Serious Question: Is Your Cybersecurity Space-Proof?

Oct 7, 2021
Kenna Security

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Outer space appears to be having a moment. This time, it’s not just nation-states driving interest. Billionaires are launching themselves into the cosmos as a kind of futuristic flex, hoteliers are unveiling plans for an anti-gravity hotel by 2027, and cloud data providers are investing millions to put data centers into orbit

But this seemingly sudden rush to establish a presence beyond our atmosphere is no flash in the astral pan; it’s the latest phase of a very real migration that’s been building steam for decades. So real, in fact, that in 2019, the Trump administration formed the first Space Information and Analysis Sharing Center (IASC) designed to help industry cohorts prepare for and respond to cyberattacks by sharing intelligence on vulnerabilities, mitigation measures, and effective fixes. 

Space technology has been powering our everyday experiences for quite some time; transportation, communication, agriculture all rely on some degree of satellites and space technology. And our growing reliance coupled with the influx of space-based assets over the horizon (and the interconnected networks that support them) could create potentially crippling vulnerabilities across an incomprehensible attack surface.

Good news: The future is here. Bad news: Cybersecurity professionals have their work cut out for them.

Prepare for your perimeter to expand—by lightyears

Over the last year and a half, security leaders have been forced to adapt and quickly stand up environments to support employees working from home. This mass exodus of office workers has blurred traditional infrastructure perimeters, complicating risk remediation and endpoint vulnerability management. As uncertain (and unprecedented) as the pandemic has been, it has underlined the criticality of pivoting quickly and preparing for anything.

The expansion to space is a continuation of this growing need for a state of readiness. Even if you don’t have plans to pile into a rocket anytime soon, you should be taking into account the potential future of interstellar growth and how it will impact your environment, your attack surface, and your efforts to give attackers fewer opportunities to exploit weaknesses in your applications and infrastructure. With more companies and countries establishing a presence in the cosmos and earth-based and space-based networks and activity converging, your supply chain, partners, contractors, or vendors may have a space presence that informs day-to-day security operations. 

Preparing your environment now to support its ever-expanding and evolving perimeter will help you face this fast-approaching reality. 

How to lay the foundation for a limitless future

As far off (or far out) as regular space-based activity might seem, there are meaningful actions you can take now to future-proof your cybersecurity.

Establish a zero-trust network model. The transition to cloud and application-oriented environments really drove the need for tighter control around endpoint management, and the pandemic only served to compound this shift. Many enterprises are well underway in their efforts to adopt zero-trust architecture, which Gartner predicts will reach 60% by 2023. 

Zero-trust models identify and authenticate every user and node for every network connection, adopting a constant assumption that the network is compromised. This “perimeterless” approach requires strong identity and access management and leans on a principle of “least privilege” locking down resources down to only those users that should have access. Shifting gears to a “verify then trust” approach will help curb the rising challenges with endpoint vulnerability management.

Embrace scalability and flexibility. The rise in digital transformation has put increased pressure on cybersecurity teams to secure new technologies and applications. To meet this demand, Gartner recommends flexible, agile, scalable and composable security options. Modern, cloud-based threat and vulnerability management solutions enable teams to quickly add users, ingest and interpret mass amounts of threat and vuln intel, sharpen predictive analytics and modeling, and absorb a continually expanding attack surface

Sourcing vulnerability management platforms that can grow and adapt will set you up for long-term success. Some ambitious businesses opt to build these programs while others look to purchase. To help guide you through these business-critical decisions, we’ve put together a couple resources: 

Simplify your security operations. As environments grow exceedingly complex, security leaders have to make sense of all the different (and sometimes disparate) information to make informed decisions quickly. In its 2020 Security What’s Now and What’s Next benchmark survey, Cisco found that 52% of CISOs already are characterizing mobile devices as very or extremely difficult to defend; a potentially worrisome sign as CISOs find their attack surface further expanding to heights they may previously had never considered. Meanwhile, manual processes such as data entry, correlation analysis, vulnerability investigation, etc. can add more drag. To help curb this problem, many organizations are taking a good hard look at their security operations to identify what can be automated and simplified. 

One way companies are solving for this is by adopting modern threat and vulnerability management platforms that provide full-stack visibility and a single, comprehensive view into their environment and attack surface. The most advanced of these solutions have machine learning, automation, and predictive analytics baked in, which helps alleviate some of the manual process pains Security and IT teams experience. With modern security tools, teams are empowered with actionable intelligence, helping them prioritize their biggest risks first, ultimately saving finite time, money, and resources. 

Keep watching the skies

At this moment, space-focused organizations are rallying together to help establish a framework for interstellar cybersecurity. On the heels of high-profile security attacks, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the Space Information Sharing and Analysis Center are partnering to establish information sharing, awareness, education, and outreach to improve the security of space operations. They’re moving swiftly, not waiting for government orders or regulations to materialize, because they realize what’s at stake.  

While stratospheric data centers may seem like something from a galaxy far, far away, the reality is that change is happening faster than ever, and it will never again be this slow. So when it comes to cybersecurity, the smart move is to take measures now to identify and patch the highest-risk vulnerabilities in your expanding infrastructure—because now more than ever, you never know where the next threat may come from.

Discover how to lay the groundwork for safe and secure cybersecurity practices by exploring Kenna Katalyst, an on-demand workshop designed to help you lower risk in as few moves as possible. 


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