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Key Criteria for Evaluating Secure Service Access (SSA) Solutionsv3.0

An Evaluation Guide for Technology Decision-Makers

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Secure Service Access Primer
  3. Report Methodology
  4. Decision Criteria Analysis
  5. Evaluation Metrics
  6. Specific Security and AAS Capabilities
  7. Key Criteria: Impact Analysis
  8. Analyst’s Take
  9. About Ivan McPhee

1. Summary

Secure service access (SSA) represents a significant shift in the way organizations consume network security, enabling them to replace multiple security products with a single, integrated platform offering full interoperability and end-to-end redundancy. Moreover, as vendors pivot to address the rapid shift to remote working brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic—including the demand for new security models—the expanded attack surface is driving demand for new capabilities affecting the solution landscape.

With the IT security arena flooded with acronyms, SSA encompasses many of the security models being promoted by analysts and vendors, including secure access service edge (SASE), security service edge (SSE), zero-trust network access (ZTNA), and extended detection and response (XDR). While some analysts have backtracked regarding which components are included in their model, SSA comprises a comprehensive suite of capabilities required to secure the enterprise. Shifting the focus of security consumption from either data center or edge-centric to ubiquitous and user-centric, cloud-native SSA solutions meet each organization’s unique needs irrespective of network architecture, cloud infrastructure, user location, or device.

Moreover, the approach taken to meet those needs varies significantly from one vendor to another. While some vendors offer a single, fully integrated platform—comprising a common policy engine, shared data lake, a standard set of APIs, an intuitive user interface, and a single client (if required)—built from the ground up and offering full interoperability and end-to-end redundancy, others are repackaging existing point products—or acquiring technologies to fill the gaps—or developing a standard UI and going to market with an SSA solution. In addition, many vendors are incorporating framework acronyms into their product names, thereby limiting solution features and functionality or creating further confusion as additional capabilities are added and new frameworks emerge.

The GigaOm Key Criteria and Radar reports provide an overview of the SSA market and highlight solutions that excel. This Key Criteria report identifies capabilities (table stakes, key criteria, and emerging technologies) and non-functional requirements (evaluation metrics) for selecting an SSA solution. The corresponding Radar report provides an overview of SSA vendors and their capabilities. Together, these reports offer essential insights for end-to-end security initiatives, helping decision-makers evaluate solutions before deciding where to invest.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding, consider reviewing the following reports:

Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.