A lot has been said about the importance of a business being agile. Business agility is crucial as the ability to adapt to your environment in real time may result in a competitive advantage. This is not only true in regards to a business being able to adapt the technology it utilises in accordance to its changing environment, but also in regards to the technology in itself. The frameworks, methodologies, practices and strategies that encompass our technological approach must also be agile in order to produce truly adapted technology.
Once upon a time, security practices used a single perimeter to secure an entire IT environment within a single network. The shortcomings of perimeter security are in that it works off the assumption that what is already within a network is safe whereas threats can only emanate externally. Password protected perimeters allow access to an entire network with permissions managed internally within the network.
With the benefit of hindsight, this may seem alarming, however, the perimeter-centric approach has been sufficient over the years as the perimeter of the corporate network was defined by the walls of corporate buildings. Times have changed with a growing work-from-anywhere culture and the proliferation of IOT devices. Now, business takes place in a geographically distributed environment of workers, vendors, partners, and customers.
The agility of businesses has been robustly tested over the last two years, accelerating the development and deployment of new and existing(re-imagined) practices, methodologies and technologies to meet the demands of a continually changing environment.
As mentioned, IT security infrastructure used to be about building a single perimeter around all devices or nodes of a network. Cybersecurity mesh seeks to move away from the perimeter-centric approach choosing to rather centre around individual identities of humans, machines and access points on the network. Cybersecurity mesh creates individual perimeters around each access point including elements such as dedicated firewalls for each perimeter.
This allows us to drill down and track the access levels of specific nodes, ensuring that the weaknesses of specific nodes will not go unnoticed. This has resulted in substantially diminishing the opportunities hackers have to exploit the vulnerabilities of individual nodes to access the broader network.
The security of each access point can now be effectively managed from a centralised point, centralising security policies while ensuring enforcement is more distributed. Zero-trust has understandably grown in adoption almost as much as the expansion of the hybrid corporate network itself. Cybersecurity mesh is a pillar of the Zero-trust network approach whereby any device is by default not trusted to access the broader network. This is a legitimate breakthrough given that a significant amount of data leaks and breaches originate on the inside of the network itself. Building perimeters around individual nodes results in greater security as a hacker having access to one node does not guarantee them access to the broader network. All devices are treated with equal scrutiny across the network. Achieving a Zero-Trust architecture does not have a one size fits all approach but cybersecurity partners like Okta who were named in Gartner’s® 2021 Magic Quadrant™ can efficiently facilitate the process.
Cybersecurity mesh has even brought about a change in implementation methodologies as development teams now have to consider cybersecurity much earlier in the development of the architectural design. This is because cybersecurity now has to be built “into” the architecture rather than “around” it. This creates a modular and more responsive security architecture covering physically disparate access points of the network and naturally, this is a more exhaustive approach that must be given adequate time. The end-result is well worth it by ensuring that only authorised individuals have access to information no matter where the information is located on the network. Security threats such as Service Impersonation, Unauthorised Access, Packet Sniffing and Data Exfiltration can now be combated more effectively.
Agility is not only a matter of competitive advantage, but in today’s world, it is a matter of survival. Things never remain the same for long. Organisations are continually adopting
cutting-edge technologies to support work-from-anywhere trends, migrating data, services, and apps to the cloud and investing in connected IoT and mobile devices. Cybersecurity mesh is the best approach to ensure the security of your networks and digital assets. A single centralised platform like Safe-T’s Zone Zero is the ideal starting point for creating an agile architecture. Welcome to the survival of the agile.
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