Security & IT Solutions Archive - SITS

In IT, workload stands for the ” processing load” that an IT component has to perform, measured in time and computing resources – this starts with a simple database and ends with complex scientific calculations, such as cancer research in the data center. Almost all services, apps or calculations performed by your workforce in the cloud (or locally in the network) can be described as “workloads”.  These workloads are therefore highly crosslinked, completely location-independent and distributed across numerous programs and online services that a company uses – which leads to a significantly higher attack surface!

In short: Workloads must be adequately secured. One option to help companies master this challenge is Secure Access Service Edge (SASE). This cyber security approach, which integrates network and security functions into a cloud-based architecture, allows the security and connectivity of cloud solutions to be controlled and improved.

Workload security, that's what it's all about

Current calculations assume that the global costs associated with cybercrime will skyrocket over the next four years: from 9.22 trillion dollars in 2024 to 13.82 trillion dollars in 2028. This is where workload security comes in, because IT workloads are, as mentioned at the beginning, all work that is placed on an IT instance, for example in the cloud – small computing operations, complex data analyses or intensive business-critical applications.

The level and type of workloads influence the performance of a system. Without effective management, if the workload becomes too large, it can lead to system interruptions or slowdowns.

Keep an eye on these workloads:

  • Storage workloads are services that require a lot of data storage, such as content management systems and databases.
  • Computing workloads are applications that require computing power and memory to execute functions. These can be VMs, containers and serverless functions.
  • Network workloads, such as video streaming and online gaming, require high network bandwidth and low latency.
  • Big data workloads require the processing and analysis of large amounts of data, including machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence.
  • Web workloads are applications or services that are accessed via the internet. These include e-commerce sites, social media platforms and web-based applications.
  • High-performance computing workloads refer to services that require high processing power, examples include weather and financial modeling.
  • The Internet of Things (IoT) requires the processing and analysis of data from sensors and other devices, such as in smart homes, industrial automation and connected vehicles.

 The purpose of workload security is to ensure security and availability in all these areas and to protect all operations from cyber threats.

Workload Security includes:

  • Access Control – to ensure that only authorized users or processes can interact with workloads and sensitive data.
  • Data Encryption – to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive information.
  • Vulnerability Management – to protect against security vulnerabilities and software bugs through regular vulnerability scanning and patching.
  • Intrusion Detection and Prevention – to prevent intrusions through monitoring and proactive measures.
  • Logging and Auditing – to help ensure compliance with security regulations through detailed logging and regular auditing and to initiate immediate countermeasures in the event of an incident.
  • Endpoint Security – to ensure that the endpoints on which workloads such as servers, virtual machines or containers are located are adequately protected.
  • Cloud Security – to extend workload security practices to cloud environments, including Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).
  • Automation – designed to streamline security operations and accelerate response to security incidents.

Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) plays an important role in workload security, as this cloud-based security architecture allows companies to benefit from a comprehensive framework for securing and managing access to workloads, applications and data apart from their location.

This is Secure Access Service Edge (SASE)

SASE combines network security and connectivity in a unified cloud-based service, providing a comprehensive approach to security that addresses the dynamics of modern IT environments. The Secure Access Service Edge model was introduced as a concept and architecture by Gartner to unify security and network functions and deliver them as an integrated service. The goal of SASE is to provide a comprehensive cloud-native platform for security and connectivity that adapts to the requirements of modern IT environments. The aim is to reduce the complexity of traditional security and network infrastructures, improve performance and strengthen security for modern, distributed working environments.

SASE offers:

  1. Standardized Security Architecture: SASE integrates security functions such as Secure Web Gateway (SWG), Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB), Firewall as a Service (FWaaS), Secure Web Access Service (SWA) and Zero-Trust Network Access (ZTNA) into a single, cohesive architecture. This ensures consistent security policies for all workloads.
  2. Zero Trust: SASE is based on the Zero Trust model. Through continuous authentication, authorization and access controls, SASE ensures that only authorized users and devices can access workloads and sensitive data.
  3. Edge-to-Cloud Protection: SASE provides security and connectivity from the individual mobile device to the cloud, supporting remote working models and access to corporate resources from mobile devices and branch offices.
  4. Cloud-native Security: SASE provides cloud-native technologies and architectures to deliver security services from the cloud, allowing security capabilities to scale dynamically according to workload requirements. By moving security functions to the cloud, SASE eliminates the need for traditional hardware-based security appliances. This reduces complexity and increases flexibility.
  5. Integrated Reporting: SASE scores with a unified management and reporting framework that allows it to centrally manage security and network services, enforce policies and perform compliance audits.
  6. Dynamic Policy Enforcement: granular security policies can be defined based on contextual aspects such as user identity, device state or location. These policies can be enforced dynamically and in real time for all workloads and access points.
  7. Scalability and Flexibility: SASE offers scalable and flexible security solutions that can adapt to changing workloads and business requirements.

SASE traps and challenges

So much for the advantages. But there are also traps that should be considered when implementing SASE: It is important to clearly define the needs and requirements at the beginning of the project so that there are no inconsistencies. It is also important to consider whether only access to the local network should be secured or whether access to the cloud or internet should also be covered. Last but not least, it should be determined in advance which traffic is supported and therefore protected by the SASE solution. For example, open flanks in MS cloud traffic can be covered and security gaps can be closed.

Further challenges: Workload security is often considered in interaction with SASE against the background of on-premise infrastructure. Sometimes legacy solutions are used that are difficult to harmonize with modern solutions or architectures. It is essential to pay attention to this. Evaluate the various signals and information within the SASE in detail, as this is the only way to ensure appropriately secure operation.

SASE implementation can also become a challenge if the group of people entrusted with the implementation has been chosen in the wrong way, for example if only the network department is involved, although several areas need to be included. Another challenge is if the implementation is approached in a standalone way, even though SASE should be considered as part of a zero-trust architecture. This always includes identity and client management, as SASE also considers information besides only credentials. For example, compliance with specifications for the patch status of a device must be ensured or it must be clarified which login method, such as strong authentication, is used. Additional device signals therefore need to be checked. There are also platform-specific checks, such as the traffic generated, the applications used and more.

With the experienced workload security and SASE experts at SITS, you avoid these hurdles and receive 360-degree protection from a single source. The CSIRT (Computer Security Incident Response) team at SITS prepares you and your workloads for an emergency and ensures immediate protection and recovery in the event of an attack.