Greymatter and Cybersecurity Mesh Architecture: Support at the Centralized Policy, Posture, and Playbook Management Layer
How Greymatter enables the Cybersecurity Mesh Architecture Centralized Policy Layer.
July 30, 2023
By the Greymatter Technology, Innovation, and Outreach Team
In a prior blog, we explained how Greymatter supports the security analytics and intelligence layer and the identity fabric layer of Gartner’s Cybersecurity Mesh Architecture (CSMA)1 Cybersecurity Mesh Architecture (CSMA). Here, we’re going to focus on our support of the centralized policy, posture, and playbook management layer, a critical component of any modern cybersecurity strategy because it is where defining, enforcing, and updating policies for security and compliance happens.
Figure 1: CSMA and Greymatter
With the growing adoption of cloud-native technologies and multi-cloud environments, managing policies, posture, and playbooks in a decentralized way is creating management complexity and security gaps, while exposing your enterprise to unnecessary risks. Policies specific to applications, APIs, and data services are created and enforced in a decentralized manner. Furthermore, implementing separation of concerns, least privilege access models, and impersonation certificate rotations are very difficult, so these policies tend to be lowest common denominator control gates. Inconsistencies across different applications and infrastructure components makes zero trust architecture unattainable. This opens the door to threat actors and hinders compliance with best practices, regulations, and industry standards.
Additionally, manual policy management can be time-consuming and error-prone, as policies must be manually reviewed and updated. Keeping up with the rapidly evolving threat landscape is difficult at best. And the lack of unified visibility and control over security policies can lead to confusion, leaves unintentional holes in your networking, and makes it difficult to identify and mitigate security risks.
The CSMA centralized policy, posture, and playbook management layer addresses the challenges of building and managing policies and posture settings while maintaining ongoing verification of security and compliance requirements.
Greymatter plays a critical role in the centralized policy, posture, and playbook management layer by empowering organizations to author enterprise playbooks that are applied at runtime. This simplifies the management of security policies across the infrastructure, improves compliance, and enables a collaborative and proactive approach to cybersecurity. Here are a few top use cases.
Centralized Policy Management: Standardized Dev and NetSecOps deployment pipelines
Organizations deploying a microservices-based architecture need a faster and more reliable process to collaborate and share configurations and deploy applications. Lack of standardization and repeatability leads to misconfigurations and human errors which opens the door to risk. Using GitOps and our Greymatter Specification Language (GSL), Greymatter enables organizations to manage application networking configuration as code and leverage attribution and version control in a Git repository.
Posture Management: Runtime policy control and enforcement
Today’s increasingly complex environment requires diligence to enforce, comply, and manage a secure application networking posture. As the number of interdependent applications, APIs, and microservices increases, automation and standardization hold the key to effective policy enforcement at runtime . For clients in industries that are mission critical like oil & gas, transportation, supply chain delivery, and financial services that must enforce production security workloads and protect business-essential services from overload or attack, runtime policy enforcement can dramatically reduce the time and costs of operations. Greymatter streamlines runtime policy control and enforcement across an organization so that clients can ensure mission critical operations remain viable while improving security posture.
Playbook Management: Configuration and security policy management
Tightly coupling application networking configurations with application code or deployment technologies creates unnecessary complexity in configuration processes. It hinders the ability to make changes quickly and efficiently and can compromise your enterprise’s security. Organizations need a better approach that enables different teams and team members to do their jobs efficiently without the burden of implementing enterprise security controls or understanding enterprise traffic flow management. Using Greymatter, organizations can decouple their application code from the service networking layer so that access to critical information related to separation of concerns and least privilege access models (such as access control, certificate management, routing policies, and failover paths) is limited to only those that need it. Enterprises gain the necessary flexibility and agility to meet business requirements while ensuring security at scale.
How Greymatter does it
As an application networking platform, Greymatter provides robust support for the CSMA centralized policy, posture, and playbook management layer by introducing GSL and combining it with GitOps, automation, rich graphical auditing, and fine-grained control. Specifically:
Greymatter uses built-in GitOps sync services for centralized policy management across multi-cloud and hybrid environments. Policies can be defined in GSL code and Greymatter employs standardization and automation to ensure all environments remain in sync and consistent with the desired state. Acting as the source of truth for all application networking configurations and security policies, Greymatter’s GitOps implementation ensures changes are auditable and version-controlled, and code review processes are enforced to approve changes before merging.
Centralized posture management is enabled by providing day 2 operational support and real-time auditing of configuration changes and application usage. Organizations can quickly detect and respond to security incidents while maintaining compliance with regulations and industry standards.
Greymatter’s GSL is a declarative domain specific language built on top of CUE. We designed GSL primarily to ease the burden associated with configuring application networking rules within a modern mesh-like topology. These centralized playbook management capabilities are enabled by providing natural object relationships and drop-in customization. For the first time, users from across the experience spectrum are empowered to make sophisticated application networking configuration changes rapidly and with confidence. Enterprises have greater flexibility to enforce separation of concerns while increasing collaboration between teams and promoting greater agility and flexibility.
Additional capabilities include disaster recovery through version-controlled backup of application networking configurations, and integration with security tool sets such as SIEMs and SOARs. These integrations enable playbook management support – streaming deep insights to these solutions to help improve incident response procedures.
What’s in it for our clients
Our clients gain meaningful value from our early support for CSMA’s centralized policy, posture and playbook management layer, including:
- Centralized management of policies that enables consistent and repeatable deployments across multi-cloud environments, ensures security policies are applied consistently by freeing developers from having to implement security controls, and accelerates troubleshooting to mitigate risk and swiftly respond to incidents.
- Increased regulatory compliance through Greymatter’s Posture Management capabilities that streamline runtime policy control and enforcement across an organization to protect workloads and services from overload or attack and more easily manage a secure application networking posture.
- Increased collaboration through Greymatter’s Playbook Management capabilities which enable teams to manage application networking configuration as code, decouple networking security and traffic control from apps, APIs, and data services, and leverage attribution and version control.
At Greymatter.io, we are dedicated to delivering a user-centric experience by continuously improving the efficiency and extensibility of Greymatter’s centralized policy, posture, and playbook management technologies through an empathic design strategy. As clients continue to scale their multi-cloud environments and leverage the full potential of Greymatter’s centralized policy, posture, and playbook management as part of their cybersecurity mesh architecture, they can expect to see even greater benefits in operational cost reduction and overall agility to achieve their business goals.
In our next blog, we’ll specifically address how Greymatter connects and contributes to CSMA’s operations dashboard layer.
Contact us today to schedule your free consultation, determine your microservices maturity level, and build a reference implementation architecture to begin moving your organization up the microservices maturity model to accelerate software delivery and increase speed to market, while ensuring security.