GigaOm Key Criteria for Evaluating Security Service Edge (SSE) Solutionsv1.0

An Evaluation Guide for Technology Decision-Makers

Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. SSE Sector Brief
  3. Decision Criteria Analysis
  4. Analyst’s Outlook
  5. About Ivan McPhee

1. Executive Summary

Security service edge (SSE) is a cloud-centric, converged solution that combines multiple cloud-native security services, including cloud access security broker (CASB), firewall as a service (FWaaS), secure web gateway (SWG), zero-trust network access (ZTNA), and centralized management for policy administration and monitoring. SSE is an evolution of the secure access service edge (SASE) concept, focusing specifically on the security aspects of the framework.

SSE provides consistent and comprehensive security coverage for an organization’s distributed IT assets and hybrid workforce. As more applications, data, and users shift to the cloud, traditional network security models focused on the data center perimeter become ineffective. SSE addresses the challenge by moving security controls closer to the user and workload, providing identity-based secure access regardless of location. Furthermore, a unified management console for policy administration, orchestration, and monitoring of security services across the entire digital landscape offers stronger security, greater scalability, and easier management in a more efficient operational package and cost model than traditional on-premises security.

Driven by the need to improve security, cut costs, and simplify management, organizations find that some of the main drivers propelling SSE adoption specifically include digital transformation initiatives, cloud migration, remote work, and an increasingly hostile threat landscape. Moreover, the adoption of SSE solutions is accelerating as enterprises gravitate toward modern, unified platforms and away from siloed point solutions, enabling the retirement of complex legacy security stacks in favor of an integrated cloud platform offering an enhanced end-user experience with consistent security, reduced latency, and increased flexibility.

SSE represents a significant shift in the way organizations approach security, moving away from traditional perimeter-based models with on-premises security appliances to a more integrated, cloud-centric approach. Moreover, as the digital landscape evolves, so too will the capabilities and applications of SSE. Already, we’re seeing the introduction of extended SSE for securing workloads, B2B interactions, and internet of things (IoT)/operational technology (OT) devices—not just users. As cloud adoption continues, SSE will alleviate the role of traditional security architectures backhauling traffic through the data center, providing a more efficient approach to managing digital ecosystem exposures.

Business Imperative
Deploying an SSE solution offers several compelling benefits. First, it provides a unified, cloud-centric platform that enables organizations to enforce consistent security policies, monitor user activities, and mitigate threats across their entire ecosystem, reducing risk and enhancing the security of remote workers. Second, SSE solutions offer improved performance and lower latency, which can significantly enhance the user experience, especially for mobile and remote workers, eliminating the need for slow virtual private networks (VPNs) and ensuring fast, seamless access to applications in public and private clouds. Lastly, by consolidating key security services, SSE can reduce operational complexities and costs, making it a cost-effective solution for modern organizations.

Sector Adoption Score
To help executives and decision-makers assess the potential impact and value of an SSE solution deployment to the business, this GigaOm Key Criteria report provides a structured assessment of the sector across five factors: benefit, maturity, urgency, impact, and effort. By scoring each factor based on how strongly it compels or deters adoption of an SSE solution, we provide an overall Sector Adoption Score (Figure 1) of 4.4 out of 5, with 5 indicating the strongest possible recommendation to adopt. This indicates that an SSE solution is a credible candidate for deployment and worthy of thoughtful consideration.

The factors contributing to the Sector Adoption Score for SSE are explained in more detail in the Sector Brief section that follows.

Key Criteria for Evaluating SSE Solutions

Sector Adoption Score







Figure 1. Sector Adoption Score for SSE

This is the first year that GigaOm has reported on the SSE space in the context of our Key Criteria and Radar reports. This GigaOm Key Criteria report highlights the capabilities (table stakes, key features, and emerging features) and nonfunctional requirements (business criteria) for selecting an effective SSE solution. The companion GigaOm Radar report identifies vendors and products that excel in those decision criteria. Together, these reports provide an overview of the market, identify leading SSE offerings, and help decision-makers evaluate these solutions so they can make a more informed investment decision.


The GigaOm Key Criteria report provides a detailed decision framework for IT and executive leadership assessing enterprise technologies. Each report defines relevant functional and nonfunctional aspects of solutions in a sector. The Key Criteria report informs the GigaOm Radar report, which provides a forward-looking assessment of vendor solutions in the sector.

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