The infamous Botnet data leak that took place recently exposed a total of 26 million passwords, with 1.5 million Facebook passwords among leaked data. In another cyber-attack incident, the largest fuel pipeline in the U.S. Colonial Pipeline Co. was hit by ransomware. Hackers gained entry into its networks with the help of a compromised password and caused shortages across the East Coast.
Incidents of cyberattacks continue to jeopardize data security. With remote work becoming the norm during the pandemic, threat actors have an expanded vulnerable surface to target. TechRepublic predicts more ransomware attacks and data breaches as threat actors continue to explore new vulnerabilities.
Not surprisingly, then, enterprises are now focusing on strengthening cybersecurity. A Gartner survey reports: “With the opening of new attack surfaces due to the shift to remote work, cybersecurity spending continues to increase. 61% of respondents are increasing investment in cyber/information security, followed closely by business intelligence and data analytics (58%) and cloud services and solutions (53%).”
In response to these infrastructure attacks in recent times, President Biden’s administration enacted a cybersecurity executive order wherein the federal government will partner with the private sector to secure cyberspace and address the many concerns through its far-reaching provisions.
The rise in digital interactions and remote work arrangements has compelled enterprises to find a way to curtail cyber attacks. Besides, cloud-based ransomware attacks have put them in a pickle as the shift to the cloud had accelerated during the pandemic. Amidst these vulnerabilities and circumstances, cybersecurity mesh has emerged as a viable solution to circumvent cyber threats and secure digital assets everywhere.
Let’s delve deeper to know what it’s all about and how it’s changing the IT security paradigm across the globe.
Why adopt cybersecurity mesh?
A 600% uptick in sophisticated phishing email schemes since the pandemic began shows how vulnerable our IT systems are. Ransomware attacks are predicted to cost $6 trillion annually by 2021; a new organization is falling prey to ransomware every 11 seconds. 98% of cyberattacks are based on social engineering and new employees are often the most vulnerable. Emails constitute 92% of all malware attacks, while Trojans account for 51% of all malware.
The accelerated shift to the cloud to meet the growing needs of customers and the ensuing weaknesses in cloud security have led to frequent attacks. Explains Michael Raggo, cloud security expert at CloudKnox, “One of the systemic issues we’ve seen in organizations that have been breached recently is a vast amount of over-permissioned identities accessing cloud infrastructure and gaining access to business-critical resources and confidential data. We’ve seen when an attacker gains access to an associated identity with broad privileged permissions, the attacker can leverage those and cause havoc.“
Cybersecurity mesh facilitates scalable, flexible, and reliable means to ensure cybersecurity across all levels to protect your processes, people, and infrastructure. Considering that a vast majority of assets now exist outside the traditional security perimeter, a cybersecurity mesh helps you stretch its boundaries to build it around an individual’s identity. So rather than having one large perimeter to protect all devices or nodes within a ‘traditional’ network, we now create small, individual perimeters around every access point to heighten its security. A centralized point of authority will manage all the perimeters to ensure there are no breaches.
Cybersecurity mesh helps you adopt an interchangeable, responsive security approach that stops threat actors from exploiting the weaker links within a network to get into the bigger network. When employed correctly, cybersecurity mesh offers the following benefits:
- Cybersecurity mesh will support more than 50% of IAM requests by 2025
As traditional security models evolve, enterprises will now rely on cybersecurity mesh to ensure complete security. Identity and Access Management has been a bit of a challenge for enterprises for some time now. Akif Khan, Senior Director Analyst, Gartner, elaborates, “IAM challenges have become increasingly complex and many organizations lack the skills and resources to manage effectively. Leaders must improve their approaches to identity proofing, develop stronger vendor management skills and mitigate the risks of an increasingly remote workforce.”
Cybersecurity mesh with its mobile, adaptive, unified access management model is expected to support more than half of all IAM requests by 2025.
- IAM services will be largely MSSP-driven
Considering that most organizations lack the necessary resources and expertise to plan, develop, acquire, and implement comprehensive IAM solutions, the role of managed security service providers (MSSPs) will be crucial. Where multiple functions will have to be addressed simultaneously, organizations will leverage their services.
Gartner expects 40% of IAM application convergence to be driven by MSSPs by 2023, thereby shifting power from product vendors to service partners.
- 30% of Enterprises will implement identity proofing tools by 2024
Vendor-provided enrollment and recovery workflows have often posed a challenge in building trust as it is difficult to differentiate genuine users and attackers. Multifactor authentication via email addresses and phone numbers has often proved to be ineffective.
Gartner predicts 30% of large enterprises will use identity-proofing tools from the beginning, embedding them into the workforce identity lifecycle processes to address these issues and make way for more robust enrollment and recovery procedures.
- A decentralized identity standard will manage identity data
The traditional centralized approaches have been futile in managing identity data when it comes to the three main focus areas that include privacy, assurance, and pseudonymity. A decentralized approach based on the cybersecurity mesh model and powered by blockchain ensures total privacy necessitating an absolute minimum amount of information to validate information requests.
Gartner expects the emergence of a truly global, portable decentralized identity standard by 2024 that will address identity issues at all levels – business, personal, social, societal, and identity-invisible use cases.
- Demographic bias will be minimized everywhere
There have been several instances of demographic bias based on race, age, gender, and other characteristics that iterated the need for document-centric identity proofing in online use cases. Face recognition algorithms became part of the ‘ID plus selfie’ to ensure identity through photo comparison of customers with the ones seen in their identity document.
However, it’s important that the face recognition process is foolproof to eliminate bias and keep damaging implications at bay. By 2022, 95% of organizations will expect vendors responsible for identity-proofing to prove that they are minimizing demographic bias.
A building block for zero-trust environments
Contrary to the traditional approach of building ‘walled cities’ around a network, cybersecurity mesh paves the path for password-protected perimeters to secure networks. Devices are allowed into the network via permission levels that are managed internally. Such an approach minimizes the risk of users’ devices or access points being hacked or compromised.
Organizations are increasingly leveraging the cybersecurity mesh as a building block to create zero trust end-to-end within the network to ensure data, systems, and equipment are securely accessed irrespective of their location. Unless verified, all connections and requests to access data are considered unreliable according to the principles of zero trust architecture.
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