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Understanding SASE and SSE | What’s the difference?

Written by Daniel Raanan, Senior Solution Architect, Xalient

In the rapidly evolving realm of network security, staying abreast of the latest technologies is crucial to safeguarding your organization’s data and infrastructure. Two prominent solutions that have garnered attention in recent times are Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) and Secure Service Edge (SSE). In this blog post, we’ll delve into the nuances of these two concepts, helping you make informed decisions about your network security strategy.

Understanding SASE (Secure Access Service Edge):

SASE is a revolutionary approach to network security that seamlessly integrates wide-area networking (WAN) capabilities with comprehensive security services. The core idea behind SASE is to provide secure and scalable access to applications and data, regardless of the user’s location. SASE combines network security functions with WAN capabilities, delivering a unified, cloud-native architecture. By leveraging the power of the cloud, SASE ensures consistent and reliable security for all users, regardless of their location.

Key Features of SASE:

Zero Trust Architecture: SASE operates on the principle of zero trust, ensuring that no user or device is automatically trusted, even if they are within the corporate network. SASE does this by defining security policy against any device connecting to the network, anywhere in the world.

Cloud-native Design: SASE leverages cloud infrastructure to deliver security services, making it highly scalable and adaptable to the dynamic nature of today’s business environments. This cloud-native design simplifies deployment and management while providing a consistent user experience.

Unified Operating Model: SASE aims to bring network and security services into a single product, unified the operating experience. This simplified design, management and support of the network and security and reduces the time to restore incidents.

Understanding SSE (Secure Service Edge):

Secure Service Edge (SSE) is a subset of capability within SASE, that focusses specifically on the security capabilities without providing the Unified Network and Security capabilities. Commonly SSE solutions integrate with leading network service providers to build a comprehensive solution. Commonly SSE solutions offer internet security services and Zero Trust Remote Access.

Key Features of SSE:

Multi-Vendor Ecosystem: SSE allows customers to select different products for Security and Networking that best fit their requirements, timescales and commercial considerations.

Borderless Security: SSE solutions allow businesses to operated in a secure borderless environment, providing internet and remote access to their users, partners and mobile devices regardless of where they are.

Granular Access Controls: SSE offers granular access controls, allowing organizations to define specific security policies for each service. This level of customization ensures that security measures align with the unique needs and risks associated with different services.

Choosing Between SASE and SSE:

The decision between SASE and SSE ultimately depends on your organization’s specific requirements and priorities. If your organisation is looking to simplify their operating model and move to a cloud native network and security stack, then SASE may be the right choice. Whereas SSE de-couples the network and security to enable your organisation to select best in class solutions for both your network and security services.


In the ever-evolving landscape of network security, understanding the distinctions between SASE and SSE is crucial for making informed decisions that align with your organization’s goals. Whether you opt for the user-centric approach of SASE or the service-centric strategy of SSE, both paradigms represent significant advancements in the quest for robust and adaptable network security solutions.


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Mark Foulsham

Board Advisor, NED, COO/CIO, Fractional Support, Digital Leadership Coach

With a broad background as a COO/CIO/CDO, C-Suite Advisor, NED, Senior Transformation Leader and Coach, Mark tackles multiple fronts from the advantage of diverse experience in business operations, technology, procurement, delivery and risk. With a deep knowledge of business models from multiple sectors and extensive experience in fast-paced digital start-ups.

Mark’s work across extensive business types, functions and countries empowers him with experience to bear across silos. Mark has built a reputation for advocating cross-business collaboration, taking a pragmatic approach and championing transformative change.