Edge computing occurs whenever computation occurs closer to the device than to the network infrastructure. IoT devices, fitness bands, wearables, smart sensors, and even smart meters are common examples. Edge cybersecurity, hence, ensures the security of IT processes that take place at the edge of an organization's network. Often, these areas can pose the greatest level of security risk because they are not completely enclosed by the organization's perimeter.
Here’s the catch - having people, devices, data and applications everywhere while limiting security creates a mismatch. Older methods of forwarding traffic between multiple control points, such as firewalls and virtual private networks (VPNs), are not enough. They disrupt traffic flow, increase the likelihood of vulnerabilities and make it difficult to secure new perimeters.
Today's hybrid and edge computing environments dramatically expand the surfaces for malicious attackers. However, with applications, data, and endpoints distributed globally, cybersecurity teams must provide access anytime, anywhere without affecting user experience. Just upgrading and migrating on-premises solutions to the cloud is not enough. As the threat landscape becomes increasingly complex, securing the results of digital transformation is a race against time. In essence, edge security needs to be redesigned to be as close as possible to the globally distributed user.
Distributed Everything: The Problem with Being Operative Anywhere, Anytime
Traditional network infrastructure and network security are modeled after archaic castles with a defined network perimeter. In this old model, traffic is redirected to a centralized on-premises security stack, where traffic is monitored and policies are enforced. This approach works when people, applications, devices and data are centralized. However, it lacks the automation, scalability, and intrinsic security needed to connect and protect applications, data, and users in a globally distributed business paradigm.
It no longer makes sense to move traffic through the data center as it is not cost-effective if remote workers, edge compute infra and devices are accessing resources over the internet. In addition to increasing operational costs, returning traffic affects service quality and user experience. Latency and bandwidth issues slow performance and affect overall productivity. These conditions are unacceptable in the competitive, modern business environment. Users need fast, secure and reliable access to data, devices and applications - anytime, anywhere.
These issues are exacerbated as businesses expand their adoption of public cloud services and an increasingly diverse, growing workforce and devices increases the complexity and scale of the attack surface. For instance, the number of third parties that need access to cloud-based resources span suppliers, supply chain partners, contractors, affiliates, subsidiaries. These organizations often have access to business systems, further increasing the need to provide secure access.
The Need for a Modern Security Architecture
A modern security architecture must reflect the current reality of how things work. Such an approach requires automation, cloud scale, and intrinsic security to connect and protect applications, data, and users across a globally distributed user base to improve user experience. Reverse data processing is problematic from a user experience and cost perspective. Modern security methods must make internet access safe, transparent and reliable without requiring users to jump through endless hoops.
Modernize your Edge Security with the SASE Framework
SASE is an emerging cybersecurity framework that moves security and connectivity elements that are typically on-premises to the cloud, where they are closer to data, applications, and the people who use them. It's not just this move to the cloud that defines SASE but the fact that cloud-based networking and security functions are converged and integrated.
According to Gartner, "The combination of CASB, SWG and ZTNA is known as Security Service Edge (SSE). SSE secures access to the web, use of cloud services, and access to private applications.”
SASE is not a one-size-fits-all, plug-and-play product that you can buy off the shelf. It’s a dynamic and adaptable architectural framework for implementing application, cloud, data, endpoint, network, edge and infrastructure security technologies with no limit to what can be implemented. It typically includes a Secure Web Portal (SWG), Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB), Firewall as a Service (FWaaS), Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), Data Loss Prevention (DLP) and Remote Browser Isolation (RBI).
It is important that the capabilities implemented in this architecture are controlled by centralized management and policies. The defining characteristic is that it should control traffic flow and enforce security controls for users, no matter where they are located.
The Components of Security Service Edge
- A Secure Web Gateway (SWG) protects users from web threats on the Internet by preventing malicious content from accessing the device. A cloud-based SWG typically replaces a proxy in the traditional model, where all traffic is routed to a central location.
- A Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) provides granular policy control for SaaS applications and deep visibility into application traffic to ensure compliance.
- A Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) provides secure access to applications and resources to users with granular access policies, no matter what device or network they use, without impacting productivity of the user. ZTNA eliminates the need for legacy Virtual Private Network (VPN) services by providing fast and seamless access to internal applications.
- Remote Browser Isolation (RBI) securely displays all web content and documents in the cloud, away from endpoints. Fine-grained policy controls allow administrators to configure policies when content is blocked, read-only, or secured as native content based on a site's user, group, file type, or category.
- Email isolation protects endpoints against email threats. It prevents malware from reaching endpoints by sending email links to isolated browser sessions and making all attachments isolated.
- Firewall as a Service (FWaaS) provides firewall security and control to all users in any location for all ports and protocols. FWaaS eliminates the need to back-propagate cloud applications and SaaS traffic to data centers.
- Data Loss Prevention (DLP) identifies and prevents sensitive data from leaving your business. DLP checks user input and downloads for all browser sessions and cloud applications.
- Isolated Security Operations Center (iSOC) examines global internet traffic flowing through your provider's cloud to protect your organization from known and unknown threats. iSOC also provides your SOC team with actionable threat intelligence.
The Advantages of Adopting SASE
- Without full visibility, you won't know if threats are lurking in the blind spots of the IT environment. The SASE architecture provides a holistic view of your IT environment for continuous visibility across all users, devices and resources.
- While the perimeter-based security approach has resulted in a multitude of vendors, policies, and control panels, increasing operational costs and complexity, SASE simplifies network and security management and administration, reducing the risk of human error, inconsistent policies, and operational costs.
- Furthermore, a cloud-native design improves network traffic scalability and security. Organizations can reduce capital expenditures, deployment time, and costs associated with large-scale deployment of security and network capabilities.
- SASE eliminates the need to redirect traffic to the data center for security purposes. Instead, users are directly connected to the content they need, improving network performance for an enhanced experience and increased productivity.
- Organizations can deploy your own bring-your-own-device programs with confidence as the SASE architecture implements appropriate policies and controls to reduce the risk of infected devices connecting to company assets.
Say Hello to the Managed Edge Security Services with Cloud4C
As with any transformation, planning and resources are imperative to improving your edge security and it won’t happen overnight. Simply migrating various security and networking capabilities to the cloud does not translate to SASE. Components must work together and be delivered as close to the user as possible. At Cloud4C we do this through a vast network of Local Access Points, located around the world. Using a globally distributed network fabric, we cascade and enforced security policies while traffic is intelligently routed to minimize latency. If that sounds exciting to you, get in touch with us and we’ll help you reinvigorate your edge security.