Forcepoint Makes the Case for the Future of Cloud-Powered Cybersecurity

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Forcepoint is hosting the SASE CyberSummit today. SASE is an acronym for Secure Access Service Edge—essentially redefining the “perimeter” from a cybersecurity perspective in a complex, hybrid, cloud-first world. Forcepoint has packed the day with informative keynotes and valuable breakout sessions that examine the challenges organizations face today, and present a vision for shifting cybersecurity focus and priorities to adapt to the reality of today’s threat landscape.

The fact that Forcepoint is conducting the SASE CyberSummit as a virtual event online rather than a physical conference underscores the heightened importance of SASE during the global COVID-19 pandemic. The death of the traditional network perimeter is not new, and the concept of SASE existed prior to the COVID-19 quarantine, but with the exponential spike in remote workers the concept is suddenly much more relevant.

In his “CEO Perspective” keynote, Forcepoint CEO Matt Moynahan pointed out that if you had asked a CIO or CISO at the beginning of this year what it would take for their organization to shift to a completely remote work environment, they would most likely suggest that it would take at least a year and be a multi-million dollar project. Fast forward a few months and those organizations found themselves forced to embrace the remote workforce overnight as regions put stay at home and shelter in place orders in effect to try and contain the spread of COVID-19. It has been a “trial by fire” approach that nobody would pursue voluntarily.

SASE is often presented as a major revolution in networking and cybersecurity. Moynahan pondered the question of whether it is actually a revolution, or just the security world waking up to the fact that the people are the perimeter. He stressed, “What has become clear is that your people are now your corporate perimeter. The network edge is now a person’s kitchen, living room, or home office.”

Cybersecurity was already challenging even in a more contained office environment, but the perimeter has been eroding for years. The shift to mobile devices and SaaS (software-as-a-service) platforms and applications broke that wall down a long time ago. With everyone now connecting from home networks, and many accessing data and conducting sensitive company business from personal devices, it’s critical for organizations to have the visibility and context to enforce policies and protect data.

Cybersecurity effectiveness is often measured in terms of dwell time—the amount of time between the initial infiltration and when the organization becomes aware of it. Moynahan emphasized that it is often too late by the time the attack is detected. He suggested that we measure security based on time to exfiltration rather than dwell time because data is often compromised or exfiltrated in a matter of seconds.

The traditional cybersecurity paradigm is about keeping people out. According to Moynahan, the new paradigm is about understanding who is on your network, and what they are doing at any given time.

Forcepoint Global CTO Nico Fischbach agrees. In a session called “Connectivity in a Borderless World,” Fischbach described the old model of security as a castle or fortress surrounded by a moat, and he illustrated how the traditional model makes cybersecurity a bottleneck that gets in the way of productivity—especially in a hybrid cloud environment.

Fischbach stressed the need for security to be delivered and managed from the cloud in order to have the necessary visibility and scalability to meet the cybersecurity needs of organizations today. He described connectivity as the key enabler for security in this new borderless world.

Your data is going into cloud apps, so your security has to go with it. The future will be built on cloud-based cybersecurity. Not just cloud-based, but automated and user-centric—an approach that enforces security based on context and intent is essential for effective cybersecurity in an increasingly dispersed and remote world.

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I have a passion for technology and gadgets--with a focus on Microsoft and security--and a desire to help others understand how technology can affect or improve their lives. I also love spending time with my wife, 7 kids, 2 dogs, 5 cats, 2 rabbits, 2 ferrets, a pot-bellied pig, and sulcata tortoise, and I like to think I enjoy reading and golf even though I never find time for either. You can contact me directly at tony@xpective.net. For more from me, you can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.