What is Security Service Edge (SSE)?

Goran Lepan
June 22, 2022


The cyber threat landscape is continually evolving as cybercriminals look for new vulnerabilities in organisation’s systems and processes. As we increasingly access applications, data, and tools from remote locations, these risks compound further. To mitigate the threat of risk or loss to critical assets, it’s vital to have a full set of security technologies along with the ability to monitor and track user behaviour within the organisation’s network. The Security Service Edge (SSE), a term coined by Gartner and a new concept in the cyber security landscape, aims to help do just that. SSE uses a collection of integrated, cloud-centric security capabilities to facilitate secure remote access to corporate resources.


SSE is an evolving stack of cloud-based security tools which provide secure access to the web, software as a service (SaaS), and private applications. The convergence of network security services is delivered from a purpose-built cloud platform to keep cybercriminals out and sensitive data in, and forms an essential component for building scalable cloud and network security.

SSE brings together three core components, along with some additional capabilities, to create a solid security solution:

  • Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) - secure remote access to internal applications based on the principle of least privilege.
  • Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) - data and threat protection for any device, anytime, anywhere in the cloud through policy enforcement.
  • Secure Web Gateway (SWG) - protection from malware and enforcement of company policies by the use of content inspection filters.

By using this three-tiered approach to combine access control, data security, threat protection and security monitoring, SSE delivers a single cloud-centric solution regardless of where data resides.


SSE isn’t a product in itself but a subset of Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) that focuses specifically on the security components. The concept evolved in acknowledgement of the fact that not all organisations are ready to jump directly to SASE.

With SASE, not only is security functionality consolidated into a single cloud-based solution, as with SSE, but the same is done for networking functionality, integrating software-defined WAN (SD-WAN), Quality of Service (QoS) and more. With the combination of features of SASE, organisations can achieve both security and network optimisation in a single cloud-based solution. However, corporate networking teams are often tied to existing technology solutions, so SSE provides a way to consolidate cloud-based security without the complications of networking consolidation.


As remote workforces and customer bases continue to increase in size and complexity, security has become paramount. A comprehensive SSE strategy offers businesses a full set of security technologies to benefit both employees and stakeholders regardless of their location. Some of the key advantages include:

  • Reduction in security complexity - by combining several services into a single platform, security is less complex from the outset with SSE. It eliminates the use of different and disparate security controls between cloud providers and on-premise infrastructure, delivering simplified adoption and deployment of policies across all work environments.
  • Improved user experience - as content inspection occurs where the end-user connects to the SSE cloud, performance is improved and latency reduced, resulting in a better user experience for remote users. Slow VPNs are no longer required and access to apps in public and private clouds is fast and seamless.
  • Cost reduction - as traffic doesn't have to be routed back through the data centre and some services can potentially be removed, SSE also lowers costs. With all key security services unified in one platform, the capabilities of SSE can scale up or down in real-time, when needed to meet business demands.
  • Unification of protection - with unified protection under one policy, gaps between point products are eliminated, functionality and strategy are consolidated, and all channels, users and data receive the same real-time consistent protection. Security can better defend the network without bogging it down using a traditional VPN service.

In a landscape where cybercriminals can attack anywhere, layered defences that enforce consistent security everywhere is fundamental. With SSE, security can be delivered regardless of location and data protection can be pushed down to the device level. Furthermore, security updates are enforced automatically across the cloud without the delay of manual IT administration.


Employees and data are increasingly located outside of the office perimeter, with a growth in the adoption of SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS, which means that security needs to be too. VPNs are slow and easily exploited and the issue is hard to resolve using legacy network architectures. With SSE, organisations can consolidate and streamline security functions into a single cloud-based solution that addresses the challenges of dissolving perimeters, increasing complexity, network performance, and operational efficiency. With SSE, it’s easier for security teams to deploy, confirm, monitor, and manage security for all users, wherever they are and whatever they are doing.

Contact the cybersecurity experts at Infotrust to receive help and advice for securing your organisation's assets. If you would like to find out how mature your SSE architecture is, try our FREE self-assessment tool today.