Requirements for Secure Digital Transformation

In a digital enterprise, outpacing the competition requires quick thinking as well as agile business and security practices. IT teams are undergoing tremendous change to stay ahead, embracing innovations in the cloud, automation and big data analytics to speed application delivery and enable digital transformation. Meanwhile, the perimeter has expanded – data is becoming increasingly distributed, and users, devices and applications are everywhere. As a result, IT leaders are consistently challenged to minimize risk while keeping pace with evolving business demands.

To outpace cybercriminals, who continue to launch a growing number of increasingly sophisticated, automated attacks at lower and lower costs, organizations continue to spend on security, yet they don't often see a clear risk reduction. As data breaches continue to disrupt business in the increasingly cloud-driven world, it's clear the traditional approach to cybersecurity doesn't cut it. Legacy security tools and techniques designed for traditional data centers don't work in the public cloud. Likewise, these same legacy tools and techniques weren't built for automation, requiring analysts to manually stitch together insights before acting.

Securing digital transformation without slowing down the business requires a new school of cybersecurity thought. An integrated approach – harnessing the agility of the cloud along with the power of automation and analytics – will simplify operations and bring about better security outcomes with less effort. This paper discusses the cybersecurity model of the future and the three key elements it provides to effectively secure your business. When evaluating your next security vendor, consider these characteristics as the catalysts to secure digital transformation so your leadership team can focus on blazing the trail to business growth and success.

Point Products Are No Match for Automated Cybercriminals

A siloed security approach, using multiple security tools from different vendors to solve for narrow use cases, results in a fragmented security environment in which IT teams must manually correlate data to implement actionable protections. This does not scale when battling cyber adversaries who use automation to wage sophisticated attacks at higher and higher volumes. If your security ecosystem is unable to inform or collaborate with other products, let alone automatically coordinate or communicate with other capabilities in the network, your organization is forced to rely on your least-scalable resource to fight machine-generated attacks: people.

Any cybercriminal can quickly learn how to use the array of commonly available malicious tools at their disposal and go from targeting to exploiting to a successful attack in a matter of minutes. We cannot keep trying to defend against this using the same disconnected point product techniques of the past. As attackers evolve, so must we. Security products need to be cloud-delivered and use big data analytics and automation in the same way IT teams are using these capabilities for their digital transformation. These three core components make up an integrated, orchestrated security platform to minimize the opportunity for attack and empower your organization with the efficiency required to prevent successful cyberattacks.

Cloud-Delivered Security – Get an Agile, Scalable Ecosystem

Consuming cybersecurity innovations has become an arduous process. Organizations waste time deploying new sensors every time they want to collect a new piece of data, and they manage point products rather than improving security controls to stay ahead of attackers and prevent threats. Instead, imagine a world where it's easy to quickly and efficiently add new security capabilities that help you stay one step ahead of the bad guys.

A cloud-delivered approach creates a scalable ecosystem of security apps and innovation that lets teams focus on new capabilities instead of spending time deploying and operating them. Cloud-delivered security infrastructure consolidates network, cloud and endpoint log data, and organizes the data for analytics. Ecosystem applications can analyze this log data and utilize shared threat intelligence from a global community of contributors. The actionable security insights translate into immediate security value and operational efficiencies. You can solve an endless number of the most challenging security use cases with the best technology available, without the cost and operational burden of deploying new infrastructure for each security technology embraced.

Cloud-delivered security arms IT, security and developer teams with the tools they need to secure their IP, data, innovation and long-term success across the entire IT infrastructure, from the cloud to the network, endpoints and mobile devices. With the ability to tap into an open ecosystem of trusted innovators, your organization can spend less time provisioning and managing infrastructure, and more time on what really matters to the longevity and success of the business.

Analytics – Confidently Automate Prevention and Prioritize Your Business

As IT networks grow in capacity and complexity, so do the volume and sophistication of threats and attacks. The "2018 Data Breach Investigations Report" from Verizon® acknowledges more than 53,000 incidents and 2,216 confirmed data breaches in only 12 months.2 With traditional methods of cybersecurity, the process of analyzing, correlating and responding to such a vast number of events and potential threats is difficult to scale. The sheer volume of alerts can easily overwhelm security teams, making them miss the critical, actionable ones.

Big data analytics uncovers hidden patterns, correlations and other insights to provide security teams with real-time, actionable intelligence. Even then, you need the right data, sourced from everywhere – networks, endpoints, SaaS applications, public clouds, private clouds, datacenters and so on – and that data needs to be ready for analytics. This requires an extensible security ecosystem based on centralized, unified sensor data delivered from the cloud.

Big data alone, however, can be a bit overwhelming. Machine learning can help make big data analytics more effective for your organization's security posture. When an attacker gains access to a network, they often go undetected for months or even years as they steal, modify or destroy sensitive data. Machine learning can create a snapshot of historical patterns of behaviors to distinguish "normal" activity from anomalies, providing focus to accelerate response. From here, the key is to automate routine security tasks so security teams can concentrate on identifying and stopping the most important threats.

Using precise analytics to drive automation, security teams can easily operate security best practices, such as Zero Trust; streamline routine tasks; and focus on business priorities, whether speeding application delivery, improving processes or hunting for threats. Only through the right combination of rich security data, sophisticated analytics and machine learning can your organization achieve the accuracy required to trust automation to do its job – so you can prioritize matters of business over matters of security.

Automation – Bridge the Cybersecurity Skills Gap

A recent joint research project by the Enterprise Strategy Group and Information Systems Security Association found that 28 percent of cybersecurity professionals and ISSA members feel their organizations depend upon too many manual processes for their day-to-day security operations,4 such as chasing down data, investigating false positive alerts or managing remediation tasks. This is exacerbated by a looming shortage of skilled cybersecurity professionals.

Your teams are highly skilled, but there just aren't enough hours in the day to get to everything they should be doing. Through things like automation, advanced analytics and security integration, you can begin to bridge the gap. From the cyber defender's perspective, there are three ways to think about automation:

  • Turn threat detection into prevention.
    Your organization should not spend any time preventing known threats, because prevention should be automatic. The same goes for unknown threats – they need to be automatically analyzed and countered, letting your security teams focus on the things that matter most.
  • Adapt to dynamic environments through context-based access policies.
    Your IT landscape is constantly changing. Your security teams must be able to set policies based on the context of what should be protected: users, data and applications. Context-based policies stand the test of time and adapt to business changes without requiring constant updates.
  • Trigger automated workflows and actions through analytics and machine learning.
    Automation supplies critical leverage against attackers through rich analytics – namely cloud-based analytics and machine learning – so organizations can maintain an edge over adversaries with insight and context around their exploits and techniques. Some threats remain hidden in the data. By looking deeper into the data across the locations and deployment types, you can find threats that may be lurking in plain sight.

A security vendor that offers automation essentially gives you back time to do more valuable, business-critical work. It allows your security teams to move away from basic operational tasks and focus on strategic efforts that directly benefit your organization.

Zero Trust: Your Partner in Secure Digital Transformation

Conventional security models operate on the outdated assumption that everything inside an organization's network can be trusted. However, given increased attack sophistication and insider threats, you need new security measures to stop them from spreading once inside. Because traditional security models are designed to protect the perimeter, threats that get inside the network are left invisible, uninspected, and free to morph and move wherever they choose to extract sensitive, valuable business data. In the digital world, trust is nothing but a vulnerability.

Zero Trust is a data-centric cybersecurity best practice that removes the assumption of trust and provides a reliable baseline for security automation. It's based, first and foremost, on identifying, prioritizing and understanding what you need to protect: your critical assets that, if exposed, would irreparably harm the integrity and reputation of your business. Zero Trust significantly reduces the pathways for attackers and malware – in your network, endpoints and clouds – through policy-driven protection and enforcement for all users, devices, applications and data resources, as well as the communications between them, irrespective of location. The model's core emphasis on aligning to business outcomes, coupled with its effectiveness and efficiency, are why more and more organizations are adopting Zero Trust as an integral component of their security architectures.

Embrace the Future of Cybersecurity

The Palo Alto Networks® Security Operating Platform prevents successful cyberattacks through data-driven automation and takes advantage of precise analytics to streamline routine tasks, letting security teams move out of firefighting mode and prioritize the threats that really matter to the business. Moreover, the platform lets your organization easily adopt best practices, such as Zero Trust, to reduce opportunities for attack and transform your security to a prevention-based architecture.

Through cloud-delivered services, tight integration and an ecosystem of partners, the Security Operating Platform provides consistent security across clouds, networks and endpoints, including servers and mobile devices. The extensible architecture integrates with ecosystem partners so you can maximize your security investments and quickly consume innovations, including a unified security data set, sensors and enforcement points, with custom and third-party security applications. Through the power of the platform, your organization can continually improve its security effectiveness and efficiency.

We must change the way we think about and approach cybersecurity if we are to outpace the increasingly sophisticated, automated cyber adversary. Integrated, automated, cloud-delivered security is the future of successful prevention. You can learn more about the Security Operating Platform here.