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Break glass in case of emergency: How a SASE strategy can resolve distant community outages

As a lot as we’d love to write down an article on how Cisco IT has perfected a community that by no means breaks, we’re not there but. It’s a reality of life that networks and programs do — and can proceed to — break. In reality, my house ISP went down as I used to be penning this piece.

Chances are you’ll be pondering, ‘networks breaking is nothing new’ — and that’s true. Nonetheless, the brand new complexities launched by hybrid work means networks now break in thrilling new methods. With the rise of hybrid work, Cisco IT has run into a novel round dependency difficulty, which occurs when a community outage prevents community operators from accessing the community they should restore and troubleshoot. Particularly, if our VPN goes down, how can we entry the community to troubleshoot and triage the VPN difficulty? How can we get into our out-of-band community on this state of affairs?

SASE and Cisco+ Secure Connect work for network outage

Whereas uncommon, these sorts of outages have a huge impact on the enterprise. The time to restore will increase considerably when our community operators can not remotely entry an out-of-band community and should bodily journey to the positioning.

To keep away from being locked out of our personal community, we began learning the latest instruments and options, contemplating their means to create a safe, accessible community. Our crew landed on a Safe Entry Service Edge (SASE) strategy to keep away from a community operator being locked out of the out-of-band community when the in-band community is down.

The answer

Our community engineers named the answer ‘Break Glass,’ as in: Break Glass in Case of Emergency. Now we have protections in place for safety measures, however we are able to break them in an pressing state of affairs.

For the answer, we leveraged Cisco+ Safe Join alongside Azure Lively Listing. Cisco+ Safe Join is Cisco’s easy and straightforward SASE providing, which gives VPN-as-a-Service – finally permitting for safe connectivity and personal entry to our out-of-band community. Azure Lively Listing allowed us to decouple out-of-band entry from the on-prem community and its dependencies. With a cloud-based VPN, it’s now fully decoupled from our community and its dependencies, and our community operators can get into the out-of-band community when the in-band community is down.

SASE and Cisco+ Secure Connect work for network outage


Joseph Bradley was the lead engineer on the challenge and describes the explanations we chosen a SASE answer.

“We had been tasked with making a safe option to entry the Cisco community and restore points whereas off premises — and we had a listing of constraints. Particularly, we needed to administer the answer with a small crew, and the answer needed to be fully decoupled from our AD and IAM programs throughout an occasion. Lastly, we had to supply entry to solely a sure set of Hosts which might be used as leap hosts, and the interior answer needed to be out there in L3 connectivity/routing. Utilizing the constraints above, our inside distant entry crew determined the perfect answer can be to make use of a mixture of merchandise that exist already, but in a novel approach. We partnered with our data safety crew, Cisco Umbrella, and Azure groups to create this distinctive answer, then improved and added options.”

To satisfy these constraints, the answer was arrange utilizing accounts which are solely allowed to connect with the Cisco+ Safe Join service and the out-of-band community. It leverages a site-to-site VPN tunnel from the Cisco+ Safe Join service to our community crew’s out-of-band infrastructure, and gives entry to our leap host infrastructure that enables our community engineers to entry out-of-band ports on our community units.

A thought-starter for additional functions of SASE

Mission ‘Break Glass’ has sparked curiosity of how we are able to use SASE to resolve extra challenges. One software of SASE that the Cisco IT crew is contemplating is acquisition integration. Cisco has many tenants that want entry to their very own cloud assets. Traditionally, we constructed bespoke community or safety stacks on-premises. Nonetheless, with SASE, we might facilitate this connectivity securely, with out constructing on-prem community stacks.

One other software of SASE is for safe web entry for Cloud Desktop (DaaS). A SASE-based web edge for cloud digital machines would permit us to keep away from backhauling to the enterprise community. For the consumer, this will increase efficiency with no compromise in safety, because the consumer’s machine has direct entry to the cloud. IT groups not must cope with managed {hardware} units — the fully management the digital machine and may apply updates or safety patches irrespective of the place the consumer is, with no dependency on {hardware}.

Keep tuned as we proceed experimenting with functions of SASE and Cisco+ Safe Join in future blogs. And, we’re curious the way you’re utilizing SASE inside your enterprise networks. Tell us on the @CiscoIT Twitter, or within the feedback.

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