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Redefining the security perimeter around the identity of a ‘person’ or ‘thing’

By Gareth Jones8 December 20212 min read

With the transition to work anywhere, applications moving to the cloud, and the increased use of technologies and data mobility reaching more devices, traditional security platforms no longer provide the levels of security and access control modern digital organisations need. Most corporate assets are now outside the traditional security perimeters, rending legacy controls inadequate, to protect them against increased cyber threats. With remote working and work-from-anywhere the new norm, enterprises have transformed into a geographically distributed environment of assets, employees, partners, and customers.

So, with more assets now existing outside of the traditional security perimeter, cybersecurity needs to be redefined, around the identity of a person or thing. As perimeter protection becomes less meaningful, the security approach of a walled city must evolve.

So – where do we go.

Gartner’s Top Security and Risk Trends for 2021 report identified cybersecurity mesh as the “modern conceptual approach to security architecture, that enables the distributed enterprise to deploy and extend security where it’s most needed.” – but what does that mean?

My personal view is that cybersecurity mesh is yet another building block (foundation) of a Zero Trust journey ensuring all data, services, devices, and applications are accessed securely regardless of where they are. All connections to access the data are considered unreliable unless verified.

A cybersecurity mesh enables scalable, flexible, and reliable cybersecurity controls via a distributed architectural approach. With more assets existing outside of the traditional security perimeter, cybersecurity mesh allows for the security perimeter to be defined around the identity of a person or thing. This approach to network security leads to a more standardised, responsive security approach, that prevents hackers from exploiting different parts of a given network, in order to access the broader network.

Whether you want to call it a cyber security mesh or zero trust model, when you are up against a skilled, professional adversary (e.g. Advanced Persistent Threat (APT29) which is a threat group that has been attributed to Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR)), this model helps move organisations to a proactive security posture to defend and investigate against such attacks.

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