The Four Components of Security Service Edge (SSE)

Security Service Edge (SSE) is popular with remote companies and businesses that have added multiple cloud-based components to their infrastructures. They use it to prevent evolving cyber threats from compromising their assets.

But which attacks is SSE capable of detecting and mitigating early?

Here, we break down SSE into its four components that are stacked into one cybersecurity solution:

  • Zero-Trust Network Access (ZTNA)
  • Secure Web Gateway (SWG)
  • Firewall as a Service (FWaaS)
  • Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB)

What are the main capabilities of each, and which security incidents can they help you prevent?

Zero-Trust Network Access (ZTNA)

ZTNA is a well-known alternative to VPN. The main capability of ZTNA is to manage user access. It regulates who can reach which part of the network — regardless if they’re on-premises or within the cloud.

For remote companies, this means that it provides safe access to the assets for employees working from home.

Most companies use it to set up role-based access and limit reach to networks or applications based on the assets they need for their work.

A couple of cyber threats that ZTNA can help you mitigate are:

The trust but verify approach is applied at every layer of the application.

Having the right credentials is not enough, though. ZTNA treats every login as a possible attempt at illicit access to the network. It triple-checks if the user is genuine and denies access if it concludes it’s not.

As the hacker tries to get deeper into the network, ZTNA tracks their movement to prevent them from getting deeper into the network. It segments the network and stops the attacker who got in from moving freely within it.

With stronger authentication controls, continual verification, and enforcing the least privilege, ZTNA prevents malicious insiders from getting to the most valuable company assets.

Secure Web Gateway (SWG)

SWG’s purpose is to filter potentially malicious traffic. It gates the company from versatile internet-based threats by monitoring the traffic in real-time to detect any suspicious activity or potentially malicious site or file.

To safeguard the company from a range of cyber threats, this component of Secure Access Service Edge (SSE) makes sure that the company’s security policies are applied at all times.

Cyberattacks that SWG can help you prevent include:

  • Phishing
  • Ransomware
  • Malware infections
  • Command and control attacks

SWG has a list of known phishing sites and doesn’t allow employees to access them. It blocks them right away. This prevents both malware infections and deters workers from logging into the phishing site that steals their credentials.

As a result, workers are less likely to land on sites that are crafted to mimic a reputable website but are, in fact, stealing their sensitive information.

One common malware infection that often starts with employees clicking on a phishing link is ransomware.

Even if an employee does access the malware-infected website, SWG is designed to prevent them from installing malicious documents and files to the devices that are used to access the network of a business.

To stop such command and control attacks, SWG is capable of removing the connection to the C2 servers to stop the communication between the malware-infected machine and the bad actor.

Firewall as a Service (FWaaS)

FWaaS, as part of the Security Service Edge (SSE) stack, provides another layer that investigates the flow of traffic into the network.

It’s similar to the Firewall. The main difference is that it provides the capabilities of a Firewall in the form of a service to facilitate the continual scaling of security for businesses.

Based on strict security policies, it decides whether it should allow or block the traffic into the company’s infrastructure. And it does so automatically.

Cyber threats FWaaS is designed to seek and block are:

  • Denial-of-Service (DoS) Attacks
  • Illicit access to the network or application
  • Various network-based threats

While it monitors the traffic and looks for signs of malicious activity, it also takes notice of the traffic that’s attempting to overwhelm the company’s resources to prevent DDoS threats.

During traffic investigation, it uncovers attempts at unauthorized access to the network.

A couple of network-based cyber threats that FWaaS can detect and block are man-in-the-middle attack, port scanning, and packet sniffing.

Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB)

CASB’s main specialties are detecting unauthorized users and keeping them far away from the data that is stored within cloud applications.

It’s suitable for businesses that use a lot of SaaS technology and want to know that access to them is managed. And that data available within those apps is kept safe from hackers.

Some of the vulnerabilities that CASB can help you catch early are:

CASB is important for companies that need to meet compliance or continually enforce security policies across the ever-growing cloud infrastructures.

To uncover the vulnerabilities within the cloud early, it’s continually monitoring the attack surface of the cloud.

To protect the data, it promotes strict authorization policies and makes sure that the data that is transferred from third-party applications to the network and vice versa are safe and encrypted.

Is Security Service Edge (SSE) the Right Solution For You?

Security Service Edge (SSE) provides the stack of cloud-based cybersecurity solutions to companies that aren’t yet ready to make a complete transfer to Secure Access Service Edge (SASE).

SASE demands major changes within the infrastructure, manpower, and extra training.

In the last couple of years, hybrid and remote work and the massive adoption of cloud infrastructure have urged companies to consider security beyond the network edge.

Operated from a single place, SSE facilitates security by providing you with insights into complete infrastructure. Also, it mitigates many threats right away.

Ultimately, it helps you find the gaps in the security early before they cause a major hacking incident such as a data breach.