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The Rise of Cybersecurity Mesh and How the Paradigms of Cybersecurity Have Shifted

Rise of Cybersecurity Risks

Cybersecurity risks are increasing rapidly in the era of remote work, hybrid and multicloud adoption, and digital accelerationAs more people connect to corporate networks and systems from new locations and different devices, cybercriminals are evolving their techniques and the sophistication of their cyberattack methods.

These factors combined have created the perfect storm of more advanced threats and expanding attack surfaces.

Traditional Security Approaches Are No Longer Enough

The traditional approach of assuming all devices and users behind a network are safe and everything outside is unsafe is no longer fit for purpose. Instead, businesses need a more dynamic approach to securing their IT environments, as well as methods that offer greater control, better security posture, and enhanced responsiveness to cyber threats. 

As organizations adopt new technologies and accelerate their digital transformation strategies, they have begun implementing zero-trust networks. This approach, which assumes the mindset of trusting no one and verifying everyone and everything, is a good start. But given the current landscape, businesses need more.

This is where cybersecurity mesh comes in. A cybersecurity mesh architecture (CSMA) delivers a foundational support layer that enables multiple security tools and services to work together to create dynamic security environments. The result is more consistent security defenses, a more collaborative approach to cybersecurity, and enhanced security threat response.

The Growing Need for Comprehensive Cybersecurity

Cyber risk is increasing as more data moves to the cloud and users rely on cloud services to store sensitive information, such as credit card details and social security numbers. Poor configuration of these services, dependence on out-of-the-box solutions, overly complex security systems, and the increased sophistication of cyber criminals mean organizations and their defenses are more vulnerable to attacks. 

Additionally, the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) is seeing data volumes spike dramatically, which in turn increases the risk of attacks exponentially. As a result, organizations of all sizes can easily become vulnerable to malwarephishing,  and ransomware attacks. Many businesses also have weak security defenses, making discovering new vulnerabilities before cyber criminals find and exploit them a struggle.

Complying With More Stringent Data Regulations

Data privacy regulations have become more severe and uncompromising as a result of increased cyber risk. This puts the onus on organizations to take the steps necessary to protect their data and users, such as:

  1. Obtaining user consent to process and store their data
  2. Anonymizing data for privacy
  3. Communicating and notifying authorities and customers of data breaches

Standards boards, such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), provide frameworks to help businesses understand their risks, improve their processes, and enhance their cyber defenses. 

Cybersecurity Mesh 2022: Trending Technologies to Manage Evolving Security Threats

As security threats increase in sophistication and volume, new technologies are emerging to help organizations better defend their entire attack surfaces. These technologies are crucial to ensuring network security, accelerating digital capabilities, and driving growth. As a result, organizations can:  

  1. Combat security complexity with more efficient IT systems that enable data to be integrated and processed more securely
  2. Respond to change more quickly 
  3. Position themselves for a secure future by selecting security technology that eases integration, customization, and standardization
  4. Make faster, smarter decisions by automating business activities and leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) tools

Critical trending technologies for enhancing organizational security include: 

Cybersecurity Mesh

CSMA encourages organizations to deploy solutions that fit their specific needs and work within their integrated ecosystems. This enables businesses to share cybersecurity intelligence, automate and coordinate responses to threats, and simplify their security operations. Moving to a CSMA shifts organizations from an outdated legacy, standalone approach to one that integrates best-of-breed and cybersecurity solutions. 

Seamless and successful implementation of a CSMA relies on leveraging automated, broad, and integrated security platforms that offer centralized management and visibility. This platform should also support and operate within businesses' wider ecosystems. As a result, cybersecurity mesh offers benefits such as:

  1. Reducing deployment times and security failures
  2. Gaining deep visibility across all network edges
  3. Increasing agility and resilience
  4. Sharing and leveraging intelligence from organizations' own tools and their entire ecosystem
  5. Ensuring the best real-time defense against known and evolving threats
  6. Increasing organizations' focus on high-value tasks 
  7. Closing interoperability gaps between various vendors' solutions

CSMA is vital now that applications, data, devices, and users operate outside organizations' traditional data centers and offices. The network perimeters that traditionally existed to protect trusted devices and users no longer exist. Instead, context and identity have now become king and are central to securing organizations' increasing distributed IT environments. CSMA offers a distributed identity fabric that helps establish trusted access across all applications, customers, partners, and workforces. 

The cybersecurity mesh approach will rapidly increase in popularity in the next few years. Gartner predicts that it will be responsible for supporting more than half of identity and access management requests by 2025. In this way, organizations will gain more adaptive, explicit, and mobile models for unified access management.

Data Fabric

A data fabric enables organizations to flexibly and more resiliently integrate their data across all their various environments. This makes data readily available whenever needed, regardless of where the information resides. Organizations can also leverage data fabric analytics to identify where data must be used, which can significantly reduce their data management processes.

Cloud-native Platforms

Cloud-native platforms enable businesses to develop agile and elastic application architectures, allowing them to better respond to the rapidly evolving digital landscape. 

A cloud-native approach offers significant advantages compared to the traditional lift-and-shift concept that many organizations have used. Lift and shift is also known as "rehosting," which is simply moving an exact copy of a workload or application from one environment to another, making maintenance more complex.

Privacy-enhancing Computation

Privacy-enhancing computation enables businesses to process personal data securely within trusted environments. It uses various privacy protection techniques to ensure value is extracted from data while meeting stringent compliance requirements. This is critical to helping businesses follow data protection laws and meet consumers’ evolving demands.

Cybersecurity Mesh: Is It a Security Concept, Solution, or Something Else?

Gartner describes cybersecurity mesh as "a composable and scalable approach to extending security controls." A cybersecurity mesh approach enables organizations to integrate their various security tools across their widely distributed assets and collaborative ecosystems. It prevents security tools from working in silos, enabling them to interoperate across several layers, including identity fabric, policy management, and security intelligence.

A cybersecurity mesh approach is critical to helping organizations adopt leading security technologies within their digital acceleration initiatives. It ensures businesses can reduce complexity, simplify their operations, and increase the effectiveness of their security defenses, regardless of where their digital journey takes them. 

For example, digital expansions and trends such as advanced analytics, AI, the cloud, and IoT have accelerated cybersecurity mesh adoption. This, combined with the growing demand for agility, flexibility, and reliability, is prompting more organizations to take a distributed approach to cybersecurity. 

Can Cybersecurity Mesh Help Deal with Unknown Security Threats?

CSMA provides a foundation from which organizations' users and devices can securely connect to locations across their various cloud environments, applications, and digital assets. The approach encourages businesses to adopt more consistent security postures that increase agility and assist with detecting and preventing unknown security threats. For example, it provides services like centralized policy management and orchestrations, distributed identity fabric, security analytics, and security intelligence, which are critical to detecting and preventing evolving cyber risks.

CSMA provides four foundational layers that are critical to enabling a more collaborative approach to cybersecurity:

  1. Security analytics and intelligence: This layer combines data and insight from various security tools in organizations' ecosystems, providing them with a deep analysis of threats and triggering the most appropriate response.
  2. Distributed identity fabric: This layer provides vital identity services that help organizations better control their growing arsenal of assets, devices, and identities, which traditional security approaches cannot handle. Such services include adaptive access, decentralized identity management, directory services, identity proofing, and entitlement management. 
  3. Consolidated policy and posture management: This layer translates central policies into individual security tools' native configuration constructs. It also enables organizations to benefit from dynamic authorization services.
  4. Consolidated dashboards: This layer provides a complete view of an organization's security system. It enables security teams to respond to security events more quickly and effectively. 

How Fortinet Can Help?

The Fortinet Security Fabric, which is the industry's highest-performing cybersecurity mesh platform, enables organizations to solve all their cybersecurity challenges through security-driven networking, adaptive cloud security, zero-trust access, and AI-driven security operations. It integrates with over 450 third-party technology partners, which is necessary to breaking down silos and encouraging a broad, open ecosystem.

With Security Fabric, organizations also gain insight from Fortinet FortiGuard Labs, which constantly analyzes real-world data from more than 5.6 million sensors worldwide. This enables businesses to more quickly identify abnormal or suspicious behavior and automatically update their defenses against new threats.


What is a cybersecurity mesh?

Cybersecurity mesh is a cybersecurity approach that encourages organizations to deploy solutions that fit their specific needs and work within their integrated ecosystems. CSMA enables businesses to share cybersecurity intelligence, automate and coordinate responses to threats, and simplify their security operations. 

Why cybersecurity mesh?

CSMA helps organizations move away from outdated legacy, standalone cybersecurity approaches to an approach that offers best-of-breed and integrated cybersecurity. This more integrated approach is crucial to strengthening security posture, improving agility, and increasing security tool interoperability.

What is the difference between cybersecurity mesh and zero-trust?

Cybersecurity mesh is a critical element in establishing a zero-trust network security approach. It ensures all applications, data, devices, and services are secured regardless of where users access them from.