Transforming legacy architectures: Why SSE is the path to SASE

July 09, 2024 James Player 4 min


Older, more outdated security architectures are struggling to meet the demands of modern businesses, due to their rigid and fragmented nature. Security Service Edge (SSE) offers a flexible, cloud-based solution that addresses these challenges, paving the way for a full SASE integration.

Modern businesses rely heavily on optimized and secure access to applications and data across both on-premises and cloud environments. However, rigid security architectures composed of disjointed point solutions can’t adapt to new business needs or evolving threats. This inflexibility results in reduced business agility and heightened risk, which is exacerbated by a shortage of cybersecurity skills and the high cost of outsourced support.

Introduced by Gartner in 2019, Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) is the convergence of network and security, often through a single technology. Two years later, Gartner put forward another option: Security Service Edge — a convergence of numerous security features, without the integrated network capabilities.

Both options can transform legacy architectures into streamlined, future-ready environments, but organizations must decide which path they should take. Some opt to go all-in from the start, embracing full SASE solution, while others prioritize security first with SSE—which works with an existing network infrastructure—then gradually convert their existing framework into full SASE.

The 4 key barriers to digital transformation

Legacy architecture creates some significant challenges to digital transformation, including:

  1. Physical location dependency: Traditional networks are designed around physical corporate locations, so companies have to completely rework their network architectures to support modern demands for secure access to internal and cloud applications from anywhere.
  2. Centralized security bottlenecks: Centralized security models backhaul traffic through data center firewalls which slows down cloud access. As internet and cloud traffic grow, it becomes impractical to route all traffic through data centers. Direct secure internet access at every location and for every remote user is essential.
  3. Scalability issues: Older solutions simply can’t scale to support the hybrid workforce. Organizations need flexible and scalable security architecture to protect employees no matter where they work from, whether in the office, on the road or at home.
  4. Fragmented management: Disjointed security solutions lead to complex management. Consolidating security into a converged cloud architecture reduces the workload on IT teams, minimizes the risk of mistakes and ensures optimal security.

Why SSE is an ideal solution

SSE allows enterprises to shift from a rigid, disjointed IT architecture to a converged security platform delivered as a cloud service. It enables rapid adaptation to new business and security requirements, such as cloud migration and work-from-anywhere models.

With SSE, companies benefit from reduced costs and complexity, simplified management through a single interface, self-healing infrastructure and automatically evolving defenses against new threats. In addition, organizations gain the flexibility to manage their infrastructure independently or co-manage it with preferred partners.

SSE use cases and benefits

SSE offers a variety of use cases and benefits that support organizations’ digital transformation journeys, including:

  1. Scalable hybrid network: SSE eliminates the costs and complexity associated with point solutions and appliances and gives users secure, optimized access to applications, regardless of location, using Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) clients.
  2. Gradual cloud migration: SSE connects physical and cloud data centers to end users, optimizing access to public cloud apps. It also eliminates the need for premium cloud connectivity solutions like AWS DirectConnect and Microsoft ExpressRoute.
  3. Secure sensitive data: With Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) and Data Loss Prevention (DLP), SSE offers full visibility and control of sensitive data, enforcing granular policies on data access and sharing across all devices.
  4. Instant deployment: Organizations can rapidly deploy SSE capabilities without complex integration or multiple management consoles, reducing costs and simplifying management.
  5. Future-proof security: SSE is self-maintaining, evolving and healing. Managed service providers handle the upkeep, ensuring optimal security against emerging threats while reducing management overhead.

The path to full SASE

SSE makes it simple for organizations to transform their security while leveraging their existing WAN edge appliances for connectivity. This convergence significantly reduces costs, complexity and management overhead while improving resiliency and visibility.

As they progress in their digital transformation journeys, the natural next step is a transition to a full, single-vendor SASE solution, which includes deploying SD-WAN and consolidating networking capabilities into the SASE cloud.

Research shows by 2025, 80% of enterprises implementing SSE will do so through a consolidated solution offered by a managed services provider like Windstream, rather than using separate, stand-alone services. Windstream’s SSE solution seamlessly integrates next-gen security capabilities with your existing network environment for maximum protection with minimal disruptions.

By embracing SSE, businesses can future-proof their IT infrastructures, ensuring they remain agile, secure and ready to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

Learn about SASE from Windstream Enterprise

Key Takeaway
SSE enables businesses to transition from outdated security models to a converged, scalable and cost-effective security platform. This transformation enhances business agility, improves security and simplifies management, ensuring organizations are well-equipped to handle evolving threats and operational demands, while paving the way to full SASE.

Choosing an SSE provider? Here are 7 factors to consider.