Re-envision network security with an ‘inverted’ perimeter

As the bulk of work flows increasingly outside traditional enterprise security barriers, agencies need to rethink network security paradigms.
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When the National Association of State Chief Information Officers issued its annual list IT priorities heading into 2020, security, cloud services and innovation and transformation ranked prominently on the list.

The pandemic forced state and local agency CIOs to fast-track all three priorities. But as workers suddenly required access to agency resources from anywhere and everywhere, the pandemic also heightened the need for a different perspective on security disciplines, says a new report.


Read the full report.

The bulk of digital work, traditionally protected within enterprises, has moved “inside-out” — effectively inverting where enterprises must focus their IT security attention.

At the same time, the collection of security tools that protect the physical enterprise and agency networks no longer align with the scale of digital transformation for the remote workforce, according Matthew Schneider, vice president for state, local and education markets at Palo Alto Networks.

“[Agencies] can’t lift and shift the technology that’s built on IP addresses to a technology like containers, because these applications that don’t rely on IP addresses; they rely on understanding the workload all the way through … the user experience, with a consistent understanding of user visibility and context,” he explains in the report, produced by StateScoop and underwritten by Palo Alto Networks.

As more users, devices, applications, services and data are located outside of a government building, investing in legacy security controls and point solutions will be “a road to diminishing returns,” says the report. That is driving organizations to turn to “secure access service edge” — or SASE solutions — like Palo Alto Networks’ Prisma Access and other security-as-a-service capabilities.

SASE solutions are expected to increase dramatically the report says, citing research from Gartner which estimates that by 2024, at least 40% of enterprises will have explicit strategies to adopt SASE, compared to less than 1% at year-end 2018.

“We’ve recognized a couple of things,” Schneider explains. “It’s not just about connectivity. It’s about secure access to all of your applications and all of your tools. We’re allowing critical resources to go home with our users.”

“If you look at how much of the industry has approached zero trust, it’s been primarily zero trust inside of my network,” Schneider says. However, the extended operating environment makes it essential to “have a control plane, across the enterprise, all the way out to that end user, and that end user’s device, and then the context of that trust, all the way through the workflow session.”

The pandemic has only fast-tracked an existing enterprise security paradigm as organizations adapt to a multi-cloud world. The distributed workforce, and rush to scale services into the cloud, means that state and local government leaders need a holistic and agile approach to security.

The report highlights new research from Palo Alto networks and Accenture Security on the rapid evolution of cloud native security, including the fact that 6 in 10 organizations use between two and five cloud platforms, forcing enterprises to look toward single end-to-end cloud security solutions.

The report also touches on the nature of fourth generation firewall capabilities and offers five recommendations for building a more modern enterprise security platform.

Learn more how Palo Alto Networks can help agencies secure their IT future.

This article was produced by StateScoop and sponsored by Palo Alto Networks.

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