Security Service Edge (SSE)

What is Security Service Edge (SSE)?

Security Service Edge (SSE) is an information and communication technology (ICT) market segment that focuses on providing business-to-business (B2B) customers with security software stacks that are billed as a single, on-demand cloud service.

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The SSE market caters to businesses that need to provide remote and hybrid workers with secure access to cloud services and private internal applications, such as employee self-service portals accessed over the public internet. 

SSE vs. SASE

SSE is part of a larger market segment called Secure Access Service Edge (SASE). 

The research firm Gartner is credited with identifying and promoting both this larger market segment, which bundles networking and security services, and SSE – which focuses solely on security.

According to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Security Service Edge, SSE adoption can be a cost-effective interim step towards full SASE adoption. 

What Does Security Service Edge Do?

SSE eliminates the need for employees to connect to a corporate network to access cloud-based services. This, in turn, can help simplify corporate network management by reducing the need for network segmentation.  

According to Gartner, SSE products and services should be able to:

SSE Components

Typically, SSE offerings combine the following four components to create a converged security infrastructure:

  • Firewall as a Service (FWaaS): This next-gen firewall cloud service provides organizations with the same level of security as traditional hardware appliances without needing to maintain on-premises firewalls across multiple locations.
  • Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA): This is a data-centric approach to cybersecurity that assumes no end-user, computing device, web service, or network connection can be trusted — even when an access request originates from within the organization’s own network perimeter.
  • Secure Web Gateway (SWG): This virtual appliance inspects web traffic for threats, blocks malicious websites, and prevents malware from being downloaded.
  • Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB): This virtual appliance can enforce an organization’s local security policies in the cloud and prevent data exfiltration.

SSE Vendors

Popular security service edge providers include:

Cisco: Cisco Secure Access supplements the four essential SSE components with multimode data loss prevention (DLP), DNS filtering, remote browser isolation (RBI), sandboxing, and threat intelligence.

Forcepoint: Forcepoint says its SSE offering can push data security protection all the way down to the device and block phishing links on the fly without having to backhaul traffic to the organization’s data center for inspection.

Netskope: Netskope Intelligent Security Service Edge (SSE) claims to be the gold standard for protecting data in the cloud because it is so fast and easy to use.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.