by Michael Cooney

Cisco this week took the wraps off a security service edge (SSE) offering that aims to help enterprises securely connect growing edge resources, including cloud, private and SAAS applications.

Along with the SSE package, the vendor made two additional application security-related announcements at its Cisco Live! customer event. It unveiled Cisco Multicloud Defense, which is a new service designed to protect cloud service workloads, and it upgraded Panoptica, its cloud-native security application development software.

The SSE package, called Cisco Secure Access, features zero-trust network access (ZTNA), secure web gateway (SWG), cloud access security broker (CASB), firewall as a service (FWaaS), DNS security, remote browser isolation (RBI) and other security capabilities. It's designed to secure any application via any port or protocol, with optimized performance and continuous verification and granting of trust—all from a single, cloud-managed dashboard, wrote Jeff Scheaffer, vice president of product management for Cisco's SSE team, in a blog about the SSE offering. 

Gartner describes SSE services as including access control, threat protection, data security, security monitoring, and acceptable-use control enforced by network-based and API-based integration. SSE is primarily delivered as a cloud-based service, and it may include on-premises or agent-based components, the analyst firm says.

Cisco's SSE platform includes client-based and clientless browser–based access, granular user, and application-based access policy, SAML authentication, intrusion prevention, built-in identity provider, and contextual access control. It authenticates users through a secure, encrypted tunnel, allowing users to see only applications and services they have permission to access, according to Cisco.

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SSE will also be integrated with Cisco's ThousandEyes network intelligence software to help organizations pinpoint and resolve network performance issues quickly.

The SSE package is important particularly as users move applications to the cloud and adopt more edge networking architectures, said Neil Anderson, area vice president of cloud & infrastructure solutions at World Wide Technology (WWT), a Cisco partner and technology services provider.

"Cisco has been a little bit slow to be competitive in the SSE market, but we're excited about this new service because it starts with a cloud-first approach and advances API security and workload security in a way customers will find useful," Anderson said.

The SSE market includes players such as Palo Alto, Zscaler, Netskope and others.


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