Addressing Security Challenges of Remote and Hybrid Work Environments with a Zero-Trust Approach

Addressing Security Challenges of Remote and Hybrid Work-01

As the world prepares for the new future of work, leaders must shift their approach from offering connectivity to the entire network to segmenting access by certain applications in order to effectively safeguard enterprises moving ahead. They must invest in solutions that will grow with their company and provide protection 24/7.

Businesses turned to quick fixes to enable remote work for large numbers of employees as rapidly as possible when they first dispatched employees to work remotely in March 2020, expecting it would only be for two weeks. While these solutions solved the short-term problem of allowing scattered workforces to remotely connect to a company’s network, they have now become security vulnerability, exposing businesses to escalating cyber-attacks.

With fully or hybrid remote environments here to stay, organizations and security leaders need solutions that better meet their unique and increasingly complicated needs now that work has fundamentally transformed. In fact, according to a new Menlo Security report “Securing the new workplace reality,” 75% of companies are re-evaluating their security measures for remote employees, demonstrating that accommodating remote workers is a top priority for the majority of corporate executives.

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As threats of cyber-attacks loom across all industries, IT leaders must shift their mindset to segmenting access by each individual private application, wherever it is deployed, and away from the hub-and-spoke approach of offering connectivity to the entire network, in order to successfully address the risks that distributed workforces entail. Adopting a zero-trust approach for endpoint protection and end-to-end network will be crucial as enterprises cope with the additional security problems that remote and hybrid work environments create.

Move Away From VPNs

Despite the fact that many organizations claim to be confident in their remote access security, the Menlo report indicated that 75% of these businesses still use virtual private networks (VPNs) to govern remote access to applications. This is a serious issue. VPNs are inherently vulnerable since they provide everyone on a network access to everything, which means that one individual falling for a phishing scam might put the entire network at danger of a cyber or ransomware attack. And, with people working from anywhere for the foreseeable future, this is a risk that businesses can no longer afford to take.

VPNs are difficult to administer at scale, in addition to the inherent hazards they pose. IT leaders should instead consider implementing a global cloud security platform that eliminates the need for hardware management and provides elastic scalability for remote network access. Solutions that can secure communication between the end user and the private application will eliminate potential security blind spots and allow a company to protect the application and data from misuse.

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Implement Zero-Trust

While the zero-trust paradigm is not new, it is gaining traction in both the public and private sectors, with the Biden administration encouraging all security executives to adopt zero-trust model. According to the Menlo report, more than a third of companies are already pursuing some type of zero-trust remote access strategy. This growing trend indicates that the security industry is recognizing the importance of developing solutions that leave nothing to chance by preventing and isolating threats rather than reacting to them after they have struck and perhaps caused irreversible damage.

Adopting Zero-trust throughout an entire organization can shift the overall security mindset and better secure the organization from attackers by providing full confidence in the entire network, from top to bottom, and allowing the business to get ahead of new risks by eliminating them. While no single solution can supply all of the components required for a fully baked zero-trust strategy, leaders can prioritize which pieces are most important to their organization and develop their customized security plan from there.

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