Today’s enterprises operate in a distributed manner, with assets and workforce scattered across the world. Owing to this, technology deployment and management have changed over the years. Networks have become distributed; applications are hosted on cloud services and the number of remote employees is rapidly increasing. It is clear that fully centralized IT networks are slowly but surely moving toward extinction. Similarly, the cyberattack vector is growing rapidly, and cybercrimes are finding new and increasingly sophisticated ways to steal data and disrupt business operations. After all, a walled city cannot protect its people when they are roaming outside of it.
The traditional approach to cybersecurity was to identify and implement specific remedies to defend against every potential danger and attack. To achieve this, organizations have deployed a variety of solutions, such as Web Application Firewalls (WAFs), firewalls for network security and end-point protection for malware. According to an independent study by IBM, today’s businesses have implemented an average of 45 security solutions across their networks. This traditional method creates a security gap in interoperability between tools. Moreover, there are unnecessary overlaps between multiple devices or software each being paid for through its own licensing – simply put, too many solutions from too many vendors.
Cybersecurity Mesh Architecture (CSMA) is a concept developed by Gartner to help companies move beyond the protection of traditional IT perimeters to a more collaborative and flexible approach to security. CSMA is a fundamental support layer that enables various security services to collaborate, creating a dynamic security environment. It also promotes coordination and interoperability between products, which leads to a more integrated security policy. It takes less time to build, maintain and eliminate the possibility of security deadends that cannot serve future demands. Cybersecurity technologies are deployed through CSMA; each device will be added to the network as an integrated, carefully planned part of a consolidated security posture. A cybersecurity mesh is also defined by Gartner as a distributed architectural approach to flexible, scalable and reliable cybersecurity control.
CSMA provides four foundational layers that make it possible for various security controls and solutions to cooperate with one another and make deployment, configuration and maintenance easier.
The four layers are as follows:
Several CSMA features, including the following, will result in enhanced flexibility, agility and an overall stronger security posture for an enterprise:
Several cybersecurity vendors have “CSMA-like” approaches that can provide benefits of scale and cost to an extent. However, they have the potential for vendor lock-in due to a lack of interoperability.
According to Gartner’s strategic assumption, “By 2024, organizations adopting a cybersecurity mesh architecture will reduce the financial impact of individual security incidents by an average of 90%.”
It is clear that traditional security approaches are failing to fulfill fast-evolving and demanding cybersecurity requirements. However, many enterprises remain stuck with traditional cyber security methods. Larger enterprises with complicated IT systems (such as banks and government organizations) have invested heavily in several security solutions to individually protect each asset in their environment. Cybersecurity Mesh Architecture (CSMA) contributes to the creation of a unified, integrated security framework for all assets, whether on-premises, in data centers or on the cloud. Through standardizing the communication between security solutions, CSMA enables standalone security products to coordinate and interoperate, increasing overall security.