A cyber war is raging all around us, with increasingly capable warriors on both sides of the battlefront. On the attack are cybercriminals, malware, and all those who threaten both sensitive data and our digital lives.
Defending against threats and attacks are cyberwarriors who are tasked with preserving the sanctity of intellectual property, privacy, and productivity. Each side has unique advantages, leveraging time, tools, and tactics across networks, devices, applications, services, and data. But which side can sustain overmatch — especially as attacks are increasingly and specifically targeting data? And how can the defenders evolve their capabilities beyond the constraints of organizational and technological silos that segregate the protection of applications, data, devices, services and networks?
Network security has a deep history in perimeter-based defenses. Look for the familiar and require credentials for access. Look for the unfamiliar and scour for known patterns of malicious intent. Those who are trusted pass, those who are not trusted are denied. Once inside, very little is inspected, as communications and transactions are happening at other layers. And attackers who can bypass or sneak past perimeter defenses and malicious insiders can operate undetected for extended periods of time.
In the never-ending quest to secure the network, many a defender has paused in the middle of battle and questioned the effectiveness of their efforts. News of successful attacks that bypass network defenses abound, whether they leverage a new threat vector, directly target a product vulnerability, deliver encrypted payloads that sneak past defenses, encrypt data with ransomware, or mount a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack directly on the applications. And let’s not forget that trusted insiders are also challenging network security by bringing in their own unmanaged devices, leveraging their own apps and services while utilizing sensitive enterprise data, and going directly to the cloud for their computing needs while bypassing enterprise network defenses.
Never before have applications and data been more critical to business operations, or more at risk for theft, exposure, and corruption.
To counter evolving threats and bolster the effectiveness of network security, it’s clear that a new security framework is needed to protect secure digital workspaces.
The modern security framework is centered around the concept of Zero Trust. A Zero Trust network abolishes the idea of a trusted network inside the corporate perimeter. The concept of “trust” evolves from only allowing trusted corporate devices on the network to dynamically answering the access question of “What can this device be trusted to access in this situation?” Contextual access results in continuous inspection and successive authentication as risks and access sensitivity escalate. A blended defense integrates access governance, end-to-end encryption, cloud security, as well as application and data-specific perimeters to make access specific to purpose.
I’ve continued this conversation with SC Magazine editor Illena Armstrong. Listen to our 30 minute webcast, which focuses on leveraging application networking to gain continuous advantages in defense.