A whole is more than the sum of its parts. This quote, by the Greek philosopher Aristoteles, has a greater meaning today than ever before. In these times of digitalisation, interlinking constant networking and agile working and having a holistic view of individual events are indispensable. With regard to IT security, this means avoiding standalone solutions, instead viewing a company’s security landscape holistically. “This is exactly Microsoft’s approach. Shun standalone solutions and move towards a holistic approach to IT security”, explains Michael Stachowski, Business Development Manager for Microsoft Security at Bechtle Logistik & Service GmbH in Neckarsulm. “Microsoft’s solutions harmonise perfectly in order to provide companies with the best possible levels of security giving IT not just an overview, but also enabling them to take direct (automated) countermeasures.”
When considering Microsoft’s security solutions, one factor above all others is critical to understand: the Zero Trust model. Trust nothing and no-one, even when it’s behind the firewall! This is the foundation of Zero Trust. “It’s very important to be able to check at any time if anything has gone awry. We also need to be able to see if what is happening is accurate”, says Michael Stachowski. Companies need to ensure that each object, identity and behaviour is not dangerous and always assume that something could happen at any time. “In terms of IT, this means that both internal and external threats exist in the network all the time. This means that the network location alone is not enough to decide if it can be trusted. On the contrary, every single user and network flow has to be identified and authorised”, explains Stachowski.
This factor makes Zero trust stand out from the crowd of conventional security approaches, which view users, devices and services within the own network as being potentially trustworthy and everything outside being potentially dangerous. The downside is that if hackers gain access to the company network, there is almost nothing that can be done to avoid damage. “The Microsoft approach, however, is to be suspicious of everything. This modular, harmonised security concept puts data and application access front and centre meaning that users, devices and applications are protected no matter where they are”, says Michael Stachowski.
In a modern security approach, the identity and assigned permissions become new parameters. The control and management of identities, i.e. identity management, are therefore of considerable importance to businesses. “For example, it is no longer necessary that a user has access to all data and applications 24x7, and so access can be limited to a certain time period and a certain device”, explains the security expert. “Modern security approaches demand a new way of thinking—multi-factor authentication, intelligent security solutions, data classification and containerised applications are just a few examples of how companies can optimally protect themselves in the age of digitalisation.”
Taking a look at German businesses often paints another picture. The German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) 2019 report of IT security in Germany states that ransomware continues to pose the biggest threats to businesses, authorities and other institutions and stresses that cyber-attacks have reached a whole new level of sophistication. Users are “digitally helpless” and products and systems are often “insufficiently, structurally secured”. “Companies have to have a rethink and change management for both IT and users is vital. I would recommend to companies that are using a conventional security approach to get in touch with an external specialist”, says Michael Stachowski. “Their IT and entire infrastructure need to be analysed and a roadmap to a modern security approach developed. This is the only way companies can stay one step ahead of hackers.
Business Development Manager Microsoft Security
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Published on Mar 23, 2020.