Manny Rivelo is the CEO of Forcepoint.

When cyber threats loom large, security is not merely a concern—it’s a critical business imperative. The urgency of managing and mitigating security risks has permeated every echelon, from individual employees to board directors. The age-old approach of using a passel of disparate tools and fragmented policies to plug security vulnerabilities is no longer viable.

For instance, many security teams synchronize their data security policies across multiple products. That means painstakingly setting up configuration settings and then essentially duplicating them for one product after another, covering different channels where data could be compromised or stolen like email, the network or web traffic. There’s simply not enough time or budget to sustain this dead-end strategy, especially for midsized organizations that have the same security challenges but not the extensive resources of larger enterprises.

Looking ahead to 2024 and beyond, a seismic shift in how growing companies tackle data security is imminent, with four key strategies taking center stage.

1. Moving To A Single View Of Data

When data resides in scattered places, CISOs and CIOs are poised to invest in systematic methodologies for collating, indexing and reporting on all dispersed data that poses real risks. Innovations such as artificial intelligence, neural networks and machine learning expedite the discovery and classification of data, essentially making it easier and faster to find and catalog information and pinpoint vulnerable areas like obsolete confidential files or insecure permission settings.

2. Unifying The Network And Data Security Policies

Treating the network and data as separate entities will be a relic of the past. Going forward, organizations will blur the lines between the network and security, converging data security and SASE. This platform architecture eliminates the need for multiple systems, streamlining policy synchronization and enhancing overall security coverage.

It involves layering connectivity with security products and seamlessly welding security to networking, treating policies as a single set. This convergence will extend beyond technology, impacting business operations as separate teams acquiring and managing the network and security operations also merge in the wake of consolidation.

3. Increasing Enforcement At The Network Edge

Even as security evolves into a platform model to simplify how policies are managed centrally, enforcement can still be decentralized. Teams will demand options that enforce policies at the network edge to improve overall uptime, and security intelligence sitting on an individual device will decide whether users can safely access internet-based or private resources without waiting for a digital rubber stamp from headquarters.

Pushing or distributing enforcement out to the network edge fortifies defenses, optimizes resources and improves productivity for both security teams and a workforce that can access data from anywhere. This strategic move enables organizations to stay ahead of evolving threats, lessen the risk of shadow IT and ensure a robust security posture across diverse digital channels.

4. Expanding The Security Ecosystem With APIs And Cloud Integration

Recognizing the limitations of standalone security solutions, the industry will embrace a collaborative ethos. Increasing use of APIs and integration with cloud platforms like AWS, Google and Microsoft, as well as the independent software vendor (ISV) community, will create a more resilient defense against multifaceted cyber threats. In a new world where no man is an island, the security ecosystem must work in tandem, creating overlapping capabilities that protect organizations and close potential security gaps.

Embracing Resilience Together

Let’s not just predict the future; let’s shape it. Imagine bringing scattered data into a harmonious view and blurring the lines between network and security—the game is changing. Visualize security not as a stern gatekeeper but as a savvy partner, perched on the edge, making decisions that keep the business flowing smoothly.

And as we expand our security ecosystem, let’s embrace collaboration over isolation. APIs and cloud integration aren’t mere tech jargon; they’re the instruments harmonizing with security platforms, crafting a resilient defense against whatever comes our way. In this ever-connected world, the best defenses are woven together, unified for simplicity in adoption and use. So, here’s to 2024—a year where we don’t just predict threats, we outsmart them.

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