Work From Anywhere Security Can Deliver A Great User Experience

woman working at computer

Right across the world, a workplace revolution has taken place. Fuelled by changes forced by the pandemic, workers who were initially forced to work from home, have embraced a new way of working. Working from home or adopting hybrid work practices where people move between home offices, co-working spaces and central offices is now part of the new normal.

For organisations, this poses a raft of new challenges. Staff are now using public networks to connect to office systems. They are using personal devices for work or receiving new equipment that has not been prepared for corporate use by the IT or security teams. As the lines between work and personal lives blur, the risk of accidentally visiting a malicious website or opening a rogue email increase. But workers also expect everything to work perfectly regardless of where they choose to work.

With Forrester recently noting that 67% of organizations had suffered a business-impacting cyberattack attributed to remote work vulnerabilities, securing workers in the new work-from-anywhere world is critical.

Starting with zero trust

Zero trust has been a buzzword for some time. But rather than being about not trusting anything, it’s really a security philosophy based on a Russian proverb: trust but verify. An effective zero trust architecture ensures there are consistent security controls in place regardless of how a user connects to corporate systems. It’s not about making life harder for users but about providing controls that make life easier and safer, so they are protected.

One element of an effective zero trust architecture is having effective endpoint controls. Verizon’s annual Data Breach Investigations Report finds, every year, the majority all security breaches start by compromising an endpoint. So, it makes sense to have steps in place to verify user identity.

A zero trust network access (ZTNA) architecture takes this further. It ensures internal control by controlling access to applications, encrypted tunnels in the office, user verification, and advanced networking tools that are designed to operate from a unified security platform that optimizes connectivity between data centres, clouds, branches, and campus locations with application-aware intelligence. This is critical in today’s world where teams are distributed, applications reside in public and private clouds as well as on-prem, and many workers rarely, if ever, venture into central offices.

When people are working from home, ZTNA ensures weaknesses in home networking equipment don’t expand the corporate threat surface. Each time a corporate application, network or other resource is accessed, ZTNA protects your critical business assets.

Get smart with better intelligence

Technology that blocks known threats is important but it’s not enough. Cybercriminals employ a wide number of different attack tools and methods and continuously probe for weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Organisations need threat intelligence to understand the threat landscape and anticipate emerging and escalating issues.

Getting ‘work from anywhere security’ right is about more than identifying and blocking what you know. It requires intelligence and constant monitoring of what’s happening within your environment so anomalous activity can be detected and acted on before an issue escalates.

When you get work from anywhere right

When you get work from anywhere right there is effective endpoint detection and prevention in place so devices can be used safely from anywhere whether that’s the office, home or in transit. And when an application is accessed, appropriate controls are in place to ensure only the required data is accessible or editable. This considers who they are, where they are and how they are accessing the application.

Home networks are protected so they don’t become an attack vector for threat actors and access to the internet is protected by a cloud-based secure web gateway and Firewall-as-a-Service for secure connectivity while traveling.

All these services and tools are unified with a single security fabric that simplifies management, optimises security and supports users wherever they are.

Getting this right requires a strategic perspective with a suite of integrated solutions and not a multi-vendor piecemeal approach. This ensures all the elements are unified by a common set of application programming interfaces (APIs) and integration points to ensure users can seamlessly shift from one location to another with a consistent and secure experience.

Work from anywhere is now a business reality. Employees expect flexible work arrangements that allow them to mix their time working from home, while they travel and in an office. Ensuring a seamless and secure experience as they transition between locations requires a strategic approach to security.

A security strategy that integrates zero trust technologies, endpoint detection and response and effective network controls ensures corporate information and systems are protected without compromising productivity. The aim is to provide consistent security, that is appropriate to the business’ risks no matter where users are located.

Find out more about Zero Trust Network Access here.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.