Cybersecurity – Introduction to SSE

Cybersecurity – Introduction to SSE

In this article, we are going to talk about SSE which is here to solve lots of challenges that have surfaced due to the latest IT trends (cloud adoption, hybrid work environment). Not only this it is the need of today to protect users and applications where parameters are not defined. SSE stands for Security Service Edge (SSE) is a new cybersecurity concept. Gartner coined the word SSE in 2021. It is a set of integrated security solutions delivered from the cloud.

Yes, you are right! The SSE is the second half of the SASE framework that covers the cloud-delivered security for an enterprise that is on the journey to adopt SASE architecture.

Fig 1.1- SD-WAN + SSE = SASE

SSE includes multiple capabilities. Some of the core capabilities are –

  • Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA)
  • Secure Web Gateway (SWG)
  • Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB)
  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP)
  • Digital Experience Monitoring (DEM)

SSE provides secure access to the internet, cloud applications, and private applications from any user anywhere in the world. It’s like an umbrella for users, data, and applications irrespective of their location.

 Why do you need SSE ?

Traditional perimeter-based security using firewalls and gateways was enough for enterprises where all applications and users were inside the boundary. Today, cloud adoption is the latest trend and the cloud is the new Data Center. Now applications are hosted on-premises, in the public cloud. SSE addresses all the security challenges of the traditional approach by providing security services from the cloud closer to the applications & the users where they are located.

As security is delivered from the cloud, it is faster, more efficient, and more scalable.  

Let’s understand some of the characteristics of SSE –

Cloud-delivered – as already mentioned SSE delivers security from the cloud. We don’t need expensive hardware and software solutions.

Integrated Solution – SSE includes multiple capabilities to meet the customer security needs. All these capabilities are offered to the customer using a single solution.

Context-Aware – being a cloud-delivered solution for all kinds of users and applications, simple user authentication is not going to meet the security needs. It uses context to identify and authenticate users based on user ID, locations, and applications.

Global Reach – SSE is deployed globally to protect users and applications everywhere. Enterprises with a global presence can deploy consistent security policies across the globe network.

SSE Services or Capabilities

SSE includes multiple services that include the below –

Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) – it’s like a gatekeeper to your network granting access to private apps to authorized users and devices. It performs strict verification and context-aware policies to provide access to applications based on the least privileged access philosophy. With ZTNA no more user trust that is inside the network perimeter.

Secure Web Gateway (SWG) – it’s like a bouncer for enterprise Internet access. It filters and scans the web traffic for malware, phishing attempts, and other external threats before they infect the device or host. It prevents data breaches, malware infections, and other security incidents.

Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) – it’s like a security inspector for enterprise cloud applications in a way that controls and monitors the user’s activities while interacting with cloud applications like o365, salesforce, Box, etc. It prevents unauthorized data sharing, malware infections, and data loss.

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) – it’s like the watchful guardian for organization-sensitive data. It identifies and prevents unauthorized data transfer and exfiltration regardless of the location and endpoints. It’s job is to ensure the confidential data stays within a secure environment.

Firewall As a Service (FWaaS) – it’s a cloud-based firewall that sits on the edge of the network. It inspects and filters all incoming and outgoing traffic from the network. It prevents DDoS attacks, unauthorized access, and other network-based threats.

Top Players

As of today, multiple vendors provide SSE services. These include Netskope, Zscaler, Palo Alto, Cisco, McAfee, etc.

Netskope known for integrated SWG, CASB, ZTNA. It excels in data and threat protection, cloud sandboxing, and user behavior analytics.

Zscaler is another major player in the SSE space, renowned for cloud-based security architecture and higher-performance infrastructure. It has a strong SWG solution and expanding its ZTNA and CASB capabilities.

Palo Alto Networks – a traditional network security player. It entered in SSE space with Prisma Access Platform. It leverages its legacy security expertise to provide a robust and integrated SSE solution.

Hope you find this informative. We’ll see you with more information on cybersecurity topics.  

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