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Juniper Networks 2023 Predictions: Combatting Threat Predators with SASE and Zero Trust


Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2023.  Read them in this 15th annual series exclusive.

Combatting Threat Predators with SASE and Zero Trust

By Mike Spanbauer, Senior Director and Technology Evangelist, Juniper Networks

While the Covid-19 pandemic may be officially "over" in many parts of the world, we're continuing to notice its effects in various aspects of everyday life - and the threat landscape is no exception. You may be tired of hearing the word "uncertainty," but if there's one thing we've learned over the past few years, it's that uncertainty creates the perfect storm for cybercriminals. Fortunately, cyber pros across the industry have been working doubly hard to develop and deploy new technologies to anticipate and detect threats, and ultimately stop bad actors before they can do lasting damage. That's why in 2023, you can expect to see both sides of the coin continuing to hustle toward their goals; chaos and increased cyberattacks from the "bad guys," and innovation and security investments from cyber leaders. Here are my predictions on how this will all come to a head:

The pandemic continues to fuel opportunity for bad actors. Threat "Predators" are still feasting on a world gripped by uncertainty. As the last few years have shown, uncertainty offers more potential for threat actors to exploit, and the methods that have been successful over the last couple of years remain a principal threat. Phishing and other social engineering mechanisms are still effective, and despite advances in rapid reputation validation, the first few targets are much more exposed than targets a little further along the timeline in a campaign. This highlights the continued need for investments in effective user awareness training coupled with continued improvements in process, identity and policy enforcement tools, and above all improvements in the threat intelligence community. Strides have been made, but there is still room for improvement; the stakes are higher than ever and worth the additional investments.

Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) adoption will continue to accelerate; however, now customers are more carefully assessing the solutions and path that's right for them. Teams will be more carefully calculating the operational costs of disparate policy formats, as well as the additional burden on the teams responsible for managing heritage onsite firewalls while adding the new service-based cloud offerings (existing data center investments and private applications aren't going away anytime soon!). After all, these format inconsistencies create fractures in policy and security efficacy, which actors look for. All that's needed is one foothold, and once the initial policy barrier is bypassed, a critical line of defense is disarmed.

Zero Trust and its implementation is going to remain a focused effort for every organization. However, discerning what's real and what's vapor is hard with the language blurring between vendors. Fundamentally, organizations need a plan to ensure they can see, manage or control and deal with connections everywhere. To break it down though, Zero Trust is a concept that applies to any connection, physical or logical, and the applied behavior or use policies of that connection. Every connection should be controlled and either permitted or denied based on validation and appropriate use. And no, I'm not just referring to connecting to the Wi-Fi, but rather every transmission control protocol (TCP) or user datagram protocol (UDP) connection, every http/s request or any transaction that traverses an environment that may compromise a business (yes, that's pretty much everything, everywhere). To make it easier for the customers to effectively choose solutions that address various needs in the environment, the industry needs more candid and direct guidance from both the technology providers as well as customer success stories that detail how they've delivered on the frameworks (NIST's for example). How to, and not, "what could be!"




Mike Spanbauer is a Senior Director and Technology Evangelist for Juniper Networks. Mike's work and expertise in network and security advisory, consulting, and product strategy over the last 25 years provides a breadth of perspective across network and security execution, as well as approaches to solve for operational and governance needs that organizations face. He most recently served as Vice President of Research Strategy for NSS Labs, driving the enterprise research and consulting practice for NSS' global clients. Prior to that, Mike held leadership roles at Current Analysis and HP in research, strategy, and competitive intelligence.

Published Thursday, November 03, 2022 7:33 AM by David Marshall
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