The Emergence of the Hybrid Workspace and How to Secure It

How do you ensure equal levels of security and protection for people and infrastructure across a mix of in-person and remote workers? The answer lies in a secure platform approach.

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The past few months have tested most businesses’ and individuals’ ability to adapt. The coronavirus pandemic caused new ways of thinking about work, systems, processes, and workflows.

But, don’t get settled. The world of work is still evolving, with the concept of a hybrid workspace now emerging. Globally, 37% of companies say they expect more than half of their employees to work remotely on a permanent basis, according to Cisco’s Future of Secure Remote Work Report that surveyed more than 3,000 global IT decision makers. In the U.S. and U.K., that figure rises to 50%; in Brazil and India, it’s 53%.

For security leaders, this mix of in-office and remote workers requires a new level of adaptability. There’s evidence that some of the steps taken at the start of COVID-19 will become long-term changes. For example, the Cisco study reported that globally:

  • 59% of companies increased VPN capacity
  • 55% increased web controls and acceptable-use policy
  • 53% started implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA)

Asked whether these changes are permanent, 95% said some portion of them are.

Providing for the future of work

No matter what shape each organization’s workforce takes, COVID-19 has highlighted the need for flexibility and resilience.

Security leaders have to reduce the layers of complexity that has built up from multiple tools and solutions. That doesn’t mean weakened or less effective security. The right consolidated solution integrates across the organization, connecting existing infrastructure from the network to the endpoint to the cloud.

In addition, organizations must think about providing workspaces that balance security with productivity. The future of work will span digital and physical spaces, with both remote workers and individuals who return to company sites and offices. They all need the same levels of protection, without multiple hoops to jump to meet security objectives.

And of course, security leaders have to plan for the ever-evolving threat landscape. During the pandemic, 61% of respondents to the Cisco study said their organizations experienced an increase of 25% or more in cyber threats and alerts. Moving forward, security teams should look to strengthen first and last layers of defense from the domain name system (DNS) to endpoints.  

The need for a robust, future-ready platform

A strong platform approach to security offers the adaptability and resiliency necessary for whatever direction the future of work takes. The right solution provides consolidation and visibility across existing infrastructure, seamless and secure user experiences, and advanced threat protection.

Cisco SecureX does all of this and more. It is a cloud-native platform that connects Cisco’s security and networking portfolio with customers’ existing infrastructure. SecureX is integrated and open for simplicity, unified in one location for visibility, and maximizes operational efficiency with automated workflows. The platform:

  • Reduces complexity. It provides built-in, pre-packaged, or custom integrations for out-of-the-box connections across existing infrastructure. With true interoperability, SecureX helps organizations streamline and gain greater visibility into the security tools in their toolboxes.
  • Provides seamless user access. SecureX incorporates single sign-on and MFA capabilities to strengthen user access to multiple applications without disrupting work—whether employees are remote or inside company facilities.
  • Offers advanced threat protection. The platform accelerates threat investigations and incident management by aggregating and correlating global intelligence. And, SecureX provides this intel with local context in one dashboard.

As we head into the hybrid workspace, it’s time to think differently about how security can better enable the workforce and ensure robust protection. An integrated security platform provides the adaptability and resilience that organizations require for the future of work.

Discover how Cisco SecureX works, including its many features and capabilities. 

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