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What is Security Service Edge? Your shield in the cloud era

Advania Blog - Security Service Edge
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Gone are the days of centralised data centres and perimeter-based security. In today’s dynamic cloud landscape, businesses operate across geographically dispersed networks, accessing resources and applications via the internet. This shift demands a new approach to security, one that adapts to the fluid nature of modern IT environments. Enter Security Service Edge (SSE), a game-changer that simplifies and strengthens your organisation’s defences.

In this blog, our Product Director for Security & Compliance, Pravesh Kara, introduces the concept of SSE in plain terms as the first part of his series. Make sure to sign up to our insights below to hear more about SSE in Pravesh’s series, including how to see if it’s right for your organisation, and learn more about Microsoft SSE technologies and how to implement them.

Understanding the challenge: beyond traditional security

Think of traditional security as a walled fortress protecting your internal network. Following the pandemic, many organisations switched to remote and eventually hybrid working. The primary method of achieving that at speed was the broader deployment of virtual private networks (VPNs) while digital transformation programmes looked to migrate to the cloud. The perimeter expands endlessly, making it practically impossible to monitor and secure every point of access. Additionally, traditional solutions often lack granular control, granting broad access rights that can be easily exploited by attackers. An example of this is VPNs in a hybrid working scenario.

What is Security Service Edge, or SSE, and how does it work?

SSE leverages the cloud to deliver essential security services directly to users, wherever they connect to your network. Instead of routing traffic back to a central location, SSE intercepts and inspects it locally, offering several key benefits:

  • Reduced latency: direct inspection eliminates the need for backhauling data, leading to faster and more responsive applications
  • Enhanced security: cloud-based security services leverage advanced threat detection and analysis capabilities at the endpoint rather than on the resource being accessed, providing better protection against malware, phishing and other attacks
  • Simplified management: centralised management console streamlines policy enforcement and visibility across your entire network removing the need to maintain rule/policy consistency across multiple panes of glass
  • Improved user experience: users enjoy seamless and secure access to resources, regardless of their location or device

The power of Zero Trust: a perfect alliance

SSE and Zero Trust, a security principle that verifies every user and device before granting access, are natural allies. SSE strengthens Zero Trust by:

  • Enforcing granular access controls: SSE verifies users’ identities and entitlements before granting access to specific applications , network segments and data
  • Providing continuous monitoring: SSE constantly evaluates user behaviour and device health, dynamically adjusting access levels based on risk
  • Detecting and blocking threats: SSE integrates with advanced threat intelligence to identify and block malicious activity in real-time

Together, SSE and Zero Trust create a powerful synergy, building a security posture that adapts to dynamic environments and minimises the attack surface.

Replacing the old guard: what does SSE leave behind?

Remember the limitations of traditional security? SSE addresses these head-on, replacing outdated mechanisms with modern solutions:

  • Legacy Web Gateways (SWGs): SSE offers broader security functionality beyond basic web filtering, including cloud application security and data loss prevention
  • VPNs: more granular access control and eliminates the need for complex VPN configurations
  • On-premises Network Security Appliances (NSAs): SSE eliminates the need for dedicated hardware like NSAs for cloud-based security, offering a more scalable and cost-effective solution, as well as providing broader security functionalities than traditional NSAs, including advanced threat detection
  • Disparate security tools for multi-cloud environments: SSE offers a unified platform for consistent security control and visibility across all your cloud deployments, simplifying management and enhancing efficiency of managing security across multiple cloud providers

The benefits extend beyond technical efficiency. SSE can free up valuable IT resources, optimise network performance, and ultimately reduce your organisation’s overall security risk.

Embracing the future: your SSE journey begins

The rise of SSE signifies a fundamental shift in cyber security. By adopting this innovative approach, you can ensure your organisation thrives in the cloud era, safeguarding your valuable data and resources regardless of their location. As you consider your SSE journey, remember:

  • Start with your specific needs: assess your security challenges and cloud adoption levels to identify the right SSE solution
  • Seek expert guidance: partner with trusted security providers who can help you navigate the SSE landscape and implement a solution tailored to your requirements
  • Stay informed: keep yourself updated on new threats and emerging technologies to maintain a robust security posture in the rapidly evolving cyber security landscape

By embracing SSE, you empower your organisation to embrace the cloud with confidence, knowing your valuable assets are protected from ever-evolving threats. Now that you have a glimpse into the world of SS, stay tuned for further insights on specific SSE functionalities and their impact on your security strategy to build a resilient future for your organisation.

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