Why is everyone talking about Cybersecurity Mesh?
Many of us have grown accustomed to working outside traditional office spaces and data centres. The ability to access company data via multiple cloud-based services means we can literally work from anywhere, anytime.
With greater flexibility, however, comes greater security risk and potential for cyberattacks—particularly with the rapid evolution and sophistication of criminals. While most organizations recognize the inherent risk of operating in a remote or hybrid environment, few truly understand just how substantial it can be, says Kevin de Snayer, director of Cyber Security at Calian. “When you start to show them just how many cloud-based services their employees are accessing, they are baffled,” he says.
That’s where cybersecurity mesh architecture (CSMA) comes in. The term, coined by Gartner, is a security concept aimed at hybrid and multi-cloud environments being accessed by a wide range of devices and applications. Whereas many existing security architectures are fragmented, a mesh platform allows security tools to work collectively, closing security gaps and reducing system duplication. With a consolidated dashboard of the whole security ecosystem across an organization, security teams can also respond more quickly and effectively to potential risks, reducing service disruptions and saving money. By 2024, Gartner projects that organizations that have adopted a CSMA to integrate their security tools will reduce the financial impact of individual security incidents by an average of 90 per cent.
“This concept has been around for a while, but nothing was formalized like this until we started working in a hybrid environment,” says Rutvik Parmar, Channel SE at Fortinet, a vendor that already offers a CSMA as part of its Fortinet Security Fabric. “I really do think this is the future and if we can accomplish this in organizations, it will save them lots of money and downtime.”
Parmar points to the fact that the mesh architecture is pertinent for everyone—from small businesses to enterprise-level clients. “Organizations will say they’re too small, but we have seen ransomware on individual levels as well,” he says. Plus, regardless of company size, he says the vast majority of Fortinet clients have a “ubiquitous desire for consolidation, interoperability and automation when it comes to their security needs.”
It’s a Journey, Not a Quick Fix
As the new gold standard in future cybersecurity, security experts warn that CSMA implementation is a process that will take time, so companies need to get on board now. The biggest challenge for many organizations, says de Snayner, will be in first understanding and developing a baseline for where users in their network are connecting from in the first place. “Mesh is not a point-in-place product that organizations can implement tomorrow, but an ongoing journey as technology continues to evolve,” he says. “Organizations need to start on this path immediately or they will be left behind.”
Security vendors and providers also need to come together in helping clients understand the architecture and what’s needed to make it work optimally, says de Snayer. Often, he says, companies will have basic security tools in place, but be unaware of how to integrate them and make use of a security mesh to automate processes and better respond to threats.
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