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Reshaping Security Landscapes: The Essence of Cyber Transformation

Reshaping Security Landscapes: The Essence of Cyber Transformation

Blog Article Published: 09/15/2023

Written by S Sreekumar, Vice President and Global Practice Head, Infra & Cloud Security, Cybersecurity & GRC Services, HCLTech and Andy Carelli, Senior Director, Ecosystems, GSI Solutions Management, Palo Alto Networks.

Reshaping Security Landscapes: The Essence of Cyber Transformation

Transforming enterprise cybersecurity infrastructure, processes, and programs will be a critical initiative for businesses of all sizes. Accelerating business growth will rely on evaluating the efficacy, efficiency, and performance, as well as the ongoing investments of the cybersecurity estate.

The increasing frequency and sophistication of cyber threats, as well as the mounting complexity of the cybersecurity estate for most organizations, has created an opportunity to modernize cybersecurity within every aspect of digital operations. According to a recent report by Palo Alto Networks, 96% of 1300 global cybersecurity executives surveyed said that they experienced at least one breach or incident in the past year. Within the same report, 77% of security executives believed that reducing the number of security solutions and services they use will be critical to improving cyber efficacy, efficiency, and investments. Cyber transformation initiatives will be essential to mitigate risks better, improve resiliency, maximize investments, and maintain trust with employees, partners, and customers in the digital landscape.

What Is Cyber Transformation?

The fundamental concept behind Cyber transformation is to ensure that the cybersecurity strategy is built into and aligned with every aspect of the business to accelerate digital transformation. This holistic approach requires rationalizing an organization's current security technologies, providers, structure, and infrastructure against key priorities within an organization.

Key Priorities:

  • Accommodate the needs of a growing hybrid workforce.
  • Manage customer expansion strategies that increase data access requirements.
  • Integrate a diverse partner ecosystem that introduces new access points and devices on the network and expands the enterprise attack surface.
  • Exercise control over multi-cloud environments with the growing pace of cloud migration and application modernization projects.
  • Govern the growing use of automation-driven solutions, incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies.
  • Meet staffing requirements given a scarcity of qualified applicants.
  • Address mounting compliance and regulatory requirements.

Cyber transformation will play a critical role in enabling an organization to address key business priorities without compromising performance, efficacy, or capabilities. This will require an increased shift from a reactive to a proactive and strategic cybersecurity approach.

Key Trends Driving Cyber Transformation

Network Security

As organizations accelerate digital transformation, they are experiencing challenges with their traditional networks and network security architecture. Organizations struggle to deliver consistent security and optimized experiences for increasingly cloud-delivered apps and services across a growing hybrid or remote workforce with legacy networking and security infrastructures. Traditional hub-and-spoke architectures that backhaul traffic to centralized data centers for security policy enforcement and inspection don't scale and result in poor user experiences. Moreover, inconsistent policies, varying user access locations and device preferences present additional security gaps.

Converging networking and security in the cloud around a Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) addresses these challenges. SASE is the convergence of wide-area networking and network security services that include FWaaS, SWG, CASB and ZTNA technologies into a single, cloud-delivered service model. An effective SASE solution must converge SD-WAN and security into a single, integrated offering that delivers consistent protection with a high-performance experience for all users, regardless of location.

Cloud Security

Applications are predominantly being deployed across multi-cloud and hybrid-cloud environments. In The State of Cloud Native Security report from Palo Alto Networks, 69% of organizations in 2022 host more than half of their workloads in the cloud.

Whether reallocating server workloads from on-premises infrastructure to the cloud or modernizing applications via cloud-native application architectures, organizations can't rely solely on the cloud service provider for the security of their cloud infrastructure. Security risks and vulnerabilities are residents at every stage of the code-to-cloud journey (Code & Build, Deploy and Run). As applications are deployed across multi-cloud and hybrid-cloud environments, the level of complexity and risk grows. A single misconfiguration in the build stage can result in many vulnerable deployments, which leads to compromises (worst case) or an overwhelming number of alerts (best case) at runtime. Overly permissive access to applications, workloads and APIs can lead to the compromise of cloud services and cloud accounts. Confidential, sensitive, or protected data at rest and in-flight may be subject to data exfiltration by individuals inside and outside an organization.

Many organizations evaluate the sprawl of cloud security tools being leveraged, given the rapid acceleration of multi-cloud and hybrid-cloud environments, and leverage a standards-based cloud-native application protection platform (CNAPP) as a comprehensive cloud-native security platform.

SOC Operations

Given the burnout rates and shortage of security analysts, organizations are increasingly looking to modernize their security operations centers (SOCs). The typical SOC operates on data silos, fragmented tools, limited cloud visibility, aging security information and event management (SIEM) technology, and manual SOC analyst-driven processes. The growing volume and complexity of threats make traditional methods of detection and response insufficient, pushing organizations to transform their cybersecurity landscape and adopt automated tools and AIOps for rapid and accurate threat management.

SOC transformation drives the need to improve detection, response, analyst experience and continuous risk reduction. The use of advanced machine learning to build an intelligent data foundation is needed to enhance automated detection in real-time, apply AI-driven response measures, improve operational efficiency, and combat the cybersecurity skills shortage challenge. According to a recent report by Palo Alto Networks, the SOC is ground zero for the effective deployment of AI/ML technologies, with an automation-first SOC leading to more effective threat detection and security outcomes.

Consolidation with Best of Breed Platforms

The fragmented approach to cybersecurity, with numerous point solutions and tools, cannot keep up with the pace of change in cybersecurity. Attempting to coordinate different systems can delay detection, response, and remediation times, putting a strain on cybersecurity personnel and infrastructure.

Adapting to Cybersecurity Trends

Organizations should adopt a strategically phased approach to cyber transformation by following these primary recommendations:

  • Prioritize efforts based on risk and improve security risk profiles.
  • Invest in up-leveling cybersecurity skills across teams.
  • Foster a collaborative and continuous learning culture for cybersecurity.
  • Partner with Cyber transformation experts.

Initiating the Cyber Transformation Journey — Where to Start and Why?

A Cyber transformation journey varies for every organization, yet it often starts with a comprehensive security risk assessment. This step helps identify vulnerabilities, assess exposure to threat vectors and evaluate overall cybersecurity resilience. It involves examining the current security infrastructure, policies, procedures, regulatory compliance status and the potential impact of a breach. A comprehensive assessment enables an organization to make informed decisions, stay ahead of evolving threats, future-proof new technologies, and primarily mobilize a plan to enhance its security posture.

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