to LAN, to proactively identify network, application, device and Internet performance issues before they affect the end-user experience.

Monitor SASE Networks

Distributed Monitoring: Obkio's distributed monitoring system offers a holistic view of the entire SASE network, ensuring that every node and connection is thoroughly monitored. This approach provides a comprehensive understanding of network behaviour across various locations, promoting proactive issue identification and resolution.

Synthetic Traffic Monitoring: Obkio allows for the generation of synthetic traffic to simulate real-world network conditions. This enables IT professionals to assess and optimize the performance of SASE services like SD-WAN and FWaaS, ensuring they meet user expectations and function seamlessly.

Proactive Issue Resolution: With Obkio, real-time insights into network performance empower administrators to detect and address potential issues before they impact users. Customizable alerts ensure that IT teams are promptly notified of anomalies, allowing for swift and proactive responses to maintain optimal network functionality.

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Obkio is a vendor neutral solution, so you can use it to monitor diffferent SASE services such like:

1.2. Deploying Monitoring Agents In Your SASE Networks
1.2. Deploying Monitoring Agents In Your SASE Networks

For the depth needed to monitor every end of your SASE network, you need a distributed monitoring strategy for end-to-end visibility.

Obkio’s Network Monitoring Agents are a unique software deployed in key network locations to monitor your SASE network locations and Internet performance, measure network metrics (latency, jitter, packet loss), and alert you of any potential network issues.

They create Monitoring Sessions and use synthetic UDP traffic for decentralized network monitoring from the source (your computer or your office) up to the destination (another office, data center or clouds).

Monitor SASE Networks

When monitoring a SASE network, it's important to monitor the local firewalls at every individual site as well as network sessions going through the SASE architecture to every site. So you do this by either bypassing or going through the SASE. To do so, you’ll need a mix of different Agent types:

You need:

1 Local Agent per network location (data centers, remote offices etc.): These agents are installed in the targeted network locations you want to monitor. There are several Agent types available (all with the same features), and they can be installed on MacOS, Windows, Linux and more.

3 Public Monitoring Agents to monitor the Internet: These agents are deployed over the Internet and managed by Obkio. They compare performance up to the Internet and quickly identify if the network issue is global or specific to the destination. For example, measure network performance between your head office and your firewall.

The Agents then create Monitoring Sessions by exchanging synthetic UDP packets between every 2 sets of Agents to measure performance metrics and raise alerts when network issues are detected.

Monitor SASE Networks

In the network diagram above, you can see an Obkio Chord Diagram with Agents monitoring the performance of:

  • ISP-1: A UDP flow from Branch 5 sticky on the first Internet connection
  • ISP-2: A UDP flow from Branch 5 sticky on the secondary Internet connection
  • SD-WAN Internet: UDP flows load balanced across the two Internet links following the SD-WAN algorithm
  • SASE: Internet experience through the SASE service
  • 8 Remote Branches
  • 2 Data Centers

1.3. Monitor Through the SASE Network or Bypassing
1.3. Monitor Through the SASE Network or Bypassing

When monitoring a SASE network, you can either bypass or go through the SASE infrastructure. This will depend on the specific objectives and the level of visibility required.

Bypassing the SASE
Bypassing the SASE

Bypassing the SASE allows for direct monitoring of specific network segments or devices without routing the traffic through the SASE architecture. This approach is beneficial when granular visibility into local networks or devices is required, and the intention is to isolate monitoring to a particular site or subnet.

How to Bypass the SASE: Deploy monitoring agents directly within the local network or on specific devices that need to be monitored. These agents can capture and analyze local traffic without involving the SASE infrastructure.

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Going Through the SASE
Going Through the SASE

Routing traffic through the SASE architecture provides a centralized and comprehensive view of the entire network. This is important for monitoring end-to-end connectivity, assessing the performance of SASE services, and ensuring that security policies are uniformly applied across the network.

How to Go Through the SASE: Use synthetic traffic that mimics real-world scenarios and traverse the SASE architecture. This method helps assess the performance of SASE services like SD-WAN and FWaaS under actual usage conditions.

In conclusion, bypassing is useful for local troubleshooting, while going through the SASE is essential for global optimization and ensuring the effectiveness of centralized security services. Organizations often employ a combination of both approaches to balance the need for granular insights with the benefits of centralized and comprehensive network monitoring.

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Step 2. Monitoring SD-WAN in Your SASE Network
Step 2. Monitoring SD-WAN in Your SASE Network

SD-WAN plays a vitally important role within a SASE network and serves as a key component in transforming and optimizing network connectivity. SD-WAN is a major player when it comes to addressing challenges posed by traditional WAN architectures, particularly in the context of a SASE framework.

Lucky for you, Obkio’s Network Monitoring tool masters SD-WAN Monitoring!

2.1. The Role of SD-WAN in SASE Networks
2.1. The Role of SD-WAN in SASE Networks

SD-WAN’s dynamic and application-aware routing capabilities align perfectly with the goals of a SASE architecture, contributing to a secure, scalable, and high-performance network infrastructure. It actually plays a variety of roles in SASE architecture:

Dynamic Traffic Routing: SD-WAN intelligently routes traffic based on real-time conditions, allowing for dynamic adjustments to ensure optimal performance. This is particularly important in a SASE environment with dispersed users and cloud-based applications.

Application-Aware Routing: SD-WAN identifies and prioritizes different types of network traffic based on the specific needs of applications. It optimizes the path for critical applications, ensuring consistent performance and user experience.

Integration with Security Services: SD-WAN is often integrated with security services within the SASE architecture, such as FWaaS (Firewall-as-a-Service) and ZTNA (Zero Trust Network Access). This integration allows for a seamless combination of connectivity and security, streamlining network management.

Load Balancing: SD-WAN optimizes the distribution of traffic across available paths, preventing congestion on specific routes. This load-balancing feature contributes to a more reliable and responsive network.

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2.2. Monitoring SD-WAN in a SASE Networks
2.2. Monitoring SD-WAN in a SASE Networks

For Obkio, SD-WAN monitoring is one of the most popular use cases, so Obkio’s Network Monitoring tool knows a thing or two about tackling the complexities of an SD-WAN infrastructure.

To achieve the level of depth required to monitor SD-WAN networks, you need to install Network Monitoring Agents in the customer LAN, behind the SD-WAN appliance. That’s because you need to monitor performance from the end-user perspective, as well as the underlay connections themself to compare the performance.

So you need:

Luckily Obkio can monitor SD-WAN network performance like an end-user and can also monitor each connection used by the SD-WAN appliance.

For example, the following screenshot shows a dashboard with three network monitoring sessions. The monitoring sessions are configured between:

  • A local Monitoring Agent behind the SD-WAN appliance
  • And three remote Monitoring Agents that are located at the same location (either cloud, data center or head office)

Monitor SASE Networks - SD-WAN

The three network monitoring sessions monitor the network performance between the two locations using different connections:

  • The performance as seen by the end-user (load balanced between the connection using the SD-WAN algorithm) - top graph
  • The performance of the ISP A connection - middle graph
  • The performance of the ISP B connection - bottom graph

This setup is used by many customers using SD-WAN. This way, they can confirm the real network performance of the end-users traffic and also monitor each ISP connection. In that example, the top graph is the real network performance for the branch end-users. There are 3 connection changes in that example:

  • A bit after 18:00: congestion on ISP A, failover to ISP B after a few seconds;
  • Around 18:20: congestion disappears, back to ISP A;
  • A bit before 20:00: packet loss and higher latency/jitter on ISP A, failover to ISP B.
SD-WAN Monitoring Survival Guide

Find out how SD-WAN monitoring can help you gain visibility into your network & optimize performance. Identify common SD-WAN issues and how to solve them.

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Step 3. Monitoring FWaaS in Your SASE Network
Step 3. Monitoring FWaaS in Your SASE Network

Monitoring FWaaS (Firewall-as-a-Service) within your SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) network is another critical factor for ensuring robust security, compliance, and optimal performance. Like with SD-WAN, FWaaS, as a key component of the SASE architecture, provides a cloud-native firewall solution that operates on a global scale to secure network traffic.

3.1. Monitoring FWaaS Using SNMP Monitoring
3.1. Monitoring FWaaS Using SNMP Monitoring

All Internet traffic goes through your firewall before it can reach your network to make sure there’s no potential security threat. But, with so much potential traffic, this can lead to network congestion. If your firewall is overloaded, you need to detect it before it affects your entire network. That's where Obkio comes in.

Obkio’s Network Device Monitoring feature uses SNMP polling to monitor the performance of core network devices like Firewalls. Deploy Monitoring Agents next to your firewall for complete visibility. Your Firewall Agent will then exchange traffic with Agents deployed in your offices, LAN and WAN, so you can understand exactly how your firewall is performing.

Monitor SASE Networks - FWaaS

On-Premises at Network Edge: Deploy agents on-premises or close to the local network edge. This provides insights into local network security and traffic patterns before FWaaS processing in the SASE environment.

Within FWaaS Infrastructure: Deploy agents directly within the FWaaS infrastructure, utilizing virtual appliances or APIs. This captures detailed insights into FWaaS processing, rule enforcement, and performance within the SASE network.

At Remote Offices/Branches: Deploy agents at remote offices or branches for localized insights. This monitors traffic before it reaches FWaaS, contributing to security in the SASE network.

Endpoints and User Devices: Deploy agents on user devices for user-specific insights. Especially valuable for monitoring remote users connecting through FWaaS in the SASE context.

VPN Connection Points: Deploy agents at VPN connection points for monitoring encrypted traffic. Monitors user authentication and VPN performance within the SASE architecture.

3.1. Measuring FWaaS Metrics
3.1. Measuring FWaaS Metrics

As long as your firewall supports SNMP Polling, Obkio’s network device monitoring feature will communicate with your firewall or SNMP-enabled device to provide you with key firewall performance metrics.

  • Latency: Latency measures the time it takes for data to travel from source to destination through the firewall. High latency can impact user experience and application performance. Monitoring latency helps ensure that data transfer remains responsive and within acceptable limits.
  • Throughput: Throughput is the amount of data that can be transmitted through the firewall in a given time. Monitoring throughput is crucial to ensure that the FWaaS can handle the expected volume of network traffic without becoming a bottleneck. Consistent throughput is essential for maintaining network performance.
  • CPU, Memory, and Storage Usage: Monitor the utilization of CPU, memory, and storage resources on the FWaaS platform. High resource utilization can impact the firewall's ability to process traffic efficiently. Keeping an eye on these metrics helps in resource planning, scaling, and optimizing performance.
  • Packet Loss: Packet loss measures the percentage of data packets that do not reach their destination. Packet loss can impact the reliability and quality of network connections. Monitoring packet loss helps identify issues affecting data integrity and network performance.
  • VPN Performance: Monitor the performance of Virtual Private Network (VPN) connections. VPNs are a critical component of FWaaS in ensuring secure remote access. Monitoring VPN performance helps identify any issues affecting encrypted communication.
  • Quality of Service (QoS) Metrics: Monitor the impact of FWaaS on the performance of specific applications. QoS metrics help ensure that FWaaS doesn't degrade the performance of critical applications. Monitoring allows for adjustments to maintain a balance between security and application responsiveness.

Since FWaaS is a managed service, you’ll also be able to monitor performance up to your MSP’s network to ensure that your Service Provider is not experiencing any issues that may affect your Firewall service.

Monitor SASE Networks - FWaaS

Step 4. Measuring Network Metrics Affecting SASE Performance
Step 4. Measuring Network Metrics Affecting SASE Performance

Once you’ve deployed your Monitoring Agents, Obkio’s Network Monitoring tool will start continuously exchanging synthetic traffic to monitor network performance from all ends of your SASE networks. A big part of understanding your SASE network performance is measuring key network metrics. Network metrics help you understand how your network is performing and also can help you uncover any potential network issues trying to stay under the radar.

Monitor SASE Networks - FWaaS

  1. Latency: The time it takes for data to travel from source to destination. Low latency is crucial for responsive and real-time applications. Monitor end-to-end latency for both local and remote users in the SASE network.
  2. Throughput: The rate at which data is transmitted through the network. Assess the network's capacity to handle data transfer. Ensure consistent throughput for various applications and users in the SASE environment.
  3. Packet Loss: The percentage of data packets that do not reach their destination. Packet loss can impact the quality of communication. Minimize packet loss to maintain the integrity of data transmission in the SASE network.
  4. Jitter: Variability in the delay between data packets. High jitter can lead to inconsistent performance, especially for real-time applications. Monitor and control jitter for a stable SASE network.
  5. Bandwidth Utilization: The percentage of available network bandwidth in use. Analyze bandwidth usage patterns to ensure efficient resource allocation and prevent congestion in the SASE network.
  6. Firewall Performance Metrics: Assess firewall-specific metrics, such as rule processing time, session limits, and connection limits. Firewall monitoring ensures efficient enforcement of security policies and optimal performance of firewall services in the SASE network.
  7. VPN Performance: Measure the throughput, latency, and connection stability of VPN connections. VPNs are integral to SASE for secure remote access. Monitor VPN performance to ensure a seamless and secure user experience.
  8. Quality of Service (QoS) Metrics: Metrics related to the prioritization and delivery of specific types of traffic. Evaluate QoS metrics to ensure that critical applications receive the necessary bandwidth and priority in the SASE network.
  9. Resource Utilization: Monitor the utilization of network resources, including CPU, memory, and storage. Optimize resource allocation and scalability to maintain a responsive and resilient SASE network.
  10. Redundancy and Failover Performance: Measure the performance of failover mechanisms and redundancy systems. Ensure minimal disruption during failover events to maintain network reliability in the SASE framework.

Monitoring these network metrics provides a comprehensive view of the SASE environment, enabling network admins to proactively identify performance issues before they affect end-users and make choices about network optimizations.

Step 5. Identifying SASE Network Performance Issues
Step 5. Identifying SASE Network Performance Issues

Organizations rely on SASE frameworks to seamlessly connect users, devices, and applications while maintaining a robust security posture. However, achieving and sustaining peak performance in a SASE network is an ongoing challenge. In a SASE network, network performance issues can arise due to various factors. Identifying and addressing these issues is crucial to ensure a seamless and responsive user experience.

One of the primary objectives of monitoring SASE networks is proactively identifying and troubleshooting performance issues. In this pursuit, network administrators and IT professionals can leverage their network monitoring tools designed to measure key metrics, and swiftly detect any deviations from optimal performance.

Let’s go over how to do that, and what some of the most common SASE performance issues are!

5.1. Collecting SASE Performance Data
5.1. Collecting SASE Performance Data

Network Monitoring Tools like Obkio, tirelessly collect data and scrutinize network performance to gain real-time insights into latency, throughput, security events, and various other critical metrics.

Crucially, a powerful network monitoring tool goes beyond passive observation. It actively and watches over your SASE network, employing sophisticated algorithms to detect anomalies and deviations from expected behaviour. It acts as a proactive sentry, ensuring that potential performance issues are identified before they escalate.

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5.2. Network Monitoring Alerts: Your Proactive Network Guardian
5.2. Network Monitoring Alerts: Your Proactive Network Guardian

As the eyes and ears of your SASE infrastructure, the network monitoring tool doesn't stop at data collection. It becomes your proactive guardian by automatically generating network monitoring alerts when it detects deviations, bottlenecks, or potential security threats. These alerts serve as an early warning system, empowering administrators to respond swiftly and decisively to emerging issues.

5.3. Common SASE Network Issues
5.3. Common SASE Network Issues

When it comes to network issues, it’s not a matter of if they will happen, but when. SASE networks are large, complex infrastructures, and because there are so many moving parts, there are a variety of network issues that can happen. Although your network monitoring tool will detect them for you, it’s still important to know what they are:

1. Latency Issues:

  • Cause: High latency can result from data travelling long distances, inefficient routing, or congestion in the network.
  • Solution: Optimize routing, leverage content delivery networks (CDNs), and ensure sufficient network capacity to reduce latency.

2. Bandwidth Limitations:

  • Cause: Insufficient bandwidth can lead to slow data transfer and degraded performance.
  • Solution: Upgrade network infrastructure, implement Quality of Service (QoS) policies and optimize traffic prioritization to address bandwidth limitations.

3. Packet Loss:

  • Cause: Packet loss may occur due to network congestion, hardware issues, or poor-quality connections.
  • Solution: Identify and address network congestion, troubleshoot hardware problems, and use error detection and correction mechanisms.

4. Jitter:

  • Cause: Jitter is often caused by variations in network traffic, leading to inconsistent data packet delivery.
  • Solution: Implement buffer management, prioritize real-time traffic, and optimize network routes to minimize jitter.

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5. Firewall Processing Delays:

  • Cause: Inefficient firewall processing can introduce delays in inspecting and allowing/denying traffic.
  • Solution: Optimize firewall configurations, leverage hardware acceleration, and ensure the firewall can handle the network load effectively.

6. VPN Performance Issues:

  • Cause: VPN connections may experience performance issues due to encryption overhead, network congestion, or misconfigurations.
  • Solution: Optimize VPN configurations, use efficient encryption algorithms, and ensure adequate bandwidth for VPN traffic.

7. Inadequate Content Delivery:

  • Cause: Lack of a Content Delivery Network (CDN) or inefficient CDN configurations can result in slow content delivery.
  • Solution: Implement a CDN to cache and deliver content closer to end-users, reducing latency and improving performance.

8. Resource Overutilization:

  • Cause: Overutilization of network resources, such as CPU, memory, or storage, can lead to performance degradation.
  • Solution: Monitor resource utilization, scale infrastructure as needed, and optimize resource allocation for efficient network operation.

9. Device and User Authentication Delays:

  • Cause: Slow authentication processes can impact the time it takes for users and devices to connect securely.
  • Solution: Optimize authentication systems, use multi-factor authentication judiciously, and implement efficient user/device onboarding processes.

10. Redundancy and Failover Issues:

  • Cause: Failover mechanisms may experience delays or encounter misconfigurations, leading to service disruptions.
  • Solution: Regularly test failover processes, ensure redundancy configurations are accurate, and address any issues promptly.

11. Insufficient Monitoring and Visibility:

  • Cause: Inadequate monitoring tools and visibility into the network can result in delayed identification and resolution of performance issues.
  • Solution: Implement comprehensive network monitoring solutions, utilize analytics tools, and establish proactive alerting mechanisms.

12. Misconfigurations:

  • Cause: Incorrect configurations in network devices, security policies, or routing tables can lead to performance issues.
  • Solution: Regularly audit configurations, employ automation for consistency, and address any misconfigurations promptly.

13. Remote User Connectivity Problems:

  • Cause: Issues with remote user connections, such as unreliable VPNs or connectivity disruptions, can affect SASE performance.
  • Solution: Provide user support, optimize VPN configurations, and ensure a reliable and secure connection for remote users.

Regular monitoring, proactive troubleshooting, and a robust incident response plan are essential for addressing and preventing SASE network performance issues. Continuous optimization and adaptation to changing network dynamics are key to maintaining a high-performing SASE environment.

SD-WAN Troubleshooting: How to Troubleshoot SD-WAN Networks

Learn how to troubleshoot SD-WAN issues using Obkio Network Monitoring software and key SD-WAN troubleshooting steps.

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Step 6. Optimizing SASE Network Performance
Step 6. Optimizing SASE Network Performance

In SASE networks, the pursuit of optimal performance is a perpetual journey. Monitoring your SASE network is at the core of understanding and optimizing performance. By monitoring network activities and measuring key metrics, this vigilance becomes a transformative force, uncovering valuable insights into latency, bandwidth, security, and beyond.

In this step, we’re going to dive into the relationship between monitoring and optimization, where the keen eyes of network administrators, fortified by advanced tools, identify opportunities for refinement.

6.1. Bandwidth Management and Optimization in the SASE Infrastructure
6.1. Bandwidth Management and Optimization in the SASE Infrastructure

Actively managing and optimizing bandwidth resources ensures efficient utilization, preventing bottlenecks and enhancing the overall smoothness of data transfer. Strategic bandwidth management contributes to a responsive and high-performing SASE network.

6.2. Addressing Latency Issues in SASE Networks:
6.2. Addressing Latency Issues in SASE Networks:

Identifying and addressing sources of latency is vital for optimizing the performance of a SASE network. Strategies such as optimizing routing paths, leveraging edge computing, and reducing unnecessary protocol overhead can be employed to minimize latency issues. By addressing latency, organizations ensure a responsive and reliable network experience for users, even in distributed work environments.

6.3. Efficient Routing and Traffic Management:
6.3. Efficient Routing and Traffic Management:

Implementing intelligent routing and traffic management policies is paramount for streamlining the flow of data within a SASE network. By leveraging efficient routing algorithms and policies, organizations can minimize latency, reduce congestion, and enhance the overall responsiveness of their network. Efficient traffic management contributes to a seamless user experience, especially in distributed and remote work scenarios.

6.4. Utilize Content Delivery Networks (CDNs):
6.4. Utilize Content Delivery Networks (CDNs):

Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) optimize the performance of web applications and services within a SASE framework. By caching and delivering content closer to end-users through geographically distributed servers, CDNs significantly reduce latency. This optimization strategy not only enhances the speed of content delivery but also ensures a consistent and responsive user experience across diverse geographical locations.

6.5. Quality of Service (QoS) Implementation:
6.5. Quality of Service (QoS) Implementation:

Implementing Quality of Service (QoS) policies helps prioritize critical applications and traffic within a SASE network. By assigning appropriate bandwidth and latency priorities, organizations can ensure that high-priority applications receive the necessary resources for optimal performance.

Leveraging QoS Monitoring in Networking: DSCP & Prioritization

Learn how to monitor QoS performance on your private network, including MPLS, SD-WAN, or VPN, using Obkio's DSCP features.

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6 6. Optimize Firewall Configurations:
6 6. Optimize Firewall Configurations:

Regularly reviewing and optimizing firewall configurations is crucial for maintaining a balance between security and performance within a SASE network. Efficient firewall configurations help eliminate unnecessary bottlenecks and ensure that traffic inspection processes are streamlined. Striking the right balance between security measures and network performance is vital for creating a resilient and responsive network infrastructure.

6. 7. VPN Optimization:
6. 7. VPN Optimization:

Efficient Virtual Private Network (VPN) configurations are paramount for ensuring seamless remote access within a SASE environment. By optimizing VPN settings, including encryption algorithms, authentication methods, and sufficient bandwidth allocation, organizations can enhance the efficiency of secure connections. This optimization strategy is particularly relevant in the context of the growing need for secure remote work solutions.

6. 8. Cloud Service Optimization:
6. 8. Cloud Service Optimization:

Optimizing connections to cloud services is essential within a SASE framework. By choosing optimal access points and ensuring compatibility with SASE principles, organizations can enhance the performance of connections to cloud applications and services. Cloud service optimization contributes to the agility and responsiveness of the overall network infrastructure.

6. 9. Redundancy and Failover Planning:
6. 9. Redundancy and Failover Planning:

Planning and testing redundancy and failover mechanisms are critical for minimizing downtime and optimizing network performance within a SASE environment. Robust failover mechanisms, when regularly tested, ensure seamless transitions in the event of disruptions.

6. 10. Collaborate with Service Providers:
6. 10. Collaborate with Service Providers:

Collaborating with SASE service providers for performance optimizations is a strategic partnership that leverages their expertise. By working closely with service providers, organizations can receive valuable insights and recommendations for optimizing network performance. This collaborative approach ensures that the network aligns with best practices and benefits from industry-leading optimization strategies.

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Best Practices in SASE Network Monitoring: The Grand Finale
Best Practices in SASE Network Monitoring: The Grand Finale

Throughout this article, we’ve gone over how and why to monitor SASE networks. We’ve discussed what to monitor your SASE network, and how to use Network Monitoring tools to identify performance issues. Before we end this article, let’s go over some best practices, summarizing some of the key topics we’ve discussed.

I. Risks and Challenges in SASE Networks
I. Risks and Challenges in SASE Networks

Navigating SASE environments comes with its share of risks and challenges. The distributed nature of these networks, often spanning various geographical locations and diverse user bases, introduces complexities in terms of security, latency, and connectivity.

Monitoring SASE environments requires a keen understanding of these challenges, including potential vulnerabilities, scalability issues, and the dynamic nature of modern threats. One of the important factors includes using a Distributed Network Monitoring strategy that can adequately monitor and assess every end of the SASE infrastructure.

II. The Impact of Monitoring on SASE Network Security and Performance
II. The Impact of Monitoring on SASE Network Security and Performance

The symbiotic relationship between monitoring and the security-performance nexus in SASE networks is profound. Monitoring not only serves as the vigilant guardian against security threats but also acts as the compass for optimal performance.

Continuously monitoring SASE network activities allows for the early detection of anomalies, potential breaches, or deviations from baseline behaviour. Simultaneously, it provides insights into the performance metrics critical for maintaining a seamless user experience. The impact of monitoring, therefore, transcends mere observation; it becomes the linchpin for organizations aiming to strike the delicate balance between robust security and optimal performance within their SASE environments.

III. Proactive vs. Reactive SASE Network Monitoring Approaches
III. Proactive vs. Reactive SASE Network Monitoring Approaches

Proactivity in SASE network monitoring distinguishes the adept from the reactive. A proactive approach involves anticipating issues before they manifest into disruptions. By setting up predictive alerts, employing anomaly detection algorithms, and continuously refining monitoring strategies, organizations can stay one step ahead.

On the flip side, reactive monitoring addresses issues as they occur, often leading to downtime and potential damage. Striking the right balance between proactive and reactive monitoring approaches is crucial for organizations aiming to foster resilience in their SASE networks. It involves staying vigilant, predicting trends, and swiftly responding to deviations to maintain a proactive stance in network management.

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IV. Balancing Security and Performance Metrics
IV. Balancing Security and Performance Metrics

As we already discussed, when it comes to SASE, balancing between security and performance is important. While stringent security measures are paramount, they should not come at the cost of sluggish performance. Balancing security and performance metrics involves defining key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with security objectives without compromising user experience. It requires a nuanced understanding of the network's unique demands, including the nature of applications, user behaviour, and the criticality of security protocols.

By harmonizing these seemingly opposing forces, organizations can create a SASE environment that not only fortifies against threats but also ensures a responsive and efficient user experience.

V. Regular SASE Network Audits and Assessments:
V. Regular SASE Network Audits and Assessments:

Best Practice: Conduct regular network assessments to evaluate the overall health, security, and performance of your SASE infrastructure. Periodic reviews help in identifying areas for improvement and ensuring alignment with best practices.

These comprehensive evaluations involve a thorough examination of the entire network infrastructure, encompassing elements such as security protocols, performance metrics, and overall health. Conducting these audits at scheduled intervals allows organizations to stay ahead of potential issues, identify vulnerabilities, and ensure that the network aligns with evolving best practices and industry standards.

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VI. Collaborative Monitoring Across Components:
VI. Collaborative Monitoring Across Components:

SASE networks often involve the convergence of various components, including SD-WAN, FWaaS, VPNs, and other critical elements. To ensure seamless operations and a comprehensive understanding of the network's health, fostering collaboration between these components is imperative. A collaborative monitoring approach integrates tools and processes, allowing for a unified and holistic view of the entire network ecosystem.

This not only streamlines troubleshooting but also enhances the overall resilience and performance of the SASE infrastructure. It's a strategic alignment that acknowledges the interconnectedness of network components and underscores the importance of a unified monitoring strategy for maintaining a robust and responsive SASE environment.

Monitoring Your SASE Network Starts Here!
Monitoring Your SASE Network Starts Here!

In the ever-evolving landscape of networking and security, SASE has become a key player. As we've navigated through the intricacies of SASE networks in this journey, from understanding their architecture to uncovering the best practices for monitoring and optimizing, it becomes evident that the SASE era is defining the future of connectivity and security.

Continuous vigilance is a huge factor in a robust SASE network. Monitoring, with its watchful eyes and predictive insights, not only safeguards against potential threats but also serves as the compass for refining performance. It's the proactive stance that transforms network management from a reactive chore to a strategic advantage.

In the grand finale of our exploration, we've uncovered the risks, the symbiotic impact of monitoring on security and performance, and the delicate balance required to navigate the SASE landscape successfully. Now, as you embark on fortifying your SASE network, consider a tool that aligns seamlessly with these principles.

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Elevate Your SASE Network with Obkio's Network Monitoring Tool

Enter Obkio, your trusted ally in the realm of SASE network monitoring. With Obkio's advanced capabilities, you not only monitor but gain proactive insights into the health and performance of your network. Seamlessly integrated with the SASE ethos, Obkio's network monitoring tool empowers you to navigate the complexities with ease.

Your SASE network deserves nothing less than the best, and with Obkio, you're not just monitoring; you're mastering the future of networking.

  • 14-day free trial of all premium features
  • Deploy in just 10 minutes
  • Monitor performance in all key network locations
  • Measure real-time network metrics
  • Identify and troubleshoot live network problems
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