Limitations of a VPN in securing only fewer and limited applications, IT leaders now have to look beyond, as the number of online applications have been increasing significantly especially ones that are available through Internet. Many of these applications are now being hosted on Public Clouds some even offered as SaaS.

Along with the above decentralization of networks, Mobile workforce accessing through internet, optimizing bandwidth performance, zero trust architectures, Unified Management and visibility all have lead IT Decision makers to look towards Secure Services Edge (SSE).

Adopting a Secure Services Edge (SSE) cyber security solution can be a complex process for a large enterprise as the dependencies are huge. It requires careful planning, collaboration among various teams, and a phased approach to implementation.

For many IT decision makers and as a matter-of-fact CISO’s too are not sure about the entirety of the Secure Services Edge (SSE) solution. What components should be part of the SSE solution? 

Before we dive deeper let us understand the fundamental difference between the two cyber security solutions SSE and SASE.

Difference between SSE and SASE

Secure Services Edge (SSE)

  • SSE is a network architecture that emphasizes securing and optimizing network traffic at the network edge, closer to the end-users and devices
  • It is primarily concerned with improving the performance, reliability, and security of network connections to ensure a seamless and secure user experience
  • SSE typically involves the implementation of security services like firewalls, secure web gateways, intrusion prevention systems (IPS), and content filtering at the network edge. While SSE enhances the security of network traffic, it may not address security concerns related to cloud applications and remote users directly
  • SSE is more focused on traditional network security and optimization rather than comprehensive security for cloud-based applications and distributed users

Secure Access Service Edge (SASE)

  • SASE, on the other hand, is a broader and more comprehensive security concept that combines network security and wide area networking (WAN) capabilities with cloud security features
  • SASE is designed to secure and optimize access to cloud-based applications and data for remote users, branch offices, and mobile devices, regardless of their location
  • It integrates traditional network security functions (such as firewalls and IPS) with cloud security services like secure web gateways, cloud access security brokers (CASB), and zero-trust network access (ZTNA)
  • SASE adopts a user-centric and identity-driven security approach, focusing on providing secure access to applications based on user identity, device posture, and real-time threat analysis. SASE is well-suited for modern cloud-centric and distributed environments, where traditional network-centric security solutions may not be sufficient

Traditional security practices are not able to catch up with the rising threats of evolving nature of Technology landscape, this problem is further amplified with Multi- and hybrid-cloud environments which are notoriously difficult to secure, with each cloud provider varying widely in terms of native firewall capabilities available. Hence a evolution of solutions around SSE and SASE became even more evident.

Challenges in adopting an SSE in Large Enterprise

Organizations that successfully implement a Secure Services Edge (SSE) solution can derive several benefit from improved security, flexibility, and performance. A modern SSE solution can help organizations to protect their networks and applications from a variety of threats, including malware, phishing, and data exfiltration. It can also help to improve the performance of network connections by reducing latency and improving bandwidth utilization. Additionally, SSE can help organizations to be more flexible and agile by providing a scalable and elastic security platform that can be easily deployed and updated.

Some of the challenges in adopting a SSE Solution?

Complexity of Integration: Integrating a wide range of security and networking components into a cohesive SSE architecture can be complex and time-consuming. Ensuring seamless communication and interoperability between various security services may require significant planning and expertise.

Legacy Infrastructure: Large enterprises often have legacy systems and infrastructure that may not be easily compatible with modern SSE solutions. Upgrading or retrofitting these systems to work with the new security architecture can be challenging.

Bandwidth Requirements: SSE may require increased bandwidth to accommodate the rerouting of traffic through security services at the edge. This can lead to higher network costs and the need for sufficient network capacity planning.

Security Policy Management: Managing security policies in a distributed environment with multiple points of presence can be challenging. Ensuring consistent policy enforcement and updates across the network can be complex and error-prone.

Compliance and Regulatory Challenges: Adhering to various compliance requirements and industry regulations while implementing SSE can be demanding. Ensuring that the solution meets the necessary security standards can be time-consuming and may require third-party audits.

Costs and Budget Constraints: Implementing a comprehensive SSE solution can be costly, both in terms of hardware, software, and ongoing operational expenses. Budget constraints may limit the scope or the pace of the implementation. Your existing Cyber security investments might become obsolete if they are unable to integrate with the new SSE solution.

User Education and Adoption: Introducing a new security framework may require extensive user education and training to ensure that employees and stakeholders understand the changes and follow security best practices.

Scalability: Organizations need to consider the scalability of the SSE solution to accommodate growth and increasing demands for remote access, especially in the context of a growing mobile workforce.

Vendor Selection: Choosing the right SSE solution provider that aligns with the organization's needs and long-term strategy can be challenging. Evaluating various vendors and their capabilities is crucial to making an informed decision.

Steps to Modernizing your Network security with Secure Services Edge (SSE)

Assess your current security posture. Before you can start modernizing your network security, you need to understand your current security posture. This includes identifying your current security risks, your security policies, and your security infrastructure.

Define your security goals. Once you understand your current security posture, you need to define your security goals. This includes what you want to achieve with SSE, such as improving security, reducing costs, or increasing agility.

Choose the right SSE solution. There are a number of SSE solutions available, so you need to choose the right one for your organization. This includes considering your security needs, your budget, and your existing IT infrastructure.

Carefully choose a Expert security partner. The vendor should offer a comprehensive SSE offering advisory and assessment services, pre implementations, migration and post implementation hyper care support, continuous management of the SSE platform, 24/7 monitoring and threat detection, and other important cybersecurity capabilities. 

Implement the SSE solution. Once you have chosen an SSE solution, you need to implement it. This includes configuring the solution, deploying it, and testing it.

Monitor and maintain the SSE solution. Once the SSE solution is implemented, you need to monitor and maintain it. This includes keeping the solution up to date, monitoring for threats, and responding to incidents.

The adoption of a Secure Services Edge cyber security solution is a significant undertaking, and it's essential to engage experienced professionals, involve key stakeholders, and maintain clear communication throughout the process. By following these steps, a large enterprise can successfully implement an effective SSE cyber security solution to safeguard its data, applications, and network infrastructure from evolving cyber threats.

Want to start your SSE solution adoption journey. Speak to a TATA Communications Cyber Security SSE expert now!

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