The concept of access and how business information is consumed across the enterprise environment is evolving fast. With the proliferation of cloud computing, complexity of devices and dynamic workloads, and the integration of the operation environments, the perception around information security while ensuring seamless access must also reciprocate.
The progressive digital threat landscape has compelled a tectonic shift in cyber defense. We are witnessing the mainstreaming of never trust, always verify, also referred to as a Zero Trust approach built on eliminating implicit trust and privileges from the access equation to limit malicious intents. However, with more and more data residing beyond institutional boundaries, complete visibility of the networked assets and the transient end-user pool is critical to ensuring a Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA).
This is where Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) brings respite by balancing information access quality with non-negotiable cyber defense principles through the convergence of a series of network security protocols into a single platform. It runs on a cloud-backed delivery model and evaluates risks, compliance positions, and privilege rules in real time to provide conditional access to information consumers.
With Gartner predicting at least 40% SASE adoption among enterprises by 2024, Eric Taylor, Chief Technology Officer for Digital Security Services at Atos, examines how businesses can underscore their cybersecurity posture by embedding Zero Trust and SASE into their enterprise vision.
Reimagine information access
Businesses can start by acknowledging that today’s in-house security best practices are fast giving way to delegated strategies involving managed security experts who possess specialized skillsets and vast experience. From being firewall-driven, access management is now device agnostic and dynamic rules-based. That’s because as IoT and edge expand, network security will have to continuously deal with evolving threats like unverified device access into enterprise networks, blurring the IT and OT boundaries.
In response, businesses can opt for SASE digital partners for addressing the new age access and infosec issues. Taylor says: “The attribution of least privilege per request access decision, the basic premise of the Zero Trust approach can be easily implemented on-demand by the SASE partners allowing businesses to reimagine their security strategies.”
Understand SASE for optimum ROI
However, businesses should be introspect on their goals and align them with the capabilities that specific SASE partners bring to the table. Taylor believes that total security is a myth, so the performance of the Zero Trust imperatives will be determined predominantly by the quality of implementation. Indeed, for best outcomes, a deep understanding of the threat vectors needs to be coupled with a robust strategy featuring overlapping layers of SASE and conventional security measures. It is possible with SASE as it provides a wide array of technologies and the flexibility to choose.
However, even amid the COVID-19 induced disruptions, Taylor advises against joining the SASE implementation bandwagon. He highlights proper due diligence and an overarching need for employee education as pivotal to the success of SASE-backed cybersecurity.
Weave Zero Trust into the company culture
SASE-backed Zero Trust strategies should prioritize simplifying access for ease of use. Taylor says that COVID-19 has highlighted the tenacity of the synergy and coherence of corporate cultures across enterprises. “The companies with more efficient communication and training mechanisms for their staff can scale by rapidly implementing changes and driving a workforce-wide adoption,” he says.
Now, this must be built upon by a permeable data security culture that provides access on a strictly need-to-know basis, yet that discards rigidity to empathize with innovation, deliver optimized user experiences, and steer seamless integrations across information ecosystems.
That’s because as data volumes escalate, rigidity in access rules can be counterproductive for hyper-connected environments like modern factory floors that generate terabytes of structured and unstructured data daily. Here, experienced digital partners capable of designing intelligent access control with the overlapping usage of SASE and other security methodologies can render the information landscape agile and sustain the pace of innovation.
Build the SASE transition roadmap
Businesses need to reflect on their data security policies, as well as stakeholder roles and privileges in the context of their access requirements. Taylor believes that rather than going into networking details, it is crucial to inspect the business aspects of a company’s cybersecurity structure to frame the SASE transition roadmap and ensure optimum outcomes. COVID-19 has delivered the required impetus for companies to consider cybersecurity from an ecosystem-wide standpoint.
While dynamic management of security rules and access privileges is not a new concept, the emergence of SASE is expected to resolve long-standing challenges on profitably enforcing the Zero Trust imperative. As cybersecurity assumes global relevance and contextuality, SASE becomes a prerequisite for defending fundamental enterprise interest in a mobile-first world of ubiquitous connectivity and ever-evolving threat vectors.
To learn more about digital enterprise security, its rising concerns and solutions, visit Atos Cybersecurity.