Like most industries, insurance has accelerated its digital transformation by years. More companies have moved some of their operations to the cloud to provide access to a remote workforce. Most insurers support a hybrid model where solutions operate on-premise and in the cloud. The changes in the operating model have altered the cybersecurity landscape.
The traditional moat and castle method worked with a clear perimeter. Everything inside the perimeter (moat) was safe; everything outside was suspect. Today, most digital assets are outside the logical and physical security perimeters. Indeed, you need an alternative technology to secure access to information from any device at any location.
A cybersecurity mesh is a distributed infrastructure approach to cybersecurity control. The cybersecurity mesh architecture defines the security perimeter around an object or person’s identity. It provides a modular approach to security by distributing policy enforcement while centralizing policy orchestration. In other words, setting policies occur at the enterprise level, but the enforcement performs at the micro-level.
A cybersecurity mesh infrastructure uses micro-segmentation to focus on smaller, individualized perimeters around each device or access point on a network. The modular approach reduces the attack service and restricts access between and among devices. It also constrains a hacker’s ability to move freely once inside the network.
Hardware supports micro-segmentation, but its implementation occurs with software. Traditional firewall policies, routing rules, and access control permissions can create significant management overhead, especially in environments where access points can change daily. Micro-segmenting through software makes it easier to scale and respond to security demands.
For example, with cybersecurity mesh, decisions on access can be set at the enterprise level for all employees based on the concept of least privilege. Enforcing the permissions can be distributed throughout the network, using micro-segmenting to group assets for managing and monitoring.
Cybersecurity mesh and micro-segmenting are part of the Zero Trust model of cybersecurity. A zero trust cybersecurity system makes no assumptions about the entity trying to access a digital asset. It starts from the premise that anyone or anything wanting to access the network cannot be trusted. At the same time, data must be readily available to authorized users given the collaborative environment of remote workers. That requires a flexible and scalable solution.
Zero-trust adapts to emerging threats in real-time and can take action to protect the enterprise. A cybersecurity mesh helps implement zero-trust by ensuring all data, systems, and equipment are accessed securely. It supports the micro-segmentation that is needed to secure all access points.
Gartner predicts that cybersecurity mesh will be used in over half of the digital access requests in the next five years. Grant access based on the identity of the endpoint and restricted based on the access levels associated with the identity. This implementation means that security policy enforcement regardless of the entity’s location.
For the insurance industry, remote workers have extended the security perimeter so that to remove definitions. Instead, a corporate network includes endpoints that need access to digital assets. For an industry where trust is everything, finding the best security solution is essential to survival.
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Implementing a zero-trust security model supported by a cybersecurity mesh can provide the security insurers need to protect their sensitive data. Adding micro-segmenting makes it easier to separate workloads and to prohibit lateral movements if a system is breached. Additional security features such as multi-factor authentication can further strengthen network security.