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Now a Leader in Single-Vendor SASE.

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3 Key Use Cases Along the SASE & Zero Trust Journey

Dec 27 2022

In the first part of this blog series, I took a look at how an understanding of digital strategy and digital risk is key to starting a security transformation journey. And in the second, I dug further into how a secure access service edge (SASE) architecture with security service edge (SSE) capabilities and zero trust principles can help mitigate the types of digital risk. In this final part, I will outline a few key use cases to show all of these elements in action:

Creating continuous adaptive trust

An analyst in an organization needs to access various publically avaiable market data websites and SaaS applications. They will use this information to enrich internal data which will then be used to drive decision making.  

But, some of these sites and apps have been identified as risky. Rather than blocking access to these sites and apps, SSE capabilities can be used to safely allow the analyst to access the data. Here’s how:

  • Threat protection helps identify and neutralize incoming threats
  • Remote browser isolation (RBI) can direct the analyst to the sites via RBI and reduce the risk.
  • Data loss prevention (DLP) policies allow access as there is no sensitive data being used in this process
  • Action Awareness allows the analyst to only download in this process.

As a result, the analyst is not blocked or prevented from accessing the information and services they need, nor, have they been granted access without relevant controls creating excessive risk for the organization.  

The analyst can now perform their work, access the data they need, and their role is enabled to create value for the organization, supporting business growth, by the very nature of the business process and function they can safely perform.

Enabling secure collaboration between organizations

Consider two investment bankers from two different banks who are working on a deal and need to share documents. Both organizations use O365 and SharePoint as the standard platform for sharing data with third-parties, with Bank 2 holding the primary records on their SharePoint.

Banker A, from Bank 1, needs to access Bank 2’s SharePoint to collaborate on the documents with Banker B from Bank 2.  

Here’s how leveraging SSE capabilities can safely enable this access:

  • Threat protection helps identify and neutralize incoming threats (e.g. any malware in documents)
  • Instance Awareness allows Banker A to access the O365 instances of both Bank 1 and Bank 2 only, while blocking all other instances of O365.
  • Action  Awareness allows Banker A to perform only the actions that they need to in order to perform their work. Actions not needed, for example, download, delete, or share, can be restricted, enforcing the principle of least privilege.  

This way, Banker A is not blocked from Bank 2’s instance of O365 nor have they been granted an exception that opens up access to all instances of O365 which would result in creating excessive risk for Bank 1. 

As a result, value is created for the organization by enabling the normal course of business and risk is managed within appetite allowing the organization to deliver on its strategic agenda.

Leveraging ZTNA to keep IP secures

For this last use case, consider an organization that needs to collaborate with multiple third-parties. In order to do this, they need to expose services and applications that are hosted on Cloud IaaS environments or within their own data center (on-prem).  

Rather than expose the entire application and subsequently, the underlying technology stack, the organization can leverage zero trust network access (ZTNA) to provide this access and apply fine grained access controls to this access. They can apply policy based on a variety of data points, including identity, user behavior, data sensitivity, device, and threat, to continuously evaluate these signals and adapt access as needed, based on risk.  In addition, using ZTNA, the underlying IP and technology stack is not exposed, significantly reducing the attack surface and creating application segmentation, further limiting the blast radius.

The following SSE capabilities can be used to safely allow collaboration with third-parties:

  • Threat protection helps to identify and neutralize any incoming threats
  • Remote browser isolation directs third-parties to the services or applications they need to access, reducing risk.
  • Data loss prevention policies  allow access based on data that is being used in the specific process
  • ZTNA only exposes the application to the user and full VPN access or exposure of the underlying host is not required, reducing the attack surface.

Conclusion

For organizations to succeed in the digital world, they must transform and build an underlying technology architecture that will support their future growth, enable value creation for the business without stifling innovation or collaboration, have strategies to address digital risk, and be able to flexible enough to adapt to new use cases and requirements as the organization evolves. In support of this, security transformation is a must and a new way of protecting an organization, its users, and digital assets, needs to be integral to that transformation. Technologies and architectures such as SASE, SSE and zero trust need to be firmly rooted as part of this program in order to ensure digital resilience and digital value creation.

Learn more about how Netskope provides SSE capabilities here.

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David Fairman
David Fairman is an experienced CSO/CISO, strategic advisory, investor and coach. He has extensive experience in the global financial services sector. In 2015, David was named as one of the Top 10 CISOs to know, and is seen as a thought leader in the cyber security industry as profiled by K-Logix.

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