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AdvantageJun 16, 2023 1:41:44 PM4 min read

Comparing SSE and SASE: Which is best for your securing your enterprise networks?

In 2013, Yahoo was breached; hackers were able to gain access to 3 billion user
accounts by exploiting a server vulnerability. Had the global ISP had access to today's
cutting solutions, such as Security Service Edge (SSE) and Secure Access Service Edge
(SASE), it could have detected and stopped the attack before it was too late.

Today, organizations are empowered with a wealth of solutions that can protect their
networks from malicious actors by implementing automated security measures such as
firewalls and intrusion detection systems. SSE and SASE are two different approaches to
secure access and traffic handling. Both frameworks have their unique features and
capabilities, but understanding the differences between them is key to choosing the
right one for your organization.

The Case for SSE
SSE is considered a subset of SASE, providing most of the same security control
capabilities but without the network bandwidth control and WAN optimization that
SASE offers; it is a collection of integrated, cloud-centric security capabilities that
provide secure access to applications and data from anywhere. SSE consists of three
core services: a secure web gateway (SWG), a cloud access security broker (CASB), and a
zero-trust network access (ZTNA) framework. The SWG protects malicious content,
while the CASB, says Gartner, protects against data leakage by consolidating multiple
types of security policy enforcement including authentication, single sign-on,
authorization, credential mapping, device profiling, encryption, tokenization, logging,
alerting, malware detection/prevention and so on. Finally, the ZTNA framework
provides authentication and authorization for users accessing applications or data in the cloud or on premise.

To some, SSE offers advantages over SASE by providing enhanced security features
while simplifying deployment and management processes. Although it eliminates the
SD-WAN, it retains the CASB, FWaaS, SWG, and ZTNA functions – as well as PoPs, which
can be used to provide secure access to applications. Additionally, SSE provides access
control, threat protection, data security, and analytics capabilities that are integrated
into a single platform. This makes it easier for organizations to manage their security
needs more efficiently and cost-effectively.

Leveraging ZTNA frameworks ensures that only authenticated users can access the
network and applications to which they’re allowed, during specific time frames and
from approved devices. Furthermore, SSE allows organizations to quickly deploy cloud-
based services without having to worry about managing complex networks or dealing
with multiple vendors.

The Case for SASE
In contrast, SASE focuses on a user's secure access needs as part of the solution. It
combines networking and security into an integrated service delivered as a single
solution from the cloud. It includes components such as SD-WAN, CASB, FWaaS, SWG,
ZTNA, PoPs, and more. These components work together to provide secure access to
applications and data from any device or location.

When it comes to traffic handling, SASE is more efficient than SSE since it includes the
SD-WAN component which provides better visibility into application performance,
allowing for improved network optimization. This means that with SASE, organizations
can prioritize critical applications and ensure they get the bandwidth they need while
reducing latency. Additionally, like SSE, SASE also offers FWaaS, allowing organizations
to manage their firewalls in the cloud instead of on-premises, further improving
efficiency while reducing hardware costs.

So, while SSE still provides access control, threat protection, data security, and other
services, it does not offer the same level of efficiency in traffic handling as SASE does. In
this context, SASE is more efficient than SSE due to its inclusion of SD-WAN and other
components, like FWaaS, which provide better visibility into application performance
and reduce hardware costs.

Over the past few years, SASE adoption has augmented the benefits of FWaaS by
combining network security functions, such as firewalls, with web gateways and VPNs
into a comprehensive solution that can be delivered by a single service provider. By
consolidating these services into one offering, SASE eliminates the need for multiple
hardware devices and reduces associated costs such as maintenance, upgrades, and
energy consumption. Additionally, SASE allows organizations to scale up or down quickly in response to changing business needs without having to invest in additional hardware.

As I mentioned, when it comes to implementation, SSE is simpler than SASE since it does not include all the components that make up SASE. However, this also means that it may not be able to provide all the features available with SASE. In addition, since SSE does not include SD-WAN or WAN optimization functions as SASE does, it may not be able to handle large amounts of traffic efficiently or cost-effectively.

The Verdict
Overall, both frameworks have their advantages and disadvantages depending on your
organization's needs. If you need a simple solution that can provide basic security
features without having to manage multiple components separately then SSE may be
the right choice for you. On the other hand, if you need more advanced features such as
bandwidth control or WAN optimization then SASE may be better suited for your needs.

Why Partner with a Telecom Managed Services Provider?
Securing enterprise networks is as complex as it is critical, leading many Fortune 500
organizations partner with a managed services provider. Working with a managed
security services provider has many advantages for organizations looking to simplify
network security management.

By acting as a single point of contact, a managed security services provider can handle
the entire lifecycle from vendor selection and optimization to expense management and support. This reduces the complexity, costs, and time associated with setting up,
optimizing, and maintaining a secure network infrastructure. Additionally, they provide
expertise and knowledge that organizations may not have internally, along with around-
the-clock monitoring to ensure that the right measures are taken if any threats occur.

Working with an MSP like Advantage Communications Group ensures that organizations have the most up-to-date technology and access to skilled professionals to protect their networks and data against modern cybersecurity threats.