Cybersecurity Architecture – The Evolution of IT to Secure IT

About 30 years ago, IT departments had an enviable task when dealing with cybersecurity. Given the small number of devices they had to protect, their job was simple. Today, the use of digital technologies in the work environment is increasing sharply due to the need for enterprises to become more adaptable and agile. It creates a surging number of endpoints cyber-attackers can use to gain access to networks. Traditional security isn’t enough as threats are becoming more complex.

As the global cyber battlefield has dramatically evolved, we’ll take a look at the evolution of IT to secure IT and the elements of a cyber-secure architecture.

Security: Moving Beyond IT

Security now affects everyone and is no longer solely the concern of the IT department. The security horizon links to all business operations and every department it touches. Security increases interaction between departments to identify the assets that need protection, thus reducing the impact of any unexpected future attack. Cybersecurity stretches its reach out to the edge where data is potentially a moving cyber target – data generated by IoT held on mobile devices, or in the cloud.)

Traditional Approaches are Inadequate

The prevent and detect approach no longer suffices, but many IT security teams still spend their time preventing cyber-attacks. And instead of adopting a continuous response mindset, where systems require constant monitoring and remediation because they’re assumed to be compromised, they implement an incident response mindset.

Enterprises need a security architecture that’s adaptive. It’s a valuable framework to help enterprises classify all potential and existing security investments to determine where they’re deficient and make sure there’s a balanced approach to cybersecurity. However, the continuous approach to cybersecurity generates a considerable variety, velocity, and volume of data, so it needs advanced analytics in its foundation.

Better, Smarter, Faster, and Stronger

The assets that IT security needs to harness are agility and speed. It also needs to be more effective and act smarter in the face of insufficient budgets. Today’s cybersecurity involves collecting, synthesizing, and analyzing security data as standard, trying to decipher what that data is trying to tell enterprises. Cybersecurity providers can leverage intelligence services and insight within a global network perspective, to improve cyber threat visibility and help mitigate risk.

Elements of Cyber Secure Architecture

Cyber secure enterprise architecture is an approach that doesn’t treat security as an additional layer. It operates it as a fundamental design principle, and it includes several elements.

  • Modularity

The modular structure allows enterprises to measure their risk exposure and protection needed across their business domains. Enterprises can adjust the security level of one security domain without affecting other fields. They can also deploy monitoring technologies at pivotal points within their architecture, as securing the connecting points between the public Internet and the corporate network is no longer enough. When a system divides into security domains, it comes with two advantages – it creates borders within the network at which you can monitor traffic, and it is easier to track changes in activity within one domain with a limited set of applications (instead of lots of changes across the entire network.)

  • Alignment of security requirements and business domains

A secure IT architecture reflects both the risk exposure of processes and assets in each domain and the business processes. Security is an integral part of the architecture because it’s built into the definition of modern cyber architecture, becoming inherent in it.

  • Integration across the entire supply chain

By using defined mapping assets and security domains, enterprises can reduce the number of point-to-point links and drive integration with trading partners through APIs (which are more easily protected.) Also, it allows them to engage business partners in determining the right security requirements for each cross-organizational data flow. Since cybercriminals always look for the weakest endpoint in the chain, attention to detail is necessary.

  • Grouping by capability

By grouping similar process activities (such as account management or customer management) at the capability level, enterprises will make their architecture both secure and manageable. The capability level is used to estimate the risk exposure of processes and assets, and to specify consistent and adequate levels of security requirements. Each capability needs to be assigned to a business and security domain.

Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Advanced Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence elements can be used to extend the analytical approach to cybersecurity. The capabilities are becoming mainstream; so adaptive security architecture will also become more common. UEBA (User and Entity Behavior Analytics) is an example that’s attracting attention. The UEBA systems baseline and profile the activity of users and entities such as networks, applications, and devices. To detect abnormal patterns, they correlate user and other entity behaviors and activity. And these irregular patterns or unusual behaviors trigger alarms.

Today, the key to staying ahead of an expanding number of risks and threats, enterprises need to predict new threats and automate their routine cybersecurity practices and responses. Cyber secure enterprise architecture begins with a security assessment to detect and isolate capabilities according to threat level. Besides identifying gaps in the defense, the evaluation also involves the analysis of the most critical assets that could result in reputational harm and material losses. The next-generation security must be integrated deeply in the foundation of an enterprise’s architecture to be most effective. It means that security teams must overcome organizational barriers between them, development, and operations teams.

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