Security Service Edge (SSE) vs Secure Web Gateway (SWG)

Corporate networks are rapidly growing more complex and distributed. Widespread adoption of cloud computing and remote work has resulted in a growing percentage of corporate IT assets being located off-site. As a result, the corporate network perimeter, which used to encapsulate most of an organization’s IT systems, is rapidly dissolving.

This dissolution of the network perimeter has significant impacts for network security. Historically, many organizations deployed security assets at the network boundary, inspecting all traffic that entered and left the network. As corporate networks grow more distributed, companies require security solutions that are capable of protecting their employees and applications against cyber threats regardless of where they are located.

Two solutions to consider are Security Service Edge (SSE) and Secure Web Gateway (SWG).

Learn More GigaOm’s Radar for SSA

What is Security Service Edge (SSE)?

The growth of remote work and the expansion of corporate networks have dramatically expanded the responsibilities of security teams. Often, corporate security operations centers (SOCs) monitor a range of security solutions across on-prem and cloud infrastructure. The resulting complexity of this distributed security architecture introduces blind spots, slowing threat detection and response.

Security Service Edge (SSE) simplifies network security by integrating a range of network security functions in a single, cloud-based solution. An SSE solution commonly includes the following capabilities:

This collection of features enables a security team to centrally monitor and manage their network security architecture within a single solution. Additionally, SSE’s cloud-based deployment allows more efficient routing of traffic over the corporate WAN as traffic does not need to detour through the corporate data for inspection by an on-prem security stack.

SSE’s primary use case is for simplifying and scaling network security for the expanding corporate network. As companies increasingly move to the cloud, support remote work, and deploy Internet of Things (IoT) devices, corporate networks grow more complex, and the traditional network perimeter expands. SSE allows companies to deploy security where their users and endpoints are located.

What is a Secure Web Gateway (SWG)?

Employees face significant risks when browsing online. Phishing pages can steal login credentials and other sensitive information. Other pages may serve malicious advertisements or have malware for download.

A secure web gateway (SWG) is designed to protect employees from threats on the web and to enforce corporate security and acceptable use policies. An SWG can inspect traffic to and from websites to identify and block malicious content in web pages or attempts to visit sites that violate corporate policy.

An SWG is a useful tool for protecting an organization’s workforce from threats on the web. SWGs can be deployed either on-prem or in the cloud to secure and filter employees’ web traffic before it is sent on to the public Internet.

SSE vs SWG

SSE and SWG are both network security solutions designed to protect an organization’s systems and users against cyber threats. These tools are designed to be complementary, providing robust protection against a range of threats.

In fact, SWG is one of the solutions commonly integrated into an SSE solution. The goal of SSE is to provide a consolidated network security architecture in a single solution. Web security is a core component of a network security stack, and an SWG is designed to implement and enforce an organization’s web security policies.

Choosing the Right SSE Solution

SSE is a network security solution designed for the modern enterprise network. A fully integrated network security stack deployed in the cloud has the ability to protect an organization’s increasingly distributed assets.

However, as with any new technology, it can be difficult to determine which solution is the right one for an organization’s business case. For example, one important choice is between SSE and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE). While SSE integrates a full security stack, SASE goes a step further, adding networking solutions such as SD-WAN, routing, and Network as a Service (NaaS).

Designing a network security architecture for the modern, distributed enterprise requires a clear understanding of the available technologies and their relative advantages and disadvantages. A good starting point is the ESG Analyst Guide to SASE, which provides information on what you need to know before starting a search for a SASE solution.

SSE Deployment with Harmony Connect

Check Point Harmony Connect is a fully cloud-based SSE solution that integrates a range of security functions, including SWG, Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), SaaS Security, and FWaaS. These features allow Harmony Connect to offer enterprise-grade security for all of an organization’s devices, whether on-prem, in the cloud, or remote. Learn more about implementing SSE to secure your organization’s corporate WAN by signing up for a free demo of Check Point Harmony Connect today.

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