Modern business security: The power of unified cloud protection

By J2 Software CEO John Mc Loughlin.

Johannesburg, 25 Jan 2024
John Mc Loughlin, CEO, J2 Software.
John Mc Loughlin, CEO, J2 Software.

Security service edge (SSE) is poised to play a pivotal role in modern businesses by enhancing security, ensuring secure access to cloud services, improving network performance, optimising bandwidth utilisation and enabling cost efficiency and scalability.

It brings security closer to users and applications, allowing proactive threat detection, real-time monitoring and rapid response to potential security incidents. Businesses need more than just security; they need a holistic approach to network performance and protection. The integration of SSE, alongside other existing solutions, will help them achieve this.

Cyber security has become a top priority for businesses as they integrate remote work into their daily operations and rely on cloud-based services. The ever-evolving tactics of cyber criminals demand the adoption of novel techniques and technologies to counter emerging threats.

The landscape

The cyber security landscape has witnessed a convergence of various attack types and motivations. Acts of sabotage, espionage and hacktivism have become more prevalent, making it clear that the need for robust cyber security measures is greater than ever.

In a survey conducted by PwC, nearly half of the CEOs expressed their intent to increase investments in cyber security and data privacy for their respective companies. A significant portion of these investments is likely allocated to advanced cyber security frameworks designed to combat the escalating threats posed by data breaches, malware, ransomware and other security challenges.

The rise of SSE

At the forefront of this battle is SSE. According to Gartner, by 2025, approximately 80% of enterprises are projected to adopt a strategy that unifies web, cloud services and private application access through a single vendor's SSE platform.

SSE consolidates multiple cyber security capabilities within a single cloud-native software stack, protecting enterprises and their networks against anomalies, threats and sensitive data breaches resulting from phishing, malware, ransomware, data theft and other unwanted access attempts to locations, applications and resources.

SSE is a concept aimed at providing improved protection and network performance for organisations relying on cloud-based services and virtual networking. It offers a holistic approach to security and networking, focusing on network edge security. It streamlines infrastructure, enhances efficiency and brings security services closer to users and applications, reducing latency and improving the user experience.

SSE comprises several components that set it apart from other network security approaches:

  • Network transformation (SDN): SSE involves a shift towards cloud-based services and virtualisation, replacing traditional hardware-centric networks with software-defined networks (SDN) that provide flexibility and agility.
  • Security integration: SSE incorporates security functions into the network edge, eliminating the need for separate security appliances at multiple locations. This consolidation simplifies architecture, reduces costs and bolsters security.
  • Service optimisation: SSE places emphasis on enhancing network performance and user experience by bringing security services closer to the network edge, reducing latency and improving responsiveness.
  • Zero trust network access (ZTNA): SSE can implement ZTNA principles, enforcing strict access controls, user identity verification and device health checks to secure network resources at the edge.
  • Cloud secure web gateway (SWG): Integration of a cloud secure web gateway enhances web security, incorporating features such as web filtering, data loss prevention and malware detection to protect users accessing resources via the network edge.
  • Cloud access security broker (CASB): CASB integration within SSE provides visibility and control over cloud services and applications, offering user authentication, access control policies, data encryption and monitoring of cloud service usage at the network edge.
  • Firewall as a service (FWaaS): FWaaS can be integrated into SSE as a vital security component, monitoring and controlling network traffic with features such as network segmentation, traffic inspection, intrusion prevention and threat detection.

The importance of SSE

SSE brings security closer to users and applications, enabling proactive threat detection, real-time monitoring and rapid response to potential security incidents. It also ensures secure access to cloud services, a critical requirement for modern business operations. The benefits of SSE include:

  • Enhanced security posture: SSE implements proactive security measures to protect against advanced threats, with real-time threat detection, encryption and data loss prevention.
  • Secure access to cloud services: It ensures secure connectivity and seamless access to cloud services, establishing secure tunnels, authenticating users and applying security policies to safeguard data.
  • Improved network performance: SSE minimises latency by bringing security closer to the network edge, resulting in faster and more reliable network performance, particularly for latency-sensitive applications.
  • Bandwidth optimisation: SSE optimises bandwidth utilisation by managing traffic intelligently, ensuring that critical applications receive the necessary resources.
  • Cost efficiency and scalability: SSE streamlines network architecture, reducing the need for separate security appliances at every location. It offers scalability to adapt to changing business needs.
  • Flexible scaling: It allows organisations to adapt their network and security infrastructure efficiently as per evolving requirements.

SSE versus SASE

SSE and secure access service edge (SASE) are occasionally confused, but they serve different scopes. SASE is a broader framework that encompasses SSE, combining networking and security services in a cloud-native architecture.

SASE offers a comprehensive approach to network and security, ensuring secure access to resources regardless of the user's location. Components of SASE include network and security integration, identity-centric access and a zero-trust architecture.

While SSE and SASE have distinct scopes, they can synergise. SSE can be integrated into a broader SASE framework to enhance network edge security and provide localised security services, enabling organisations to establish a comprehensive security posture across their network.

The future

By considering SSE and its potential integration into a broader SASE architecture, businesses can strengthen their security posture and optimise their network infrastructure. SSE is not just about security; it's about a holistic approach to network performance and protection, and we believe that the integration of SSE, alongside existing solutions, will help businesses achieve this.


J2 Software

J2 Software is a cyber security focused technology business founded in 2006 to address the need for effective cybersecurity, governance, risk and compliance solutions that are practical and purpose built.

The continued rise of cybercrime, identity theft and confidential data leakage drives the requirement for J2 Software’s managed cyber security service offerings, not only for competitive advantage, but as an absolute business necessity. The company offers managed cyber security services for every business. We ensure that you have greater visibility to identify risky behaviour and enhance the capability to respond to prevent losses.

J2 Software delivers essential tools that empower organisations to take control of their technology spend. The company's hand-picked solutions are combined with our services to provide complete visibility over its customers' environment, while reducing risk and lowering costs.

J2 Software is helping improve the cyber resilience of our customers and provide services to more than 350 customers on 4 continents.

Editorial contacts

John Mc Loughlin
J2 Software
(021) 461 1223