A Software Defined Perimeter (SDP) is an advanced network and communication security solution functioning on the zero-trust model of operation. It is based on the black cloud developed by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), wherein knowledge is shared on a need-to-know basis in a black cloud. DDOS, MITM, zero-day vulnerabilities, and server testing are only a few of the threats that an SDP can predominantly protect against.
The perimeter provides an invitation-only (identity-based) security perimeter around users, clients, and IoT devices, in addition to providing an overlay and micro-segmentation for each attached device.
Software-Defined Perimeters (SDP) – Issues and Benefits
One of SDP’s most critical security features is that the SDP Gateway protects the organization’s servers and the SDP infrastructure itself from unauthorized access. When opposed to conventional security infrastructure (such as VPNs), which are directly and easily accessible to attackers using something called as lateral movement attacks, using SDP components in internet-facing roles is comparatively safer.
There are several flaws or risks as well associated with VPNs, as they are vulnerable to a certain extent. Since organizations do not own the physical infrastructure required to properly execute gateways in the public cloud, they are unsuitable for IoT use cases. Furthermore, VPNs struggle to fit the size of the containers commonly deployed in the IoT systems as the connections turn to be unreliable. Also, the endpoint devices are inherently fragile due to their limited hardware, storage, and computing power (usually due to conserving costs).
Micro-segmentation, a security measure adopted by SDP technologies, allows each endpoint in a globally distributed IoT network to construct individual and isolated network segments over the existing network infrastructure, thanks to the multiple overlay networks created using the standard edge components. Any sensor can theoretically be isolated from the others in the IoT Zero Trust scenario. Since services and devices can be separated and secured from each other, this is a powerful tool for allowing seamless and safe enterprise communication for IoT deployments.
Another essential feature of SDP is that all communications between components are encrypted leveraging mutually validated TLS (mTLS). This means that these components can verify one another, understanding and upholding the system’s integrity.
The Need-to-Know Access Model and SDP
Users are only allowed access to specific network services that are deemed authorized and not to an entire subnet or network since SDP is based on a whitelist access policy model. The SDP theory is that application-level authentication offers inadequate protection, and access to a network resource—even without credentials—should be expressly granted.
A Firewall that changes over time
SDP functions as a logical (and, in some cases, physical) firewall, changing network access dynamics based on policies. This allows businesses to build dynamic enclaves, which would enable users to access network services based on membership attributes, including directory group membership.
Access to the Application Layer
SDP’s most dominant feature is that users can only access specific, licensed network resources (referred to as “Applications”), even if they are admin-level services like SSH or RDP. Organizations benefit from a reduced attack surface, the prevention of reconnaissance (such as port scanning) by unauthorized users, and the detection of attempted malicious activity by eliminating all unwanted network-level access.
How does SDP help with SD-WAN?
Software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) is a distributed networking method that creates a mesh of network links that can connect directly to the Internet, other branches, or the data centre depending on the application. SD-WAN gives businesses a long-term alternative to high-latency hub-and-spoke network topologies, as well as cost and efficiency advantages for remote users who want to link directly to the cloud and Internet-connected services when the situation calls for it.
The security conundrum is that this distributed approach makes centralized security monitoring systems ineffective, necessitating the relocation of security controls to the network edge. In a distributed connection model, SDP offers a security architecture that can protect resources. SDP’s technology and location-agnostic technologies work well with SD-WAN architecture, enabling organizations to incorporate essential security controls into the SD-WAN topology.
Experts recommended dropping the jargon and refer to SDP as ubiquitous safe access services (USAS). To decipher this expression, consider the following facts:
- Access controls are designed to link any user/device, from any location to any business application or service, whether on-premises, in public clouds or SaaS data centres, making them ubiquitous.
- Strong authentication, end-to-end encryption, and a trust relationship between source and destination systems make access controls safe. Furthermore, users/devices have direct access to approved applications/services while unauthorized applications/services are blacklisted (and the network itself).
- As defined by USAS, access is designed to meet authorized business access needs and can be controlled by granular access policies. To put it another way, the driver is business access, and everything else is about how we get there.
- Since access controls are provided to all types of users that need safe connectivity to various applications, such security services are provided. In other words, USAS becomes a network service, just like file and print did in the 1990s when they were LAN-based network services.
In a world where cyber threats are continuously mounting, a trustworthy cybersecurity framework is an essential weapon.
To reap the benefits of IoT’s expected adoption rates and allow it to become as effective as it can be across verticals, businesses must resolve the fundamental cybersecurity issues stifling its development. As previously stated, today’s most pressing concern is cybersecurity, which is in no way a frivolous problem. According to a new study from Risk Based Security, there were 3,813 security breaches in the first six months of 2019; that’s around 20 per day.
Software-defined perimeters enable businesses to provide secure cybersecurity in a way that is both lightweight for endpoint devices and efficient for data transmissions from remote locations. The proper application of this approach strengthens the IoT’s line-of-business benefits while stabilizing data transfers through organizations’ networks. This approach has the potential to make a significant difference in transforming IoT predictions into tangible reality.
IoT technologies influence every industry today, with millions of devices deployed globally – thanks to new IoT developments with unbelievable 5G bandwidth capabilities and ultra-low power sensors with decades of battery life. Protection cannot be an afterthought in this current market climate driven by uncertainty. In the meantime, even one negligent step would only limit manageability, responsiveness and cultivate a false sense of complacency.