Businesses cannot afford to be complacent now that hybrid working is here to stay. IT and OT teams have an opportunity to rethink cybersecurity and use new technology that will not only improve security but also provide a competitive advantage for years to come.
While COVID-19 made remote working necessary, it’s one aspect of pandemic life that’s here to stay. More and more firms are opting for hybrid models in which workers can work flexibly across multiple locations rather than being forced to return to the office full-time.
However, with hybrid working being the preferred approach post-pandemic, security solutions must evolve. Businesses have already evolved, and security must follow suit. This entails employing modern services like managed detection and response (MDR) and extended detection and response (XDR) as a business enabler and to push the limits of modern cybersecurity delivery.
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Understanding the security issues that come with working in a hybrid environment
Worryingly, despite the fact that most employees have been working remotely for over 19 months, many companies have yet to update their cybersecurity strategies, leaving systems vulnerable to highly skilled cyber-criminals. Managing security in remote and hybrid environments is difficult for IT and security teams. Perimeters have grown wider, cloud systems have become more popular, employees are working in uncontrolled conditions, and the attack surface has grown.
In a scattered context, the risks have essentially altered. Cybersecurity threats are directly proportional to how well systems are managed and secured. Many firms’ architectures are built with the expectation that users will be in the office at some time to receive updates, patches, and policies. This is insufficient in a hybrid approach, and enterprises should modernize cybersecurity systems to match changes in working processes and threat landscapes.
At the very least, this entails prohibiting employees from connecting to company networks or utilizing personal computers that do not satisfy a basic security standard. The technology to solve these problems has been around for a long time, but in recent years it has shifted to a cloud delivery model, making it easier to manage and expand.
Adopting a zero-trust strategy
Any company that hasn’t already done so will need to adopt zero-trust strategies that emphasize trusting nothing and securing user identities and devices just as much as network perimeters. The concept of zero trust isn’t new, but the slogan of trusting no one is. However, if not done right, establishing an effective strategy in a hybrid context isn’t necessarily easy or useful.
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Three key concepts underpin a successful strategy: verify clearly, employ least privileged access, and always expect a breach. By assuming a breach, cybersecurity, IT, and OT teams can avoid and enable earlier discovery by establishing measures such as authenticating all users and devices, utilizing least privileged access, implementing read-only modes, and performing real-time audits.
Endpoint security optimization
Integrating a zero-trust approach with an effective MDR strategy, one that combines human analysis, artificial intelligence (AI), and automation to promptly detect, analyze, investigate, and actively respond to threats, is a necessity to ensure people operating in a hybrid environment remain secure. An MDR service can assist in establishing a cost-effective reference security architecture to protect operational technology (OT), on-premise systems, cloud-based applications, and SaaS solutions, whether deployed as a fully outsourced security operations center (SOC) or via a hybrid approach. More crucially, it enables businesses to respond swiftly to new attacks, lowering cyber-risk and minimizing breach dwell time regardless of the endpoint from which they originate.
Extended detection and response (XDR) technologies, which enable for quick detection and response of threats across endpoints, web and email, cloud, networks, and, most importantly, identity, should be considered by IT and OT teams. This ensures that all people, assets, and data are safe, regardless of where they are located.
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