What is a Software-Defined Perimeter (SDP)?

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Initially, networks were created to construct internal portions segregated from the outside world by a set border. The internal network was deemed reliable, whereas the exterior network was hostile. Even though much has changed since the design's creation, most networking professionals still use this as their base.

The fixed perimeter is frequently composed of several networks and security appliances, resulting in a service chained stack and appliance sprawl. A user must pass requirements to access the internal LAN can vary. The stack would make up global load balancers, external firewalls, DDoS appliances, VPN concentrators, internal firewalls, and LAN segments.

What is a Software-defined Perimeter?

A software-defined perimeter (SDP) creates virtual barriers around Internet-connected assets and human behavior through an integrated security architectural approach. Whether assets are on-premises or in the cloud, and whether users are on-site or working remotely, SDP works. Rather than depending on hardware at the network boundary, such as firewalls or VPNs, SDP uses software to block access and visibility into resources within the virtual perimeter by default.

This deny-all technique only allows authorized users and validated devices to connect via robust, mutual authentication. Everyone (and everything) else is kept in the dark about Internet-connected resources secured by the SDP architecture.

The perimeter strategy was created with visibility and accessibility in mind. Access will be denied if an entity outside the network cannot see an internal resource. As a result, foreign entities were denied access while inside entities were allowed to leave. However, it only worked to a certain extent. In all likelihood, the fixed network perimeter will be breached at some point; it's only a question of time. Someone with sufficient competence will eventually succeed.

How Does a Software-Defined Perimeter Work?

An SDP is a security architecture that prevents outsiders from listening in on your router and server infrastructure while allowing your employees to access the resources they require safely.

Because all employees in traditional firms were concentrated in one location, IT administrators had to protect the "perimeter" and keep attackers at bay. Employees may now be dispersed across multiple locations — even continents — posing extra security challenges for multinational corporations.

An SDP establishes a connection between a user's device and the company's servers after authenticating the person and their device. Instead of connecting to a more extensive company-wide network, an employee is linked to their network and can only access particular resources. Even if bad actors get access to the user's account, they will only access a limited set of resources.

How to Set Up a Software-Defined Perimeter?

To create a software-defined boundary, you must first confirm the user's identity. Multi-factor authentication (MFA), single sign-on (SSO), and other technologies, such as Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML), can be used to do this (SAML). The next step is to check the device's security. Finally, secure tunnels between the device and its services are used to ensure that data exchanged during the connection is protected.

Use Cases for SDP

SDPs reduce the likelihood of successful network threats such as denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks, brute-force assaults, port scanning, server vulnerabilities, and lateral movement attacks like SQL injection and cross-site scripting (XSS).

Following are some of the use-cases of SDP −

  • SDPs work with a wide range of devices. Laptops and personal computers (PCs) and mobile and Internet of things (IoT) devices can be authenticated through the virtual perimeter. SDPs prevent connections from being established by unauthorized or invalid devices.

  • SDPs limit network access to a specific subset of users. Individual entities do not have broad access to network segments or subnets; thus, devices can only connect to the services and hosts allowed by policy. This reduces the attack surface on the network and prevents unauthorized individuals or software from searching ports and vulnerabilities.

  • SDPs are in favor of a risk-based approach that is more comprehensive. Threat intelligence, virus outbreaks, and new software are among the risk criteria used by SDP systems to determine access decisions.

  • Anything can be connected with SDPs. Employees may relate to the IT resources they need with SDP technology, eliminating the need for burdensome management and high hardware expenditures.

  • Controlling services, applications, and access is made possible through SDPs. SDPs can govern which applications and devices have access to specific services. This reduces the attack surface by preventing malicious individuals or viruses from accessing resources.

  • Application isolation relies heavily on SDPs. Unauthorized users are kept out of mission-critical application infrastructure and data when an SDP is deployed within a corporate data center. Because the SDP disguises these programs, hackers cannot identify or infiltrate them.

  • SDPs assist in the security of hybrid and private clouds. Enterprises can utilize SDPs to hide public SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS cloud instances and hybrid cloud systems that combine public and private cloud resources.

Updated on 23-Mar-2022 06:42:56