Back in October 1969, the first message – a “node-to-node” communication – was delivered from one computer to another. Over 50 years later, networks have come a long way, evolving to support the Internet we know today.
Modern networks have the power to bring people, enterprises, and nations together. But if they’re breached or compromised, the results can be grave.
Meanwhile, cybercrime continues unabated. Hardly a week passes without a high-profile attack making news headlines. Billions of dollars are lost or stolen every year.
Rather than putting the brakes on cybercrime, the pandemic only served to fuel it. Many attacks were directly related to lockdown-induced work-from-home arrangements and hybrid workplaces. As businesses accelerated the use of client portals and mobile and web applications, their risk of attack and network compromise increased.
The dire side-effects of such incidents played out in incalculable damage to brands and the erosion of public trust, not to mention financial loss. IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach Report recently found that the average total cost of a data breach is $3.86 million and moving in an upward trend.
The message couldn’t be clearer: Businesses must explore every available avenue to better secure their networks.
Let’s explore the approaches, tools, and tactics available to organizations to harden their cyber defenses – and why the stakes are getting higher than ever before.
Zero Trust Meets SASE
In our modern digital business environment, ensuring robust data network security is made more challenging by the fluid and hybrid nature of our systems. Data exists in a blend of on-premise infrastructure, in the cloud, and anywhere in between at any point in time.
It’s no longer easy to define precisely what’s “inside” or “outside” your network. To use an analogy: in the past, a business could seclude and defend its sensitive and confidential data by building an impenetrable “fortress” (the corporate perimeter) surrounded by an untraversable “moat” (firewalls and other physical security protocols.)
Today, these defined corporate perimeters or “fortresses” have given way to dynamic environments. Networks now operate more like busy airports or train stations at peak hour.
Trying to protect and defend your data from attack using a static “moat” is an approach that’s no longer fit-for-purpose.
This is where the thoughtful unification and application of two modern security principles –SASE and zero trust – becomes the sensible choice.
Zero trust operates on the assumption that you “don’t trust anybody,” and they’ll only be granted access to your network and the data residing within it once they’ve proven that they’re authorized to do so. Users and devices need to pass rigorous identity verification and access management tests to be afforded this trust.
SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) is an approach that unites comprehensive WAN capabilities along with advanced network security functions to support organizations’ dynamic secure access needs. It’s effective in protecting cloud services, networks, and the data and apps that run over them – from the corporate headquarters to the users at home to the edge (including sensors and IoT devices in manufacturing facilities and smart buildings, for example.)
When SASE meets zero-trust, businesses have a far better chance of fending off unauthorized attempts to access their data and other assets, irrespective of the configuration or design of their network architecture.
This is what enterprises need at the very least in a world where cybercriminals are swiftly side-stepping multiple authentication layers.
But there’s more…
Solving the Password Problem
There’s one more issue that needs to be addressed: the password and credentials conundrum.
Today, too many traditional authentication and authorization approaches still use and depend on passwords and user credentials.
These can be lost or stolen or shared and reused, which renders them unsound and unreliable mechanisms on which to base identity and access management.
Most security breaches result from compromised credentials. Remember the May 2021 ransomware attack against the Colonial Pipeline, which significantly impacted the flow of refined oil across the country? Hackers breached Colonial’s systems using a single compromised password. This allowed them to enter the company’s networks through a virtual private network (VPN) account.
As soon as cybercriminals have accessed credentials and passwords, they can use them to skip through authentication steps. Worse still, their presence often goes undetected for months, during which time they’ve had the opportunity to cause untold damage or loss.
Passwordless authentication and authorization allow businesses to bypass these issues. They pave the way for secure logins without the need to secure user passwords, thanks to their use of advanced encryption algorithms.
Data Network Security: Where to Next?
With so many devices connecting and communicating with one another over wired, wireless, and cellular networks, effective data network security isn’t a nice-to-have; it’s imperative.
It’s worth noting that responsible and future-looking businesses recognize that even today’s more modern data network security and authentication systems that use encryption algorithms (rather than passwords) have a limited ability to defend against the next data network security specter looming large on the horizon – the quantum security threat.
Quantum computers can process information at speeds exponentially faster than classical computers. But the downside is that this also gives them the power to potentially crack existing encryption algorithms that protect so much of the world’s Internet-based data.
At some point, better and more complex algorithms simply won’t be enough. Quantum computing is changing the rules of the cybersecurity game. We need to change with it or risk getting blown away.
Industry and Government are not sitting idly by. NIST in the USA has been spearheading an open program to identify and develop new approaches that will help form basis of network security in the years ahead. The current efforts around Post Quantum Cryptography can be found here.
Quantropi is bound to be the standard for next-generation cybersecurity – true quantum safety you can count on today, and Perfect Secrecy you can trust forever, no matter what the future network or threat.
Our patented technology expresses quantum mechanics algorithmically to encrypt data in transit – without requiring the processing power of a quantum computer. This unique capability makes ours the first company in the world to offer true, secure transport of quantum keys over today’s Internet, allowing users to exchange quantum-encrypted data using their own existing platforms.
Schedule an appointment with one of our specialists today!