Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Perimeter

11/18/2020
02:00 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail vvv
50%
50%

Out With the Old Perimeter, in With the New Perimeters

A confluence of trends and events has exploded the whole idea of "the perimeter." Now there are many perimeters, and businesses must adjust accordingly.

As business started to connect to the Internet, this connection point became the natural place to enforce security controls, mimicking existing physical security models. Businesses assumed that if someone was inside the building or inside a certain perimeter, that person inherently had a higher level of trust than those outside.

The same business needs that required connectivity forced erosion of this perimeter. Websites and email servers had to be reached from outside of the defenses. Additional perimeters were created to address this, starting with DMZ networks. Some users and data moved to the untrusted side of the walls, and attacks were originating from the inside (whether from phishing, compromised credentials, or insiders). More perimeters were created, including data center firewalls and internal segmentation or even microsegmentation deployments.

Related Content:

Physical Security Has a Lot of Catching Up to Do

2020 State of Cybersecurity Operations and Incident Response

9 Cyber Disaster Recovery Planning Tips for a Disaster-Prone Time

With the pandemic, the erosion of the perimeter turned into a collapse. Instead of some data and a few users being outside the perimeter, there was an almost overnight need to have all the employees outside. The new demands weren't easy: access to all the data, from all the places, all the time, on all the devices. Securely.

The New Perimeters

Identity as a Perimeter
Identity has been a key part of security forever. The importance of strong identity has increased exponentially with digital transformations — for a software-as-as-security (SaaS) application, it may be the only control in the hands of the data owners.

The scope of "identity" has grown from who you are to include physical location, the device being connected from and its state, the time of day, and other parameters. Multifactor authentication has become a minimum standard, while role-based access based on "extended" identity enforces policy once the connection is established.

There are limitations to the "identity-as-a-perimeter" concept; not everything is in SaaS applications, and additional controls (such as data leakage prevention) may be needed and must be in the application itself.

Endpoint as a Perimeter
Before firewalls, security was controlled at the endpoint — and what is old is new again. Modern endpoint solutions provide software asset inventory, threat prevention, and advanced attack detection backed by machine learning and artificial intelligence. The endpoint perimeter is much more robust than in the past.

Agents on the endpoint can provide more benefits as well, just like the traditional perimeter. Functions such as asset management, software management, vulnerability management, and data leakage prevention are all possible extensions of the "endpoint perimeter," though you may need many agents to support many functions.

Secure Access Service Edge
Secure access service edge (SASE) is a framework that moves security controls closer to where the user meets the data. Data is increasingly stored in cloud applications, so the SASE frameworks add security controls on the cloud edge. The framework can support a range of services to protect data and applications both in the cloud and on-premises.

Integral to this concept is the identity of the user and that person's rights as well as the assurance that the endpoint is "appropriately" secure for the access the user is getting. SASE frameworks must incorporate identity and endpoint elements to work most effectively.

Zero-Trust Network Architecture
The culmination of the "perimeterless network" is a zero-trust networking architecture (ZTNA). In a zero-trust environment, every connection is presumed hostile until proven friendly — a "never trust, always verify" model in which connections will only be allowed on a least-privilege basis, closely inspected, and all activities and traffic will be logged.

As a design philosophy, ZTNA informs all the above choices and make them more effective — though doing so while maintaining a relatively frictionless end-user experience is no easy task and doesn't get easier with scale.

…and the Legacy Perimeter
The legacy Internet edge perimeter and the existing internal perimeters are not yet completely obsolete. Some resources and users reside and will continue to reside on-premises and need protection. It's just that they aren't the single control that they were before. Defense in depth is hugely important and will likely include "legacy" controls for the foreseeable future as part of a comprehensive multiperimeter strategy.

So, What's My "New Perimeter"?
This is the perfect place for the engineer's favorite answer: "It depends." The new perimeter is going to depend on the state of digital transformation, the locations of your data, your risk tolerance, and the type of endpoints you're using. Your solution is going to have to be built and designed to meet your unique needs, objectives, and risks. It must be as frictionless as possible to your users and simultaneously minimize the attack surface. It's not easy, but it's possible.

Charlie Winckless is the Senior Director of Cybersecurity Solutions for Presidio, setting strategic direction both internally to Presidio and helping clients build digital trust. He is a cybersecurity veteran with over 20 years' experience in the field and cut his IT teeth at ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 11/19/2020
New Proposed DNS Security Features Released
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  11/19/2020
How to Identify Cobalt Strike on Your Network
Zohar Buber, Security Analyst,  11/18/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-25159
PUBLISHED: 2020-11-24
499ES EtherNet/IP (ENIP) Adaptor Source Code is vulnerable to a stack-based buffer overflow, which may allow an attacker to send a specially crafted packet that may result in a denial-of-service condition or code execution.
CVE-2020-25654
PUBLISHED: 2020-11-24
An ACL bypass flaw was found in pacemaker before 1.1.24-rc1 and 2.0.5-rc2. An attacker having a local account on the cluster and in the haclient group could use IPC communication with various daemons directly to perform certain tasks that they would be prevented by ACLs from doing if they went throu...
CVE-2020-28329
PUBLISHED: 2020-11-24
Barco wePresent WiPG-1600W firmware includes a hardcoded API account and password that is discoverable by inspecting the firmware image. A malicious actor could use this password to access authenticated, administrative functions in the API. Affected Version(s): 2.5.1.8, 2.5.0.25, 2.5.0.24, 2.4.1.19.
CVE-2020-29053
PUBLISHED: 2020-11-24
HRSALE 2.0.0 allows XSS via the admin/project/projects_calendar set_date parameter.
CVE-2020-25640
PUBLISHED: 2020-11-24
A flaw was discovered in WildFly before 21.0.0.Final where, Resource adapter logs plain text JMS password at warning level on connection error, inserting sensitive information in the log file.