The benefits of cybersecurity mesh for distributed enterprises

The benefits of cybersecurity mesh for distributed enterprises
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by Sanjeev Kapoor 13 May 2022

In the era of globalization enterprises possess decentralized assets that reside in different locations. A cybersecurity mesh is an approach to securing decentralized assets. In most cases the assets of a cybersecurity mesh are distributed across different hybrid and multi-cloud environments. Moreover, they are typically accessed by a wide range of devices and applications.

Cybersecurity meshes are critical for protecting IT (Information Technology) developments against cyberattacks and ensuring business continuity. They will be particularly important in the future, as more organizations move their operations to cloud infrastructures and multi-cloud environments. From a structural perspective, cybersecurity meshes are made up of multiple layers of security controls that work together to protect an enterprise from a variety of threats, including malware, viruses, phishing attacks and others. In principle, the more layers in a mesh, the better IT security and protection from cyberthreats it can provide.

Cybersecurity mesh networks consist of many autonomous entities that work together to provide security services. These entities can be loosely controlled by a central authority or set of rules. They are designed to address the challenges posed by a global economy that has become increasingly distributed due to outsourcing, offshoring and telecommuting trends.

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Benefits of a Cybersecurity Mesh in the era of Decentralization

The cybersecurity mesh distributed architectural approach provides flexible, scalable and reliable cybersecurity control. It also boosts the standardization and the responsive of the enterprise security paradigm. The standardized security approach of a mesh enables enterprises to respond quickly to threats and attacks without having to wait for updates from vendors or other third parties. Hence, it enables them to implement powerful security and threat intelligence policies.

In practice, a cybersecurity mesh architecture redefines the perimeter around the identity of a person or thing. As already outlined, the mesh is made up of multiple layers of security controls and technologies, including endpoint protection, gateway protection and network segmentation. This approach allows you to protect an organization’s most sensitive data wherever it lives — in the cloud or on-premises. It also helps reducing risk exposure to other parts of your network. Specifically, the cybersecurity mesh helps prevent hackers from exploiting different parts of a given network by combining and activating multiple security controls between the intrusion point and sensitive data. Based on a combination of endpoint protection, gateway protection and network segmentation, it is possible to create zones where only certain devices have access to certain resources. This structure makes it more difficult for hackers to reach their intended targets without raising red flags along the way.

In addition to providing better protection against external threats, the cybersecurity mesh helps organizations create better internal controls as well. When each part of an organization’s digital ecosystem has its own set of rules, processes and procedures for responding to threats, it becomes much easier to prevent attacks from malicious insiders.

Furthermore, a decentralized, standards-based cybersecurity mesh approach provides the following additional benefits:

  • Improved visibility: You can monitor traffic coming into and out of your network and identify threats before they enter or leave your network. This makes it easier to respond quickly if you have an incident or attack occur within your organization or on your network perimeter.
  • Reduced complexity: By deploying multiple solutions that work together, you reduce complexity and increase efficiency while lowering costs associated with managing multiple solutions independently.
  • Greater scalability: You can add new layers of defense, when necessary, without impacting existing layers. This enables a very scalable approach, where new security mechanisms can be seamlessly added on top of legacy security controls.


How to Build a Cybersecurity Mesh

A cybersecurity mesh is typically constructed by bringing together a series of discrete solutions, such as on-premises firewalls, cloud-based security services and third-party managed security service providers. These solutions can be deployed in an overlapping fashion to provide coverage for all areas of the business. The goal is to achieve continuous visibility into traffic across the entire network, which provides better protection at each point along the way than traditional point solutions.

Two of the most prominent ways to implement a cybersecurity mesh are:

  • Placing policy enforcement points at strategic locations within the network where you can enact your policies. These policy enforcement points may include firewalls, routers, switches or even Internet of Things (IoT) devices themselves if needed. This allows for centralized policy management and enforcement services that can be used by all nodes in the network with minimal configuration overhead for each node. For instance, there is no need for Virtual Private Network (VPN) tunnels or direct connectivity between systems.
  • Using a lightweight agent on each node that runs periodic checks against its peers. In case any anomalies are detected, it can send out alerts through its own channels (e.g., email). If an attacker has compromised one system in one location, then he/she will have access to everything else connected to that device through this channel. Therefore, the communication of alerts provides an effective way to identify cybersecurity issues in a highly decentralized environment.


The cybersecurity mesh is a new way of looking at enterprise protection. In the coming years we will see more enterprises using it as standard practice, especially as physical security grows weaker, digital security becomes stronger, and enterprises improve their cyber awareness. Cybersecurity mesh infrastructures will not replace the firewall and VPN solutions of today. However, they wil continue to improve and develop along with cybersecurity as a whole, ensuring that modern organizations that choose to go this route are well prepared for future cybersecurity needs. It is always good to remember that a single point of failure can be exploited, but never a mesh; if one node is compromised it does not cascade failure to other nodes on the mesh. Thus, security teams need to envision and embrace such distributed cyber-mesh architectures as part of their cyber threat intelligence efforts. At the same time, Chief Security Information Officers must integrate cybersecurity meshes in their medium- and long-term solutions portfolio.

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