Tech ‘experts’ say cybersecurity mesh is new. Here’s why they’re wrong.

In January this year, Gartner released its annual list of the top technology trends it expects to play out over the year ahead. The list covered twelve trends, and was littered with interesting and novel concepts only made possible thanks to emerging tech.

Amongst the novel concepts, one trend on the list really stood out for me. And it stood out because, unlike its contemporaries, the trend didn’t hinge on emerging tech at all.

The trend I’m talking about – as you’ll no doubt have already guessed – is the trend towards cybersecurity mesh.

What exactly is cybersecurity mesh?

Let’s begin with a definition: A cybersecurity mesh is a type of security architecture. I’m oversimplifying but, in short, it’s an architecture that independently secures a network’s individual access points.

Years ago, cybersecurity focused on building a perimeter, fence or ‘wall’ around a physical organisation, its infrastructure and its network with firewalls & anti-virus software. But more recently, following an increased demand for IT mobility and the rise of laptops, tablets and all kinds of mobile devices and objects, security policies evolved to cover IT assets outside of the traditional perimeter. A sizeable shift occurred, which marked the beginning of the cybersecurity mesh trend.

Cybersecurity mesh essentially extends the security perimeter around a person or ‘a thing’. By definition, ‘The Mesh’ recognises there are no longer physical boundaries. It can establish a more robust, flexible and less centric data centre approach to network security. By ensuring that each node has its own perimeter, administrators can better monitor and maintain differentiated levels of access to different parts of a given network, and thus better prevent hackers from accessing networks.

Clearly, the post-covid era of hybrid working amplifies a mesh architecture’s advantages… which perhaps explains why some analysts see cyber security mesh as a new concept.

But the reality is The Mesh has been around for more than a decade already.

The world’s first cybersecurity mesh

15 years ago now, impressed by their exciting value proposition, Exclusive Networks partnered with Fortinet.

At the time, Fortinet had developed a pioneering new technology. The technology, Fortinet explained, allowed security teams to integrate disparate security systems. It allowed them to introduce new security tools as necessary. It made security systems adaptable, and it made them scalable – so that, as hybrid working and cloud computing increased, security perimeters could flex. They called it Fortinet Security Fabric.

In other words, this technology approach was the world’s first cybersecurity mesh.

Age matters

You might think the age of the world’s first cybersecurity mesh to be semantics.

So, the technology existed for a while, you might think. Does that really matter?

In my opinion, it does. Because as more and more organisations begin investing in mesh architecture this year, what we’ll surely see is more and more companies springing up with Minimum Viable Product solutions (MVP solutions).

I don’t know about you, but when time-proven solutions exist, I’m not so sure I want my suppliers securing my personal data with a minimum viable product.

Architecting security

In the tech sector, we keep a close eye on the future. So, it’s worth remembering we often have one eye free to glance towards the past.

As part of Gartner’s research, the analyst predicts that ‘by 2024, organisations adopting a cybersecurity mesh architecture will reduce the financial impact of security incidents by an average of 90%.’

A 90% reduction. That will be a monumental achievement.

And to achieve it, we’re going to need more than solutions that don’t yet exist..