It’s widely recognized that change is a universal constant and nowhere has that been more apparent than in the dramatic changes we’ve seen over the last few years in the composition, complexity, and potential of the modern workforce. We now take for granted that our workforce needs to be able to securely access applications, resources, and corporate infrastructure from anywhere if they are going to be productive. The concept of a well-defined network perimeter has disappeared and we are now left with the reality that the “device” is the new perimeter and the cloud is the backbone of most company’s infrastructure. What has not kept pace with the rapid evolution in the way that a modern enterprise is constructed is the architecture that we use to secure our data, IP, and brands. It is time we realized that to unleash the productivity of the modern workforce, we need an architecture that was purpose built to take advantage of this changing environment. Now is the time to embrace the security and productivity benefits that can only be offered through a device-centric SSE solution.

Evolution of the enterprise workforce.

Within the last five years we have all seen a dramatic change in how business is done by companies around the world. They have evolved in many ways, and taken together these fundamental changes have laid to rest the idea of a traditional network perimeter.

For example, we have embraced the rise of mobile and remote workforces. With the advent of mobile devices and the ability to work remotely, employees no longer need to be physically present within the company’s network perimeter to access company resources. This means that traditional network security measures such as firewalls and legacy VPNs can no longer provide security against the myriad of threats present in this new landscape. This also renders on-premises solutions such as network access control (NAC) and switch-based VLAN segmentation useless.

Another sea change is the universal adoption of cloud services. Most forward-looking organizations now rely on cloud services to store and manage their data, which means that the data is no longer contained within the company’s physical network perimeter. This presents several important benefits to companies, but it also requires a different mindset to effectively implement security policies and protect against the evolving threat landscape.

Finally, we need to consider the impact that reliance on third-party relationships can have on providing enterprise security. Many companies now rely on third-party vendors and contractors to provide mission-critical services and support. While these third parties have their own networks and security measures, given the external nature of the systems, the exact manner and depth of security is often unknown, meaning that vendor’s data and resources may be accessed from a breach that takes place outside the company’s network perimeter.

Zero trust security has just recently become a critical business process.

The concept of zero trust was introduced in the early 2000s but its profound importance in providing enterprise security is not yet fully understood. It was not until the early 2010s that zero trust solutions began to address the internal threats that arose due to changes in the workforce. This was when focus shifted to protecting individual assets and data within the network, rather than trying to secure the network perimeter. During this time, the development of solutions providing access control and authorization policies to verify the identity and trustworthiness of users and devices before granting them access to resources came online.

More recently we have seen a phase of zero trust solutions that are characterized by the adoption of cloud computing, mobile devices, and BYOD policies. As a result, security solutions needed to be agile and flexible, allowing users to access resources from anywhere and at any time. The focus shifted to identity and access management (IAM) solutions that verified user identity and context-based access policies that controlled access to resources based on the user’s role, location, and device.

Finally, the most recent phase of providing zero trust solutions is focused on Security Service Edge (SSE) solutions. With the proliferation of cloud applications and IoT devices, security solutions need to be deployed at the edge of the network, more specifically on the devices, where data is generated and consumed. SSE solutions are designed to provide security services such as authentication, encryption, and access controls at the network edge, rather than centrally. This approach provides the promise of being able to provide secure access to resources from anywhere, at any time, and from any device, without compromising security.

What are the critical components of a modern SSE solution?

There are four crucial capabilities that form the core of SSE technology. These capabilities include: cloud-based VPN (VPNaaS), Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB), and Secure Web Gateway (SWG).

VPNaaS is a cloud-based virtual private network (VPN) service that allows users to create a secure connection to a remote network over the internet. It is a subscription-based service that can easily scale up or down based on your business needs, without having to invest in new hardware or software. Banyan is able to leverage its patented zero trust architecture to take VPNaaS further than other vendors, allowing it to take advantage of core zero trust features like continuous authorization and device trust. Zero trust is a security model that assumes all users, devices, and applications are untrusted until they can be verified and authenticated. This means that access to resources is only granted on a need-to-know basis and after a user’s identity and device have been verified.

Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) is a security approach that provides users with secure access to specific applications and resources, regardless of their location. With ZTNA, every user must go through a strict authentication and authorization process before accessing any resource or application. This ensures that only authorized personnel can access sensitive data and applications, thereby preventing cyberattacks.

Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) is a security technology that provides visibility and control over cloud-based applications and services. It allows organizations to enforce security policies for data access and usage, preventing unauthorized access or data leakage. CASB can also help organizations identify and mitigate risks associated with cloud applications and services, thereby ensuring data privacy and regulatory compliance.

Secure Web Gateway (SWG) is a security technology that helps organizations protect their network and users from web-based threats, such as malware and phishing attacks. It acts as a filter that blocks malicious websites and content from entering the organization’s network. Additionally, SWG can also provide organizations with visibility into their web traffic, which can be used to enforce compliance of acceptable use policies and detect any suspicious activities.

Overall, these four SSE capabilities are critical components that help organizations build a comprehensive security strategy that addresses threats at the network, application, and cloud levels. By leveraging these capabilities, organizations can create a secure and resilient infrastructure that protects against cyber threats while enabling business agility and growth.

Effective SSE solutions require a radically different architecture – the benefits of a device-centric solution

Given the radical changes in the computing environment and workforce composition, trying to take legacy security solutions purpose built for a simpler time, and incrementally evolve them for today’s setting is guaranteed to fail. Vendors must take a step back and architect solutions that are appropriate for the modern enterprise. Banyan Security embarked upon this journey 6 years ago, and the result is a new class of SSE solution built with an understanding that the device is the new edge. The implications of a device-centric SSE product are profound and provide organizations with considerable benefits that simply are not achievable using legacy architectures. The four most important benefits include:

Improved User Experience – Localized intelligent decision making minimizes latency and results in a better user experience. Rather than forcing organizations to ship all traffic to the cloud for inspection, a single, intelligent application on each device makes the optimum access and security decisions. Coupling faster decision making with an always-on approach minimizes potential gaps for advanced threats to exploit.

Better Enterprise Security – The Banyan SSE solution includes multiple layers of security, providing least privileged access for users regardless of location. Additional security is provided by incorporating real time, continuous authorization using advanced risk modeling based on device, resource, and threat profiles. Together these features provide superior threat protection and automated threat remediation.

Lower Total Cost of Ownership – a device-centric Security Service Edge is significantly easier to set up and deploy for most organizations. Rather than having to configure complex network environments to support the analysis and routing of user traffic, users can be provided secure access quickly and easily through intuitive selections made in the Banyan admin console and executed locally on end-user devices. Advanced discover and publish capabilities further simplify deployments and result in much lower total cost of ownership for an organization versus legacy solutions.

Deployment Flexibility – The Banyan Security SSE solution architecture provides additional benefits for organizations that are concerned with data privacy and security. Unlike other SSE solutions, the Banyan Security Platform can be configured to route encrypted traffic through either the Banyan cloud infrastructure or directly through a service installed and maintained in the organization’s infrastructure. This capability allows the freedom to address the needs of all regulatory or security-conscious environments.

With the network perimeter blurred, users working from anywhere, resources spanning on-premises, hybrid and multi-cloud environments, and the internet carrying the majority of an organization’s traffic, it’s clear that a new approach is needed to effectively secure organizations and their users. It’s also clear that successful solutions must ensure administrative ease of management as well as end-user ease of use. Security does not have to come at the expense of usability. Only in this way will the modern workforce be truly safe and productive.

To learn more about device-centric SSE and the Banyan Security Platform, please visit: