An In-Depth Look at Software-Defined Perimeters
How Are SDPs Helping Businesses Stay Safe?
A software-defined perimeter, also known as SDP, is a security framework that restricts access to resources on the basis of an individual’s identification.
The SDP is created to hide an organization’s infrastructure from outsiders while still allowing authorized users access to the infrastructure.
Through the implementation of the SDP approach, the goal of establishing the basis of the network perimeter as software rather than hardware will be attained. An organization that uses an SDP is, in essence, covering its servers and other infrastructure so that it cannot be seen from the outside; however, authorized users are still able to access the infrastructure, therefore allowing companies to maintain a high level of security.
At the network layer, rather than the application layer, a software-defined perimeter forms a virtual barrier around the assets of an organization. This separates it from typical access-based limitations, which limit the rights of users but enable extensive network access.
How Does an SDP Work?
If an SDP is in place, unauthorized users should not be able to connect to a server through any method, even if it is technically available, as SDPs provide access to users only after:
- confirming user identification
- analyzing the status of the device
Following successful authentication of both the user and the device, the SDP will proceed to establish an individual network connection between the device in question and the server it will attempt to visit. An authenticated user is not signed in to a broader network but rather is granted their own network connection that no one else can access and that only contains the services that the user has permitted access to.
Why Use a Software-Defined Security?
The most significant change brought by SDN is the transition from hardware to software.
This transition not only indicates the future of networking but also illustrates the nature of the changing cyber threat scenario and the more complicated security concerns that are ahead.
As the network edge gradually disappears, the Internet of Things will become an even greater security concern. Enterprises will require comprehensive approaches to endpoint security to expedite operations, minimize the number of endpoint protection technologies, and eventually offer greater protection for all devices that connect to the corporate network.
Millions of insecure IoT devices endanger the security environment for networks. As IoT devices grow more popular, bad actors may exploit weaknesses in these devices to conduct DDoS and other attacks, and as attack vectors are becoming more complex, the security of an enterprise’s network must serve as protection for data and assets.
Benefits of Software-Defined Perimeter
- Effective and adaptable protection against intrusions and other security breaches.
- Hardware cost reduction, as SDP is based on the virtualization of the network security applications.
- Use of already existing network equipment, even if such appliances do not enable more sophisticated procedures for traffic monitoring.
- Implement dynamic configuration of pre-existing network nodes as a means of mitigating the effects of an attack.
- Unified perspective on the logical security rules that are in place inside the SDN controller architecture but are not connected to any specific server or hardware security appliance.
- Visibility of information from one source.
- Integration with advanced applications to simplify the process of event correlation and enable a response.
- Facilitates IoT & BYOD safe connectivity.
How do SDPs Relate to Zero Trust Security?
Zero Trust is a model for network security that is largely based on the idea that organizations should not trust anyone or any device, system, or workload by default, neither within nor outside of the organization’s security perimeter. As a result, organizations using this model are required to verify every single connection before allowing access to their network.
The zero-trust security approach is based on the philosophy that one should “never trust and always verify,” which essentially implies that apps and data are only accessible to individuals and devices that have been verified as legitimate and authenticated. This is in contrast to conventional methods of network security, which operate under the assumption that all users inside the organization can be trusted, while users from outside the organization cannot be trusted.
The core tenet of the zero-trust security architecture is that it should make it more difficult for attackers to travel laterally across a network by restricting their access privileges as they go from one subnet to another. This should make it more likely that an attacker will be stopped in their tracks. Trust is established based on context, which may include things like the user’s identity and location, the security posture of the endpoint, or the app or service that is being requested. Policy checks are performed at each level.
In Zero Trust security, there is no trust, as the name suggests; no individual, device, or network is deemed trustworthy by default. This means that you cannot rely on any of them. Zero-trust security is a security paradigm that mandates stringent identity verification for every person or device that attempts to get access to a company’s internal resources, regardless of whether or not that person or device is located within or outside the network perimeter. This is the case regardless of whether or not that person or device is located inside or outside the network perimeter (or, the software-defined perimeter).
Employing an SDP is one of the ways that a Zero Trust security model may be put into practice. Users and their devices must both be validated before being allowed to connect, and once connected, they are only granted the amount of network access that is necessary. No piece of hardware, not even the laptop that is owned by the CEO of the firm, is able to establish a network connection with a resource that it is not authorized to use. This includes the CEO’s personal laptop.
Implement Zero-Trust with Heimdal™
Following the last recommended best practice, we want to let you know that we have a product that facilitates zero-trust implementation effortlessly: it’s called Privileged Access Management and supports a zero-trust function.
Heimdal® Privileged Access Management
- Automate the elevation of admin rights on request;
- Approve or reject escalations with one click;
- Provide a full audit trail into user behavior;
- Automatically de-escalate on infection;
PAM is an automated tool that permits you to escalate and deescalate user rights, giving you full control and protection of over-privileged permissions within your organization.
Software-defined perimeters have the potential to lessen the dangers posed by a wide variety of attack types, including cross-site scripting, denial-of-service, SQL injection, application vulnerability exploits, and man-in-the-middle attacks.
When it comes to tools, rest assured that Heimdal’s suite of solutions is always at your disposal. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and find out which of our products are right for your organization.