CyberSecurity

Cybersecurity Mesh Architecture

Companies set up point security solutions to mitigate certain security risks. As cyberattacks are increasing and becoming complicated, security architectures are becoming difficult to handle and monitor.

Cybersecurity mesh architecture (CSMA) has a place in your cyberspace if you want your company’s cyber technology to be deployed fast and monitored more conveniently than siloed security.

What Is Cybersecurity Mesh Architecture?

Before we learn what cybersecurity is, we have to know how cybersecurity was in the past and why this new composable and scalable approach will become the new norm.

Not long ago, most companies operated at a specific location and provided authorization to employees to a secured local server. This means that if you are not physically in the workplace, you won’t be able to access the company’s shared files and are thus unlikely to get collaborative work done.

Fast forward to 2021-2022, and it is evident that this is no longer the case. The global pandemic COVID 19 propelled the adoption of remote work that has grown in the past five years. Under the new circumstances, the old method of authorization that provided a single point of authorization to a localized network will become obsolete.

Security services had to move to the cloud to enable massive search and remote work. However, as more devices access the company’s sensitive information in the cloud, the threat of cyber security rises. This is where cyber security mesh comes in.

Cybersecurity mesh architecture CSMA is a security framework or a set of organizing principles developed by Gartner. It is not a set of security tools or a solution.

CSMA aims to encourage security platforms to follow a specific development path in the cybersecurity industry. This modern approach includes extending security controls and deploying them where they are most needed. According to Gartner, the cybersecurity mesh approach aims to create a more composable, scalable, flexible, and resilient security ecosystem by enabling companies to achieve much better security with fewer resources. It is a distributed architecture that adds synergetic value via better integration and requires significantly less staff time to deploy and maintain.

CSMA is Gartner’s latest attempt to address the complexity of the typical cyber security staff composed of various point solutions from various providers. It encourages the point solution providers to incorporate effective APIs to integrate systems seamlessly. The centralized policy management will involve deploying the best security policies that will integrate to make the organization’s security posture more effective.

Leaders should now transition their cybersecurity frameworks into a modular architecture that can select and assemble various components to satisfy specific user requirements. For example, based on user profiles and company policies, the cyber security mesh will be responsible for adaptive access, content control, security configuration, access monitoring, and security response.

CSMA Foundation Layers

There are four foundational layers to configure the different security tools that are:

Security Analytics And Intelligence

This is the first layer that aims to collect and analyze security tools that the organization is adopting. This data is then used to provide threat analytics.

Distributed Identity Fabric

Decentralized directory services are provided that are important for a zero-trust model.

Consolidated Policy And Posture Management

In this layer, the security tools are organized via translation of central policy management into the native configuration constructs. This helps in the standardization of security policies across different security operations.

Consolidated Dashboards

This layer offers single-pane management of the security ecosystem, thus enabling more effective detection and investigation.

Benefits Of Implementing Cybersecurity Mesh

Benefits To Organizations

Companies will benefit from robust cloud security that protects sensitive data in remote and office settings. The identity-first security model is employed to decrease the risk of data breaches that could cost organizations millions of dollars from lost customer information and customer trust. The financial impact due to security incidents will be reduced greatly.

Benefits To Cybersecurity Vendors

Cyber security vendors will benefit by establishing business partnerships through their security as a service model. Due to having an already established infrastructure, their focus will be to provide their service through business partnerships and increase their revenue streams.

Risks Of Implementing Cybersecurity Mesh

Risks In Organizations

The risk of implementing the cyber security mesh is that the organization may not see the cost-benefit gain until 2 to 3 years because of the high capital investment and the highly trained IT staff required. This is one of the reasons why organizations are opting for security vendor consolidation so that they can outsource the service and maintenance to the experts. This step simplifies the companies’ operations, reduces overall cost, and frees up more time for them to focus on their core businesses better.

Risks For Cybersecurity Vendors

The biggest risk for cybersecurity vendors is the lack of requirements when building and integrating the mesh for their customers. Ambiguity in requirements is a common issue that increases lead time and costs.

Technical Feasibility 

Technical feasibility for implementing cybersecurity mesh depends on three factors:

Technical Merit 

Organizations can adopt the mesh by outsourcing the security services and maintenance to export vendors. This approach will save time and cost and enable organizations to put their efforts into their business operations instead.

Tools, Ecosystems, & Skills

Cyber security mesh is a cloud infrastructure that offers scalability and accessibility to host dedicated security services reliably and conveniently.

Friction

Some challenges of implementing a cybersecurity mesh include organizational buy-in to adopt security as a service because not all companies are willing to put their data in someone else’s hands. If they were to take on the initiative themselves, the organizations must be aware that the investment may not see cost-benefit returns until years later.

Implementing The Cybersecurity Mesh

To implement the cybersecurity mesh effectively, Gartner suggests the following:

Evaluate

To develop in-house or to outsource, organizations need to evaluate the internal and external factors that drive the need for vendor consolidation or to develop in-house.

Transition Period

Plan for a multi-year transition period. These strategies usually take more than 2 years to execute and realize the benefits.

KPIs

Establish the key performance indicators to measure the expected business values of implementing the mesh, such as simplified operations, reduced total cost, and reduced phishing occurrences.

Key Takeaways

Companies must not only invest in enabling remote work, but they also need to invest in the required security that protects the access and transfer of their data. Having a cybersecurity mesh brings many benefits; however, it does not guarantee a bulletproof vest against cybercrime.

Most people fail to understand that the user is the most common source of cybercrime. Organizations should regularly reduce the risk of data breaches by training their staff and security teams.

Organizations should prioritize the cyber security mesh to the hybrid work model as the world progresses. With the increase in cyber security incidents, companies should implement cyber security mesh sooner than later. Top Strategic Technology Trends for 2022 state that companies should adopt CSMA to reduce their financial impacts due to data security breaches.

Derik Belair

As President and CEO, Derik leads the vision, strategy and growth of Augmentt. Prior to founding Augmentt, Derik was the Vice President at SolarWinds, leading the digital marketing strategy for SolarWinds’ Cloud division. Derik has been working in the channel for over 20 years, starting his career as a channel sales rep at Corel Corp. and eventually becoming the first employee at N-able Technologies in April of 2000.

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