SASE vs SSE: What is SSE?


By Arthur Fontanilla


SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) and SSE (Security Service Edge) are two similar sounding concepts that have quickly become staples of network security and connectivity. Both concepts are integral to modernizing network infrastructure, enhancing security, and ensuring seamless connectivity for distributed workforces. However, while they share some similarities, they serve different purposes and address distinct aspects of network security. This article explores the differences between SASE and SSE, helping organizations understand which approach might be best suited for their needs.

What is SASE?

Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) is a network architecture framework that integrates wide-area networking (WAN) with comprehensive network security functions. Coined by Gartner in 2019, SASE combines various network security technologies, including Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB), Firewall as a Service (FWaaS), Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), and Secure Web Gateway (SWG), into a single, cloud-delivered service model. The primary goal of SASE is to simplify network management, enhance security, and provide a consistent, high-quality user experience, regardless of location.

The key features of SASE include:

Integrated Security and Networking: SASE brings together networking and security services into one cohesive platform, reducing complexity and improving efficiency.

Cloud-Native Architecture: Delivered as a cloud service, SASE is scalable, flexible, and capable of accommodating the dynamic needs of modern organizations.

Zero Trust Model: Emphasizes strict identity verification and access controls, ensuring that every access request is authenticated and authorized.

What is SSE?

Security Service Edge (SSE) is a subset of SASE that focuses specifically on the security components of the framework. While SASE encompasses both networking and security, SSE hones in on delivering cloud-centric security services, omitting the networking aspect. This distinction makes SSE a more specialized solution for organizations looking to enhance their security posture without overhauling their network infrastructure.

The key features of SSE include:

Focused Security Services: SSE offers services like CASB, SWG, and ZTNA, providing robust protection against threats and ensuring secure access to applications and data.

Cloud-Centric Delivery: Like SASE, SSE is delivered via the cloud, making it flexible and scalable to meet the security needs of diverse and distributed environments.

Enhanced Threat Protection: SSE provides advanced threat detection and prevention, safeguarding users and data against a wide range of cyber threats.

SASE vs. SSE: Key Differences

While SASE and SSE share a common foundation in cloud-delivered security services, their differences lie in scope and application:

Scope of Services: SASE: Combines networking capabilities such as SD-WAN and security services into a unified framework. SSE: Focuses solely on delivering security services, excluding networking components.

Implementation Complexity: SASE: May require a more comprehensive overhaul of an organization’s existing network and security infrastructure. SSE: Can be implemented alongside existing network infrastructure, making it a less disruptive option for enhancing security.

Use Cases: SASE: Ideal for organizations seeking a holistic approach to networking and security, especially those with highly distributed workforces and extensive cloud adoption. SSE: Suitable for organizations looking to bolster their security measures without making significant changes to their network architecture.

Vendor Relationships: SASE: Often involves working with a single vendor that provides both networking and security services, simplifying management but potentially leading to vendor lock-in. SSE: Allows organizations to maintain existing networking solutions while integrating security services from specialized vendors.


Both SASE and SSE represent significant advancements in network security and connectivity, tailored to meet the demands of modern, cloud-centric organizations. SASE offers a comprehensive solution that integrates networking and security, ideal for those looking to streamline and enhance their entire IT infrastructure. On the other hand, SSE provides a targeted approach to security, suitable for organizations seeking to enhance their protective measures without a complete overhaul of their network.

Understanding the differences between SASE and SSE is crucial for making informed decisions about which approach aligns best with your organization’s specific needs and goals. Whether you opt for the holistic integration of SASE or the specialized security focus of SSE, both frameworks offer robust solutions for navigating the complexities of today’s digital landscape. As a managed service provider, Acuative provides the world’s leading companies with a complete range of advanced technology and managed services, enabling customers to utilize a single source provider for all of their network requirements, including SASE and SSE. For more information on SASE and SSE solutions, contact Acuative.