In present times, a combination of cloud and the Internet of Things (IoT), rising enterprise security challenges, and escalated damages – as a result of breaches – have led to the establishment of more vigorous levels of inspection and overall security. This has given birth to a new approach called de-perimeterization. The new method focuses on sealing all aspects of the network that deal inside and outside traditional firewalls.
De-perimeterization basically defines an information security strategy that boosts an organization’s security posture. It does so by implementing multiple levels of protection, including inherently secure computer systems and protocols, high-level encryption, and authentication. It is called so since it implies that the enterprise no longer relies on its network perimeter for security.
Rather than relying on its (network) boundary/perimeter to the Internet, de-perimeterization uses a mixture of encryption, inherently-secure computer protocols, and systems and data-level authentication to protect an organizations’ systems and data.
The successful implementation of a de-perimeterized strategy within an organization implies that the perimeter, or outer security boundary, could be removed, which helps them connect directly to the outside world. The concept is similar to taking down the walls of a fortified city and deploying armed soldiers everywhere instead.
One may be of the view that the walled city will be more secure as it is guarded by soldiers everywhere, especially when the city walls are already weak. The process of de-perimeterization works similarly.
This security strategy gained prominence because of the assumption that network perimeters can be breached in one way or another, and depending on them may give organizations a false sense of security.
So, instead of perimeters, why not fortify the network by deploying security details in several areas? This can prove to be more beneficial for organizations as it grants them the freedom to directly connect to the Internet, enhancing collaboration and information flow.
Zero-Trust Security Model in brief
It refers to a network architecture that trusts no one. No user, device, or packet can access the network without proper checks and authentication. Whether the device is inside or outside the network, it will treat both in the same manner.
Are de-perimeterization and Zero Trust related?
De-perimeterization focuses on the need for more robust security measures, and the zero trust security model aligns with this. When it comes to zero-trust security, the network is designed keeping in mind that anything and anyone communicating with it remains untrusted until they have been examined and authenticated adequately.
Because there is no longer a border preventing questionable network connections, it is only natural to check all requests, regardless of the source.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Deperimeterization
Every security strategy is bound to have some benefits and drawbacks; the same is true with de-perimeterization. Let’s discuss them in detail:
Benefits of de-perimeterization
Detects a false sense of security
One of the best benefits of de-perimeterization is that it does away with perimeter networks’ false sense of security. Perimeterless networks call upon the people to track all actions that could affect network security. It also requires organizations to implement more robust security measures, specifically in terms of encryption and authentication.
Enterprises that have successfully applied de-perimeterization tend to save largely on costs. Moreover, as they can openly connect to the Internet, employees can gather information easily and use collaborative tools as well. Ultimately, this allows them to be more innovative and effective.
Demerits of de-perimeterization:
One and foremost concern with de-perimeterization is that it’s costly. Even though de-perimeterization is proven practical and has numerous advantages, several organizations still doubt its implementation. Would not the removal of network parameters make the sites more vulnerable? And even after securing every computer and system, what happens when one detects a new threat? Each computer and system would have to be updated to block it. At the same time, updating the network firewall would have been enough to maintain the security. Hence, the de-perimeterization method could also end up being more costly and time-consuming.
How secure is de-perimeterization?
With de-perimeterization, every user, device, service, or application is implicitly not trusted, irrespective of their location on the network. They will have to go through an identity and access management process that would help gain a level of trust and associated access privileges.
This implies that all network resources are accessed securely regardless of location or device. Further, a least-privilege network access strategy is used to enforce access constraints carefully. Before initiating a communication session, each session that a user creates with other users or apps must be authenticated, authorized, and accounted for. This applies security policies at the network’s edge and blocks malicious traffic at its source, rather than in the center of the network or at the entrance to an endpoint or application.
Even if a business has excellent firewalls, endpoint protection software, and server and application security capabilities, it is still vulnerable to data breaches and data loss.
Gone are the days of perimeter-based security and limited segmentation within a company as more and more people have turned to mobile, apps are continuously migrating to the public cloud, billions of IoT devices are being added, malware is becoming ubiquitous, and hackers are getting more clever, leading to insecurity.
Beyond The Network Strategy
The network is the foundation for security, but in present times it alone is no longer sufficient to keep data safe. Enterprises must look beyond traditional network security strategies. By default, all network access must be denied, and then a whitelist must be built. Explicit access will minimize the risks enterprises face from data breaches, DDoS attacks, and malicious software infections.