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Security "Bits"

Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) vs Security Service Edge (SSE)

By Kevin Sheu | August 25, 2021 at 5:00 AM
Businessman hand working with a Cloud Computing diagram on the new computer interface as concept-2

At Bitglass, customers and prospects are rapidly architecting and deploying their SASE architecture and approach. In particular, we are commonly asked how they should go about prioritizing such a comprehensive approach; there is no shortage of functionality that customers can use to secure interactions between any devices, apps, web destinations, on-premises resources, and infrastructure.

As we embarked on these advisory discussions, my colleague had previously written about a “Crawl, Walk, Run” approach. More recently, in the latest Gartner® “Hype Cycle™ for Cloud Security, 2021” by Tom Croll, and Jay Heiser [1], Security Service Edge (SSE) was introduced.

This has raised a recent question: what is the relationship between Security Service Edge (SSE) and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE)? They sound similar. Is one more relevant as security teams begin preparing for either a return to the office or an increasingly distributed environment?

In short, they are not mutually exclusive.

  • You will often see SSE as an adopted approach by the security team. They will focus on reducing the complexity of the infrastructure and improving user experience by consolidating multiple disparate security capabilities into a single-vendor, cloud-centric converged capability. This will often be anchored around core CASB, SWG, ZTNA requirements.
  • You will often see SD-WAN services separately considered by the infrastructure team. This may be driven by circumstance as many of their users control or own the device, traffic doesn’t traverse their own infrastructure and trusting users by default becomes insufficient.

In this context, they work together and complete the SASE journey. These can either be embarked on in parallel or can as separate sequenced initiatives. These will often be impacted by leadership priorities, available personnel, and budget. Not to mention, they will often be driven by different refresh cycles for existing investments.

To learn more about how your security teams can adhere to SASE and SSE tenets, please don’t hesitate to reach out for recommendations.


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[1] Gartner, “Hype Cycle for Cloud Security, 2021” Tom CrollJay Heiser, July 27, 2021.

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