Understanding IT Security

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What is IT Security?

IT security protects the integrity of information technologies like computer systems, networks, and data from attack, damage, or unauthorised access. A business trying to compete in a world of digital transformation needs to understand how to adopt information security solutions that begin with design. This is what it means to “shift security left”—to make security a part of the infrastructure and product lifecycle as early as possible. This helps security be both proactive and reactive.

Continuous security is fed by a routine system of feedback and adaptation, often handled through the use of automatic checkpoints. Automation ensures fast and effective feedback that doesn’t slow the product lifecycle down. Integrating network security in this way also means that updates and incident responses can be implemented quickly and holistically as the security landscape changes.

Traditionally, IT and cybersecurity was focused on fortifying, maintaining, and policing the data centre and Head Office/Remote Office perimeter—but today that perimeter is dissolving. The way we develop, deploy, integrate, and manage IT  is dramatically changing. Public and hybrid clouds are redistributing responsibility for regulatory compliance and data security across multiple vendors. The adoption of containers at scale requires new methods of analysing, securing, and updating the delivery of applications. Mobile apps are spread across a multitude of devices, and more and more infrastructure is moving from hardware to software. More complicated networks of devices or processes can increase the risk of security compromises, like insider threats or malware.

The traditional ways of managing security aren’t keeping up. Digital transformation demands a change in IT security services and programs—security must be continuous, integrated, and flexible in a digital world.

For some businesses, doing security right means hiring a Business Information Security Officer. BISOs are embedded in the business and involved in the product lifecycle from design to delivery and adoption. Often alongside security analysts, they report to the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) to make sure that security initiatives and concerns are thoughtfully managed and integrated at every stage, balancing security needs with risk to the business to ensure fast delivery that functions as it should.

Zero Trust is an approach to designing network security architectures based on the premise that every interaction begins in an untrusted state. This contrasts with traditional architectures which may determine trustworthiness based on whether communication starts inside a firewall. More specifically, Zero Trust attempts to close gaps in security architectures that rely on implicit trust models and one-time authentication.

Zero Trust architecture has gained popularity because the global cybersecurity threat landscape has evolved, challenging long held assumptions about the inherent trustworthiness of activities inside a network. Well-organized cybercriminals can recruit insiders, and continue to find new ways past the outer shell of traditional security architectures. Sophisticated hackers and commercialized ransomware-as-a-service platforms have also become more widely available, making it easier for new kinds of financially-motivated cybercrime to occur. All of these cyberthreats have the potential to exfiltrate valuable data, disrupt business and commerce, and impact day-to-day life.

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