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Security Service Edge (SSE) Limitations & Disadvantages. Protecting all Traffic, Users, Apps, and Services with 360-degree SSE

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Introduction to Security Service Edge SSEThis article explores the Security Service Edge (SSE) portion of Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) and the need for holistic cybersecurity protections.

We lightly touch upon the drivers for tighter enterprise security and then dive into what SSE is, comparing its architecture and migration path to SASE to a 360-degree SSE approach which offers complete visibility, optimization and control with a seamless path to SASE convergence.

How Security Service Edge (SSE) fits into SASE’s Security Pillars

How Security Service Edge (SSE) fits into SASE’s Security Pillars

Key Topics:

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The Need For Holistic Security

Legacy security architectures presupposed security as local and siloed with appliances everywhere. Unfortunately, these architectures produced protection, performance, and visibility gaps, so the overall security requirements for enterprises have proven this model insufficient.

This outdated approach influenced the need for security simplification and assumes enterprises replace these architectures with a strategy that will:

  • Simplify security management
  • Minimize security blind spots
  • Inspect traffic flows in all directions
  • Deliver Zero Trust access everywhere
  • Give visibility and control into all traffic

SSE vs. 360-degree SSE: What is The Architecture Difference?

Security Service Edge (SSE) is new category introduced by Gartner, two years after SASE, and represents an essential step toward simplifying complex security architectures by consolidating them into cloud-delivered services. This allows enterprises to quickly adapt to new business and technical challenges like cloud migration, the growing hybrid workforce, etc.

The figure below represents the basic SSE architecture and its protection scheme:

basic sse architecture and protection scheme

Basic SSE Architecture and its protection scheme

SSE consolidates SWG, CASB, DLP, and ZTNA and represents a small portion of the security pillars of SASE. However, diving deeper into what SSE delivers versus what businesses require, we realize that basic SSE lacks full security protection and has coverage shortcomings, as pictured below:

sse represents a small portion of the security pillars of sase

SSE represents a small portion of the security pillars of SASE

Nonuser traffic, malicious traffic, and WAN malware propagation are not considered. A 360-degree approach to SSE, which provides advanced threat protection for east-west and north-south traffic, is required to counter this. Such a service performs real-time inspection of all traffic for advanced threats and sensitive data leakage with consistent policy enforcement everywhere. The picture below describes this service.

Catonetworks 360-degree approach to SSE: 360-degree SSE

Catonetworks 360-degree approach to SSE: 360-degree SSE

With a Single Pass Processing Engine, a 360-degree SSE enhances basic SSE, adding FWaaS, IPS, and NGAM for a full inspection and enforcement of multiple access, network, and security policies. This protects all traffic, users, apps, and services.

Security Collaboration

Collaboration among security technologies is crucial for complete protection. With a single converged software stack, all security functions in a 360-degree SSE share contextual data, enforcement decisions, threat data, etc. For example, CASB and ZTNA share context with FWaaS to enforce corporate security policies; and FWaaS shares this context with NextGen Anti-malware (NGAM) and IPS for advanced threat protection.

catonetworks 360 sse holistic threat protection

360-degree SSE provides holistic threat protection with coverage to and from all threat vectors. This is something a basic SSE cannot deliver.

SSE or SSE 360: Choose Your Defense Carefully

Users can choose SSE approaches, so we encourage due diligence in your evaluation.

The following chart provides a detailed comparison:

 

Basic SSE                                      

360-degree  SSE                                     

Core Capabilities

 ZTNA (Zero Trust Network Access)

Yes

Yes

  • Client and Clientless, Device Posture                                                                         

Yes

Yes

  • Continuous traffic inspection for threats

No

Yes

 SWG (Secure Web Gateway)

Yes

Yes

 CASB/DLP (Cloud Access Security Broker)

Yes

Yes

  • Inline

Yes

Yes

 FWaaS with Full Threat Prevention

No

Yes

 Unified architecture for all capabilities

No

Yes

Management

 Connect with IPSec enabled or SD-WAN devices

Yes

Yes

 “Single Pane of Glass” management

Yes

Yes

 Self-healing platform (cloud availability)

No

Yes

 Proven fast adaptation to evolving threats

No

Yes

Traffic Visibility

 Internet: Web sites, Public Cloud Apps (Office 365)

Yes

Yes

 WAN: Cloud DC Apps (AWS, Azure, GCP)

No (requires app-specific connectors)

Yes

 WAN: Physical DC Apps

No (requires app-specific connectors)

Yes

 All ports and protocols

No

Yes

Traffic Control

 SSL decryption

Yes

Yes

 Internet traffic

Yes

Yes

 WAN traffic inspection

No

Yes

Traffic Prevention

 Inbound/Outbound (Web)

Yes

Yes

 WAN propagation

No

Yes

 All ports and protocols

No

Yes

 Advanced Threat Detection

No

Yes

 Security events: collection, reporting, and exporting

Yes

Yes

Path to SASE Convergence

 Seamlessly expandable to single-vendor SASE

No

Yes

 Appliance elimination for SD-WAN, FW, Routers, Wan Opt.

No

Yes

 SD-WAN capable

3rd party

Yes

A crucial advantage of the 360-degree SSE, as articulated in this chart, is the seamless and straightforward manner by which customers, when ready, can migrate to a single-vendor SASE deployment.

360-Degree SSE: Seamless Path to Single-Vendor SASE

With 360-degree SSE, customers can quickly implement a single-vendor SASE, adding only an SD-WAN Edge device. This approach extends the functionality of basic SSE with built-in FWaaS, IPS, and NGAM for advanced threat protection and SD-WAN for global networking services with guaranteed performance. This extends coverage for all traffic, users, apps, and locations.

Summary

The Security Service Edge (SSE) simplifies the fragmented security stack by consolidating ZTNA, SWG, DLP, and CASB.  This is a good start but still leaves visibility and protection gaps.

360-degree SSE “sees” all traffic flows and applies the full range of security policies for real-time inspection for threats, sensitive data, and compliance with consistent enforcement across a global private backbone.

A 360-degree SSE delivers on the promise of omnipresent enterprise security.

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