What is SSE?
A Complete Guide to Security Service Edge (SSE)
The cyber threat landscape evolves every day. Threat actors are constantly using new techniques and exploiting new vulnerabilities to steal data, plant ransomware, or deny services. Cybersecurity professionals have to continue to find new solutions for this ever-growing threat or risk loss of their organization's critical assets
Security Service Edge (SSE) is a term, coined by Gartner, used to describe the security parts of a new concept that has evolved from Secure Access Service Edge (SASE). SSE is an important new concept in the cybersecurity landscape, so read on to stay on the cutting edge with a thorough understanding of what SSE is, why it's important, the benefits it offers, how it compares to SASE, and how to mitigate its challenges.
What is Security Service Edge (SSE)?
Security Service Edge (SSE) is the specific subset of SASE components associated with security (SWG, CASB, and ZTNA), which provides secure access to the web, software as a service, and private applications, keeping attackers out and sensitive data in. Using this hybrid, three-in-oneprong approach allows an organization to combine access control, data security, threat protection, and security monitoring, and utilizes a single solution for network security needs regardless of where the application or data resides.
SSE is not a product in itself, but rather the security portions of SASE, reinvented as a single, cloud-centric model.
A robust SSE solution benefits an organization in the following ways:
- Security and protection consistency and accuracy no matter where people work
- A reduction in complexity
- An improved user experience
- The unification of functionality and strategy
- Increased flexibility
- Cost reduction
SSE demonstrates early value, because it combines several services into a single platform. This reduces complexity and also allows for cost savings, because other services may potentially be removed. For example, ZTNA replaces the need for people to use VPNs to get to applications. A reduction in complexity also provides a better user experience due to SSE’s increased performance.
By unifying functionality with strategy, security can better defend the network without bogging it down using a traditional VPN service. Keeping a network secure requires real-time, consistent protection—cyberthreat actors are looking for any area of weakness that they can exploit.
Forcepoint offers unique SSE capabilities that scale up or down in real time when needed; it also allows the organization to push the data protection mechanism down to the device. It creates the ability to protect managed web apps, anywhere, on any device. In a landscape where threat actors can be anywhere, weilding a variety of techniques, an organization needs layered defenses that share visibility and analytics to enforce consistent security everywhere that users or resources may need to be.
SSE vs. SASE
SSE is the security portionsa subset of the SASE architecture. SSE is an approach that securities teams adopt to bring together different security capabilities. Founded on CASB, SWG, and ZTNA requirements, SSE reduces complexities and improves security.
What about network considerations? Infrastructure teams using a SASE framework will lean on SD-WAN—the evolution of multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) into a more dynamic system. It uses policy-based routing, geared toward an application’s specific needs while taking into consideration available network conditions. SD-WAN gives the same level of reliability and performance of MPLS without that system's drawbacks. It uses virtualized network overlays to connect data centers and corporate offices, and routes internet traffic directly. In addition, SD-WAN is not limited to WAN transport tech and uses defined priorities to ensure the best quality experience.
SSE’s use of SWG, Casb, and ZTNA together in one solution allows for a seamless SASE implementation when paired with SD-WAN.
Security Service Edge Components
SSE is comprised of three key components: Zero Trust Network Access, Cloud Access Security Broker, and Secure Web Gateway. Each component brings its own functions to the equation, and they come together to make a solid security solution.
A Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) provides secure access to internal applications for a user based on their specific access context, embodying the principle of least privilege. This component of SSE focuses on identity and access management (IAM), using functions like multi-factor authentication (MFA) and single sign-on (SSO). For the most effective SSE configuration, the ZTNA should offer both agent and agentless deployment.
A Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) provides data and threat protection in the cloud through policy enforcement, which allows protection for any device, any time, anywhere. For the most effective SSE configuration, a multi-mode next-gen CASB architecture is recommended, because it provides dynamic adaptability with agent-based,agentless, and API-based modes.
A Secure Web Gateway (SWG) provides protection from malware and enforces company policies. It uses content inspection filters to protect user-initiated traffic and also prevents data from leaking. Application controls are included as well.
There are two ways to implement SWGs: use a cloud proxy or place the SWG directly onto the end device. For the most effective SSE configuration, the SWG must provide real-time protection.
Forcepoint offers a revolutionary SSE platform that converges SWG, CASB, and ZTNA into a single security solution. Our solution provides a hybrid mode of protection that can use agents or be agentless. It is flexible and extensible, offering on-the-fly scalability, real-time monitoring, and the ability to protect any device, any time, anywhere.
Our multi-mode next-gen CASB architecture provides API, SAML proxy, forward proxy, active-sync proxy, and reverse proxy. It provides real-time protection, custom application support, and Zero-Day threat protection.
The ZTNA capability can be used both with an agent or without, which allows for remote access for devices, including BYOD device coverage. Not only does this ZTNA save funds by replacing VPN, it provides real-time malware protection and data loss policy enforcement for web apps.
Forcepoint is unique in that our SSE solution pushes the data securityprotection all the way down to the device. For example, it can block a phishing link on the fly without having to backhaul traffic. This enhances the user experience by not subjecting users to the performance drops traditionally seen with this type of backhaul approach.
Start your organization’s SSE journey with a platform that provides what you need, where you need it, when you need it. Contact Forcepoint today or get started with a free customized demo.