Adaptive Security Architecture and Best Practices

Introduction to Adaptive Security

Adaptive Security is a real-time security model or approach that continuously investigates behaviors and events to protect against the threat and adapt to the threats accordingly before they happen. The primary goal of adaptive security is to create a feedback loop of threat visibility, detection, and prevention that consistently becomes more effective. It consists of four major categories of competence, that are – Prevention, Detection, Responsive, and Prediction.

Traditional Security VS Adaptive Secuity

Nowadays organizations and security professionals are facing a combination of challenges which include undefined perimeters and continuously evolving security aspects. New problems may consist of the evolution of the IoT and IoE, the transition from IPv4 to IPv6. Due to the emerging of such new trends and most of the previous attacks the market has seen in the past few years, there is one common thread, i.e., the attacker has penetrated the traditional perimeter defenses, which show traditional log event management tools, and monitoring practices are becoming increasingly insufficient, the firewall or IPS monitors the communication between devices and tries to spot an attack in the traffic based on having seen such an attack before, which is not a much of intelligent defenses where attacks are becoming automated and smarter.

It is essential that organizations should shift their security mindset from ‘incident response’ to ‘continuous response’ by adapting the Adaptive Security Architecture (ASA).

How to Adopt Adaptive Security Architecture?

It doesn’t depend on the size of someone’s network or organizations, business nature or the threats someone’s organization are exposed to, adaptive security can be adopted by any irrelevant to these things, and they can be evolved according to someone’s defined policies and procedures.

The following is a list of steps which help in designing an adaptive security model –

  • Point out the threats and threat characteristics that should be avoided or destroyed.
  • Threat characteristic may consist of the known threat’s attribute or some suspicious behavior exhibited by some entity or process.
  • Define satisfactory trusted components, behavior, and actions that must not be mistaken for a threat.
  • Set triggers to monitor for threats and, if necessary for invoking a system responds accordingly.
  • Implement redundancy for critical functions.
  • There should not be any critical trusted elements, because if they got compromised damage to an entire system.
  • Define threat response in such a way that is should be useful and do not lead in killing the host machine.
  • Define recovery process.
  • Define a feedback phase at the end which can validate the response.

Why Adaptive Security Matters?

It allows for early detection of the security breach and an automatic, autonomous response whenever a malicious event occurs. As cyber threats and other security and hacking attack’s methods are becoming advance day-to-day in terms of their method of attack and their automation, so similarly businesses also need to adapt their methods of handling and preventing such attack as useful as possible. Apart from its fundamentals benefits adaptive security has more to give, which are mentioned below –

  • It’s a continuous process and evolves according to the threats.
  • Reduce the attack surface area, making someone’s service and product less prone to vulnerabilities.
  • Shortened the recovery time
  • Due to the rapid adoption of IoT, Big Data and Analytics, the risk of security are increased, which result in some new approach other than the traditional security approach to prevents such threats.
  • ML and AI can be integrated with ASA, which results in advanced analytics and can detect security breaches that would not be obvious by monitoring the system alone.

Adaptive Security Working Architecture


The Prevention the first necessary step which allowed enterprises to create products, processes, and policies that help in preventing attacks.It takes care of judging whether an object is safe or malicious and take step accordingly. It can be done through firewalls, signature-based engines, and proactive technologies using machine learning. Only this step blocks almost 99% of threats, but what about the remaining 1% threats, this 1 % is doing the most massive damage to businesses.


In this step, security solutions are configured not to block threats themselves, but they serve to detect and report suspicious activity, and later they can be managed by skilled infosec professionals. It includes behavioral dynamic code analyzers and analytic systems. Here the aim is to diminish the time taken for threats to be detected and stopping potential risks from becoming actual risks.


Respond is the most logical step in ASA, in this step we are going to define what measure to take, and how to respond to the specific type of threats which are not being stopped by the high layer. By investigation of incidents and proper analysis, an ASA can respond accordingly to a threat, whether through a design or policy change. More specifically this step does the investigate incidents, design policy changes, conduct retrospective analysis.


The prediction layer feeds IT teams with alerts about external events. By monitoring attackers activities, this layer also anticipates new types of attack and provides information that helps in further enhancement of the prevention and detection layers.

Benefits of Adaptive Security

Adaptive security has lots of advantages over the traditional security approach. As its all depends on the size of organizations and their implementation of adaptive security according to their network’s design, but let’s see some of the benefits of adaptive security –

  • Reduces the surface area for the attackers
  • Responsive to attacks which result in the reduction of remediation time
  • Decrease the rate of attacks
  • Recognize ongoing security breaches
  • Continuous monitoring and response in real-time
  • Limit the data theft and damage

Adaptive Security Best Practices

Accurately define all the four stages, i.e., prevention, detection, responsive, and prediction

  • Can be improved by integrating with AI and ML.
  • There should be a well-defined recovery process so that systems should be capable of adaptively reconfiguring and restarting themselves.
  • There should not be any critical “trusted” elements.
  • There should be a feedback stage also which validate the threats response so that that response could be limited to only legitimate and realistic threats.

Concluding Adaptive Security

So, we see what is adaptive security is and its importance in today’s IT areas where everything is becoming automated. We should take a look at this new approach to security which is more beneficial and effective as compares to the traditional security approach. But it’s not as easy as it looks, as an effective ASA requires robust solutions that include a no. of features and security measures for predicting threats and preventing threats.

The adaptive security solution should offer 24/7 visibility and threats alerts. We can integrate AI and ML for more better predictions and robustness, and then can be adopted in the DevOps cycle. For more information, you are advised to go through with the below steps:




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