Top Five SASE Certifications for Network Security Practitioners


The SASE model augments the network functionalities offered by SD-WAN with additional networking and security characteristics. Since this technology is still in its early stages, obtaining any SASE certification would be quite advantageous for potential learners interested in pursuing a career in network security. We’ve compiled a list of the top five SASE certifications to assist these professionals in boosting their SASE game. Let’s go deeper.

As more people access digital resources remotely, more businesses turn to secure access service edge (SASE) to centralize access in the cloud and streamline security policy design and enforcement.

What is SASE?

There isn’t a single definition of SASE. SASE vendors’ solutions vary greatly from one vendor to another. No single solution offers all of what can be considered SASE services, and, as yet, there is no defined minimum set of features. 

As defined by CBTnuggetsOpens a new window , “SASE is a framework that combines wide area networking and security functions into a single cloud-based architecture. With SASE, instead of having separate appliances or cloud services for SD-WAN, SWG (secure web gateway), firewall, CASB (cloud access security broker), IDS/IPS (intrusion detection system/intrusion prevention system), and VPN, you have a single holistic cloud-service that does it all.

The SASE vendor provides access to a private network of PoPs (points of presence) worldwide. Users connect to that network, and all the SD-WAN and security functions are inherently part of everything that happens from there on out.”

In general, the SASE paradigm expands on the network and security features given by SD-WAN.

See More: Top 7 Cybersecurity Skills To Master In 2022

Should you learn SASE?

Even though SASE is still in its early stages, it’s not too soon to get training and become certified in technology, especially if you are planning to pursue a networking career. Dell’Oro predicts that the SASE technology industry will reach double-digit billion-dollar sales by 2025. Gartner estimates that the SASE technology market will increase by 42% CAGR to over $11 billion by 2024. By 2025, Gartner predicts that at least 60% of enterprises will have explicit strategies and timelines for SASE adoption. A SASE certification will ensure employers of your SASE knowledge and demonstrate that your networking and security skills are aligned with industry trends. 

Top Five SASE Training & Certification Resources to Consider in 2022

Where can you go to learn SASE? Currently, SASE training is available from SASE vendors and their training partners. Here are five top training and certification resources that can help you become proficient in this up-and-coming technology:

Cato SASE Expert Level 2

Cato’s SASE certification programOpens a new window provides you with a high-level overview of SASE. While most course materials are vendor-neutral, Cato’s SASE implementation is used in its examples. This self-paced course includes the following topics:

  • Single-pass processing
  • Global cloud and cloud network
  • Why native SD-WAN is a must
  • Security processing at the cloud vs. at the edge
  • IPS-as-a-Service

Targeted Audience: Enterprise network engineers, C-level executives, and channel partners

Course Length: 3-5 hours

Prerequisites: Candidates must have completed Cato’s SASE Expert Level I course.

How to Qualify for Certification: When you complete the course and pass The SASE Expert Level 2 exam, you become SASE Expert certified. 

Netskope SASE Accreditation

Netskope SASE Accreditation is a virtual, instructor-led, interactive courseOpens a new window . Learners gain in-depth, hands-on exposure to SASE and how to develop it through practical examples, case studies, and use cases. Although the course is supposed to be vendor-neutral, the case studies are based on the Netskope Platform. The training provides the main component technologies and models that make the SASE architecture. Students will discover how SASE can provide them with “more visibility and real-time, actionable information about cloud services, activity, traffic, and data while also simplifying their security stack.”

Topics covered include:

  • SASE Purpose and Origin
  • Virtual Computing and Cloud
  • Software Defined Networking
  • Zero Trust Security
  • Data Leakage Prevention
  • Secure Web Gateways
  • Cloud Access Security Brokers
  • Cloud Identity Management
  • Cloud Microsegmentation
  • Securing Cloud Apps
  • Secure Access Methods
  • Components of SASE Model

Course Length: 2 days, one 4-hour session per day

Targeted Audience: Working practitioners in all aspects of cybersecurity, IT, and technology. Professionals are working in government, research, academia, and other sectors interested in cybersecurity.

Prerequisites: Students should have a working knowledge of security and networking principles. 

How to Qualify for Certification: After completing the course and completing the 45-minute accreditation exam with a passing score of 80%, students receive a SASE Accredited Architect certificate and badge. 

Versa SASE Essentials

The Versa SASE Essentials courseOpens a new window is an on-demand, self-paced course focusing on SASE design and deployment. Students are presented with an overview of SASE architecture and characteristics and the connectivity models available to end users, as well as learn how to transition from SD-WAN to SASE. It also lists the key evaluation criteria for choosing a SASE vendor. This course is recommended as preparation for the Versa Certified SD-SAN Associate certification exam. 

Topics include:

  • SASE platform and its characteristics
  • SD-WAN technology, building blocks and core capabilities.
  • Versa Secure SD-WAN solution and components.
  • Security services and connectivity models available for a SASE architecture.
  • Real-time options available for SASE deployment.
  • The key considerations and the process of transitioning from SD-WAN to SASE.
  • Versa SASE platform.

Prerequisites: None required. It is recommended, however, that you have hands-on administrative, design and troubleshooting experience in the Versa Secure SD-WAN platform as well as SD-WAN industry product knowledge. 

Targeted Audience: Engineers who design, optimize performance of, administer, manage, troubleshoot, and support secure SD-WAN services on Versa Networks platforms.

How to Qualify for Certification: To obtain the digital Versa Certified SD-WAN badge, you must pass the 90-minute Versa Certified SD-WAN Associate Certification Exam (VNS100). This exam consists of 60 multiple-choice questions. Versa Certifications are valid for two years. To maintain your certification status, you must retake the same or higher level exam before your certification expires.

Palo Alto Networks Prisma Access SASE Security 3.0: Design and Operation

This courseOpens a new window describes Palo Alto Networks’ Panorama Managed Prism Access SASE and how it provides network security services from the cloud. The Panorama implementation teaches how to protect applications, remote networks, and mobile users. Students will get hands-on experience configuring, managing, and troubleshooting Prisma Access in a lab environment. This course can supplement other recommended Palo Alto courses to prepare for the Palo Alto Networks Certified Network Security Engineer (PSNSE) exam. 

Topics covered include:

  • Prisma Access Overview and Definitions
  • Planning and Design Architecture
  • Routing SD-WAN Design
  • Activate and Configure Service Connections
  • Security Processing Nodes (SPNs)
  • Panorama Operations for Prisma Access and Cloud Managed Prisma Access (Prisma SASE) Overview
  • Remote Networks
  • Mobile Users
  • Cloud Secure Web Gateway
  • Tune, Optimize, and Troubleshoot
  • Manage Multiple Tenants

Targeted Audience: Security Engineers, Security Administrators, Security Operations Specialists, Security Analysts, and Network Engineers. 

Course Length: 4 days of lectures and labs

Prerequisites: This course requires a basic knowledge of cloud computing and the public cloud. In addition, participants must have completed Palo Alto’s Firewall Essentials: Configuration and Management course (EDU-210) and the Panorama: Managing Firewalls at Scale course (EDU-220) or have equivalent experience. Experience with routing, switching, and IP addressing is also required with networking concepts. 

How to Qualify for Certification: To obtain the Palo Alto Networks Network Security Engineer certification, you must pass the Palo Alto Networks Certified Network Security Engineer (PCNSE) exam. This 80-minute exam consists of 75 questions and is valid for two years. To renew, the exam must be taken again before your certification expires. 

Cisco’s CCNP Security Certification and Training Program

While not specific to SASE, Cisco’s CCNP Security certificationOpens a new window helps validate your networking security and technological skills across all Cisco’s networking platforms. The certification requires two exams, the core exam that covers Cisco’s core technologies and a concentration exam that covers a security concentration of your choice. 

Cisco has several courses in its certification training program to help you pass these exams. Cisco’s CCNP Security Certification core training course, Implementing and Operating Security Core Technologies, focuses on security infrastructure, including network security, cloud security, content security, endpoint protection and detection, secure network access, visibility, and enforcement. There is also a corresponding course to prepare you for each concentration exam. 

How to qualify for certification: To qualify for the CCNP Security Certification, you must pass the Implementing and Operating Cisco Security Core Technologies exam. (Passing this exam also qualifies you for CCIE Security certification.) You will also need to pass one of the following concentration exams:

  • Securing Networks with Cisco Firepower
  • Implementing and Configuring Cisco Identity Services Engine 
  • Securing Email with Cisco Email Security Appliance 
  • Securing the Web with Cisco Web Security Appliance 
  • Implementing Secure Solutions with Virtual Private Networks 
  • Automating and Programming Cisco Security Solutions 

Note that participants can earn a specialist certification for passing any CCNP exam – core or concentration of their choice.

See More: Hype or Help: Should Organizations Rely on SASE for Network Operations?

Is Sase a hype or reality?

Gartner puts SASE at the peak of its hype cycle. It predicts SASE won’t become mainstream for another two to five years. One reason for this is the lack of standards. Each vendor’s version of SASE is different from the rest. Hence, neither of the top five courses is entirely vendor-neutral. If you intend to work with a specific implementation, then that vendor’s certification will serve you well. In fact, it is expected that more SASE vendors will develop their own certification/training programs.

But there is one organization that is working to change all that. In 2020, the nonprofit MEF ForumOpens a new window published its MEF SASE Services Framework whitepaper that provides a framework for standardizing SASE services. Additionally, MEF’s test and certification committee is currently looking into adding SASE and Zero Trust to its SD-WAN certification program to validate conformance with its proposed SASE Services and Attributes standard and its Zero Trust Framework, and Service Attributes standard. Until then, network practitioners will need to look to SASE vendors to keep pace with this new technology. 

Which SASE certification would you like to take up? Let us know on LinkedInOpens a new window , TwitterOpens a new window , or FacebookOpens a new window . We’d love to hear from you!