In its recent GigaOm Radar report, the technology analyst firm highlights the huge impact it expects Secure Service Access (SSA) to have on the way organizations handle network security. While the idea of “perimeterless” security is no longer new, the integrated, cloud-native approach of SSA is truly revolutionary in the extent to which it makes security delivery ubiquitous, user-centric, and agnostic to network architecture and user location and/or device.
Designed to help organizations assess competing solutions and cut through the hype, the report draws a sharp distinction between legacy security solutions that have been repackaged as SSA and those that offer truly interoperable native SSA.
What a SSA Solution Should Include
According to GigaOm, the basic characteristics and capabilities of a Secure Service Access solution include:
- Convergence of networking and security in a single, cloud-delivered platform
- Service that is independent of user location
- Policy enforcement based on the user identity and behavior
- Policy enforcement at multiple data touchpoints and layers
- Software-defined architecture that operates across globally available cloud infrastructure
Applying these elements as inclusion criteria significantly narrowed the field of offerings that GigaOm considered relevant for coverage in their report. Once the field was narrowed, the remaining solutions were assessed based on the following factors:
Maturity/Innovation: The degree to which the solution has been proven in a production setting.
Performance: In addition to a point-in-time maturity assessment, the report indicates how quickly solutions are accelerating toward market leadership, as indicated by customer adoption and execution against their roadmap and vision.
Feature/Platform: Solutions deemed to be platform plays are fully integrated at the functional level. Because integration is difficult to achieve post-hoc, most platform-play solutions were conceived and designed as SSA solutions from the very start. Feature-play solutions have all or most SSA capabilities, but are not as well integrated.
GigaOm on the Ericom Software ZTEdge SSA Platform
GigaOm was bullish on ZTEdge, a result that is particularly significant given that the platform is a new entrant which was not covered in their previous SSA reports.
The report characterized ZTEdge as one of the most highly innovative of the solutions evaluated, naming Ericom as a SSA vendor to watch in the future.
Of the 16 SSA vendors classified as “new entrants” or “challengers”, Ericom was one of just two that has outperformed the industry in customer adoption and in execution against its roadmap and vision. As a fast mover, ZTEdge is in good company: Zscaler and Cato Networks, which GigaOm considers to be the market leaders, were the only other vendors whose SSA platforms outperformed the industry as a whole.
As an all-in-one solution built from the ground up as a functionally integrated solution that converges networking and security in the cloud, ZTEdge is a pure platform player in the SSA space. GigaOm cites the platform’s modern cloud architectures and technologies and private cloud backbone, which runs on public cloud services of tier-1 infrastructure partners, as enabling resilient, high-performance delivery of security services for large enterprises and small businesses, as well as managed service providers (MSPs).
Among the capabilities provided by Ericom’s ZTEdge platform, GigaOm highlighted the solution’s dynamic segmentation, unified threat management and high level of integration. They also gave ZTEdge high marks for its ease of use, affordability and flexibility to be provided as a service (SSAaaS.)
In terms of functionality, the GigaOM report noted that identity and access management (IAM) and multi-factor authentication (MFA) are included in ZTEdge, as well as a robust policy generation engine. They also highlighted ZTEdge’s Web Application Isolation capability as a clientless isolation-based solution that secures access to enterprise applications from unmanaged devices.
Finally, the report gave high marks to ZTEdge Zero Trust Network Access and isolation-based Secure Web Gateway.
Recommendations for SSA Customers
GigaOm recommends adopting SSA as a flexible way to integrate security and networking with a single platform that replaces multiple security products. However, they strongly warn organizations to be wary of so-called SSA platforms that are, in fact, standalone legacy products that have been repackaged as integrated solutions. For this reason, they recommend that organizations should not simply opt for their incumbent vendor’s SSA offering, but rather explore multiple options.
The availability of internal resources is, of course, also a key consideration for organizations when choosing a platform. While some may be able to deploy, integrate and manage best-of-breed products in-house, for many organizations, a single-vendor platform aligns better with resource availability (or lack thereof). Simpler yet, small and mid-size organizations in particular might opt for managed SSAaaS, with availability and security SLAs.
For a free copy of the GigaOM Radar for Secure Service Access Report, click here. If you’d like to learn more about how a Secure Service Access platform can both enhance and simplify secure networking for your organization please contact us for a quick ZTEdge demo.