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Security Service Edge vs. SASE: What Is the Difference?

Security Service Edge vs. SASE: What Is the Difference?

What is SASE?

Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) is a category of networking solutions defined by Gartner in 2019, which combines traditional network security functions with wide area networking (WAN) capabilities. The goal of SASE is to provide secure and reliable connectivity for users and devices, regardless of their location or the type of network they are connected to.

Gartner defines SASE as a cloud-delivered, network security as a service platform that provides secure network connectivity and network security functions in a unified offering, delivered through a common infrastructure and management. SASE combines network security functions, such as zero trust networking, firewalls, and intrusion prevention systems (IPS), with cloud-based networking services like SD-WAN (software-defined wide area networking) and internet connectivity.

Technically, SASE solutions work by using a cloud-based infrastructure to provide secure connectivity for users and devices. This can be done through a variety of means, such as zero trust network access (ZTNA), SSL (secure sockets layer) tunnels, or direct connections to the cloud. The SASE infrastructure also includes security functions like firewalls, IPS, and other security controls, which are used to protect against threats and ensure the confidentiality and integrity of data.

Overall, the goal of SASE is to provide a flexible and secure networking solution that can be easily managed and scaled to meet the needs of organizations with remote and hybrid workforces.

What is Security Service Edge (SSE)?

Secure Services Edge (SSE) is a set of integrated, cloud-delivered secure services that use identities and policies to establish secure connections between authenticated users and business resources. First introduced by Gartner in 2021, SSE is a security category that will secure connectivity in the future of hybrid environments and remote work.

As more employees work outside corporate boundaries, SaaS applications become the norm, and applications move to the public cloud, organizations cannot continue to backhaul user traffic to corporate networks. Many IT organizations are replacing their existing network security appliances, such as firewalls, VPN gateway appliances, and web gateways, with cloud-based options that can better protect data, provide a better user experience, and reduce costs.

Security service edge platforms provide cloud services that extend secure connectivity to user locations, without connecting users to corporate networks, exposing IT infrastructure to the public internet, or requiring complex network segmentation. Instead, SSE allows IT to provide secure access from anywhere to on-premise applications, secure access to the internet, and fast access to the cloud and SaaS applications.

Security Service Edge vs. SASE: What Is the Difference?

The main difference between Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) and Security Service Edge (SSE) is the focus of the solutions. SASE combines traditional network security functions with wide area networking (WAN) capabilities, while SSE focuses specifically on security functions.

SASE solutions are designed to provide secure and reliable connectivity for users and devices, regardless of their location or the type of network they are connected to. This can include traditional networking functions like VPNs and SD-WAN (software-defined wide area networking), as well as security functions like firewalls, intrusion prevention systems (IPS), and other controls. SASE solutions are often used by organizations with remote and hybrid workforces to ensure secure access to corporate resources and protect against cyber threats.

SSE solutions, on the other hand, are focused specifically on security functions. This can include traditional security controls like firewalls, IPS, and web application firewalls (WAFs), as well as cloud-based networking services like internet access and network function virtualization (NFV). SSE solutions are typically used by organizations to protect against threats and ensure the confidentiality and integrity of data.

In some cases, organizations may adopt SSE solutions as a first step towards implementing a full SASE solution. For example, an organization may start by implementing a cloud-based security solution to protect against threats, and then add additional networking functions like SD-WAN at a later date. This can allow organizations to incrementally build out their SASE infrastructure and adopt new technologies as needed.

SSE or SASE? What to Choose

The choice between Security Service Edge (SSE) and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) solutions will depend on the specific needs and requirements of the organization. Here are a few key considerations that organizations should keep in mind when deciding which solution is right for them:

  • Networking needs: SASE solutions provide a combination of networking and security functions, while SSE solutions focus specifically on security. Organizations should consider their networking needs and determine whether they require additional networking capabilities like ZTNA and SD-WAN in addition to security functions.
  • Deployment model: SASE and SSE solutions can be deployed in a variety of ways, including as a service or on-premises. Organizations should consider their preferred deployment model and determine which solution is best suited to their needs.
  • Security requirements: SASE and SSE solutions both provide a range of security functions, but they may differ in terms of the specific controls and features they offer. Organizations should carefully review the security capabilities of each solution and determine which one meets their security requirements.
  • Cost: SASE and SSE solutions can vary in terms of cost, depending on the specific features and capabilities they offer. Organizations should consider their budget and determine which solution provides the best value for their needs.
  • Scalability: Both SASE and SSE solutions are designed to be scalable, but they may differ in terms of how easily they can be expanded to meet the needs of growing organizations. Organizations should consider their future growth plans and determine which solution is best suited to their needs.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Security Service Edge (SSE) and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) are two categories of networking solutions that offer a range of security and networking functions. SASE solutions combine traditional network security functions with wide area networking (WAN) capabilities, while SSE solutions focus specifically on security functions.

When deciding which solution is right for their organization, businesses should consider their networking needs, deployment model, security requirements, budget, and scalability requirements. Both SASE and SSE solutions can be effective in protecting against threats and ensuring secure connectivity, but the specific solution that is best suited to a given organization will depend on its specific needs and requirements.

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