Employee identities are the new security perimeter of any business. 80% of IT security breaches involve privileged credential access according to a Forrester study. According to the Verizon Mobile Security Index 2018 Report, 89% of organizations are relying on just a single security strategy to keep their mobile networks safe. And with Gartner predicting worldwide security spending reaching $96B this year, up 8% from 2017, it’s evident enterprises must adopt a more vigilant, focused strategy for protecting every threat surface and access point of their companies. IT security strategies based on trusted and untrusted domains are being rendered insufficient as hackers camouflage their attacks through compromised, privileged credentials. It’s happening so often that eight in ten breaches are now the result of compromised employee identities.
Thus, taking a Zero Trust Security (ZTS) approach to ensure every potential threat surface and endpoint, both within and outside a company, is protected, has become vital in today’s dynamic threat landscape. ZTS is an essential strategy for any digital business whose perimeters flex in response to customer demand, are using the Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to streamline supply chain and production logistics, and have suppliers, sales teams, support, and services all using mobile apps. ZTS begins with Next-Gen Access (NGA) by providing companies with the agility they need to secure applications, devices, endpoints, and infrastructure as quickly as needed to support company growth. Both NGA and ZTS are empowered by analytics to anticipate and thwart a wide variety of cyber threats, the most common of which is compromised credential access.
How NGA Leverages Analytics to Secure Every Endpoint
NGA validates every access attempt by capturing and quickly analyzing a wide breadth of data including user identity, device, device operating system, location, time, resource request, and several other factors. As NGA is designed to verify every user and access attempt, it’s foundational to attaining Zero Trust Security across an IT infrastructure. One of the fascinating areas of innovation in enterprise security today is the rapid adoption of analytics and machine learning for verifying users across diverse enterprise networks. NGA platforms calculate and assign a risk score to every access attempt, determining immediately if verified users will get immediate access to resources requested, or be asked to verify their identity further through Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA).
Machine learning-based NGA platforms including Centrify calculate a risk score that quantifies the relative level of trust based on every access attempt across an IT infrastructure. NGA platforms rely on machine learning algorithms to continuously learn and generate contextual intelligence that is used to streamline verified user’s access while thwarting many potential threats ― the most common of which is compromised credentials. IT security teams can combine the insights gained from machine learning, user profiles, and contextual intelligence to fine-tune the variables and attributes that calculate risk scores using cloud-enabled analytics services. An example of Centrify’s Analytics Services dashboard is shown below:
Visibility and Analytics are a Core Pillar of ZTS
Analytics, machine learning and their combined potential to produce contextual intelligence, real-time risk scores, and secure company perimeters to the individual access attempt level need a continual stream of data to increase their accuracy. Forrester’s Zero Trust Framework, shown below, illustrates how an enterprise-wide ZTS security strategy encompasses workloads, networks, devices, and people. NGA is the catalyst that makes ZTS scale into each of these areas. It’s evident from the diagram how essential visibility and analytics are to a successful ZTS strategy. NGA provides incident data including reports of anomalous or atypical login and attempted resource behavior. Visibility and analytics applications from IBM, Splunk, Sumologic, and others are relied on to aggregate the data, anticipating and predicting breaches and advanced attacks. The result is a ZTS security strategy that begins with NGA that flexes and scales to the individual perimeter level as a digital business grows.
Source: What ZTX Means For Vendors And Users, Forrester Research Blog, January 23, 2018., Chase Cunningham, Principal Analyst.
Every company, whether they realize it or not, is in a race against time to secure every threat surface that could be compromised and used to steal or destroy data and systems. Relying on yesterday’s security technologies to protect against tomorrow’s sophisticated, well-orchestrated threats isn’t scaling. Reading through the Verizon Mobile Security Index 2018 Report illustrates why Zero Trust Security is the future. Improving visibility throughout the network and reducing the time to breach detection, stopping malware propagation and reducing the scope and cost of internal and regulatory-mandated compliance requirements are just a few of the business benefits. Analytics and machine learning are the fuel enabling NGA to scale and support ZTS strategies’ success today.