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What is Security Service Edge (SSE)? Benefits & How It Works

Terry Mann | 5 min read| Updated On - June 27, 2024

Security Service Edge (SSE) Explained

What is Security Service Edge (SSE)?

Introduced by Gartner in its 2021 Roadmap for SASE Convergence report Security Service Edge (SSE) is a cloud-centric security concept that provides a comprehensive suite of integrated security services which facilitate secure access to various resources, including the web, cloud services, private applications, software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environments, and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) environments.

Secure Service Edge Components

SSE includes several key components that work together to provide a robust security framework. These components include:

  • Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB): This extends security policies and provides visibility over security and compliance issues.
  • Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA): This provides secure remote access to applications and services, enforcing least-privileged access based on identity and risk status.
  • Secure Web Gateway (SWG): This protects users from web-based threats by filtering malicious content and sites.
  • Firewall as a Service (FWaaS): This delivers next-generation firewall capabilities from the cloud, aggregating traffic and enforcing security policies across all locations and users

SSE can be delivered as a cloud-based service, with optional on-premises or agent-based components. This flexibility allows organizations to choose the delivery model that best fits their needs and infrastructure.

Why Do We Need a Security Service Edge?

With SSE, organizations can proactively defend against advanced threats, including malware and ransomware, offering enhanced visibility and control over SaaS applications. SSE also ensures secure and flexible access to private corporate applications, and provides secure remote access to applications, data, tools, and other corporate resources. Additionally, SSE allows for real-time monitoring and analysis of user behavior for enhanced security.

SSE offers a range of benefits, including:

  • Heightened security and improved visibility for end users.
  • Access control, threat protection, security monitoring, data security, and acceptable use policy (AUP) enforcement.
  • Consolidation of security functions into a robust and centralized cloud service.
  • Secure access to the web, cloud services, and private applications, regardless of user location or device.

What Is The Difference Between SASE & SSE?

SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) is a strategy that converges software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN), network security services, and a single, cloud-delivered service model. This approach provides a unified cloud-based service that combines networking and security functions to optimize the entire infrastructure. SASE provides a range of capabilities, including:

  • Access control
  • Data security/threat protection
  • Security monitoring
  • Acceptable use control
  • Monitoring and policy enforcement
  • Integrated network controls
  • Application APIs
  • Endpoint-based controls

These features enable organizations to protect their users, devices, applications, and data from various threats and vulnerabilities.

In SASE, identities of entities can be associated with people, groups of people (departments), devices, applications, services, IoT systems, and edge computing locations. This allows organizations to manage and secure access to these entities and ensure that their resources are protected and used appropriately.

While SSE is primarily focused on securing access to web, cloud services, and private applications, SASE is designed to address the complete needs of modern, decentralized organizations. The key differences between SSE and SASE are their focus, scope, components, and nature of service. SSE is primarily security-oriented, while SASE includes both networking and security services. SSE revolves around cloud-based security and networking architecture, while SASE extends beyond security to optimize the entire infrastructure.

How Does Security Service Edge Work?

SSE works in the following ways:

Unified Protection – The SSE introduces a seamless, cloud-based security and networking architecture that unifies security functions, ensuring a holistic and integrated safeguard for users and business-critical data. This unified approach enables organizations to protect their digital assets and data more effectively, reducing the risk of security breaches and cyber threats.

Cloud-Centric Agility – The SSE adopts an inherently cloud-based strategy, enhancing scalability and flexibility, and aligning security measures with the dynamic and decentralized nature of contemporary business operations. This cloud-centric approach enables organizations to respond quickly to changing business demands, and to adapt to new security threats and vulnerabilities.

In addition to the points listed above, SSE offers the following security capabilities, including:

  • Access Control – This helps to ensure that only authorized users have access to sensitive data and systems.
  • Threat Protection – This helps to detect and block malicious threats and cyber attacks.
  • Data Security – This helps to protect sensitive data and prevent unauthorized access.
  • Security Monitoring – This helps to monitor and analyze security events and threats.
  • Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) – This helps to define how employees and users interact with an organization’s network resources.

Implementation of AUPs – The SSE facilitates the implementation of AUPs that define how employees and users interact with an organization’s network resources, setting clear guidelines on permissible activities to contribute to a secure and productive IT environment. This helps organizations to ensure that employees and users understand and adhere to acceptable use policies, reducing the risk of security breaches and compliance issues.

Secure Resource Access – The SSE enables secure access to web applications, cloud services, and private applications, consolidating security functions into a single cloud service that streamlines the process of managing and enforcing security policies, ensuring a secure and frictionless user experience. This allows organizations to provide employees and users with seamless access to the resources they need, while maintaining the security and integrity of their digital assets.


Ensuring the security of sensitive data is paramount, as the ever-present threat of cybercriminals looms large. To address this critical concern, Secure Service Edge (SSE) provides a comprehensive solution that revolutionizes the way organizations interact with each other in a secure IT environment. By offering a proactive approach to cybersecurity, SSE not only enhances data protection strategies but also provides a robust security solution that combines cloud, network, and endpoint security. This enables businesses to redefine their relationships with users and other organizations in a secure and trustworthy manner, ultimately eliminating the risk of cyber threats and ensuring the continuous protection of valuable data.

Terry Mann
Terry Mann

Terry is an energetic and versatile Sales Person within the Internet Security sector, developing growth opportunities as well as bringing on net new opportunities.

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