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Overcoming Today’s Top Distributed Workforce Security Challenges

Oct 25, 20214 mins

The rise of remote work has surfaced many new security challenges. Here’s why every organization should prioritize user-focused security, including advanced endpoint defenses.

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The future of work arrived much more abruptly than anticipated, bringing with it many pressing security challenges. The global pandemic forced organizations of all types and sizes to support remote work overnight, and it’s clear that we’re not going back. In fact, according to a recent Upwork report, 36.2 million Americans will be working remotely by 2025, which represents an 87% hike over pre-COVID norms. Most companies focused on the fastest route enabling their newly distributed business operations without considering the security implications upfront. 

In tandem, attacks tailormade to exploit remote work scenarios increased dramatically. For example, WatchGuard threat intelligence shows that endpoint attacks like fileless malware and malicious cryptominers increased by 900% and 25%, respectively, in 2020 compared to 2019. Meanwhile, the FBI reported a twofold increase in phishing attacks in 2020.

This year, companies are taking a measured look at their security posture with the goal of permanently enabling remote work policies, and many will find they lack the resources and expertise to combat the rising tide of endpoint- and user-focused threats. They’re overseeing disparate security tools and buried under hundreds of security alerts each day, leaving cyberattacks unnoticed and unaddressed. These challenges demand an intelligent, automated and unified solution for securing endpoints, employees and remote business sites, protecting against advanced threats and zero day threats, and minimizing endpoint security cost and complexity without causing performance or reliability issues.

Let’s explore four circumstances in which every organization should consider deploying advanced user-centric protections, as well as what specific security controls matter most and why:

  • Your remote workforce and off-network security risks are growing rapidly. For most organizations, endpoint security is becoming a significant concern over the past year. But it’s not the only one. You also need to monitor off-network traffic to prevent advanced attacks and phishing campaigns luring employees into accessing malicious content or destinations, and protect corporate resources from compromise due to lost or stolen credentials. WatchGuard’s Passport solution combines advanced endpoint security, DNS-level protection and content filtering, and sophisticated multi-factor authentication to protect endpoints and users wherever they are.
  • You need to elevate protection after an attack, and/or after discovering latent malware on the network that originated on an endpoint. This situation proves your organization is on cybercriminals’ radars and that existing defenses aren’t enough. The best response is to adopt solutions that can detect threats traditional security solutions cannot see by combining endpoint protection (EPP) technology with endpoint detection and response (EDR) capabilities for computers, laptops and servers. WatchGuard’s EPDR (Endpoint Protection Detection and Response) solution is a great example of this type of offering and can automate the advanced endpoint threat prevention, detection, containment, and response.
  • Your AntiVirus (AV) solution alone isn’t cutting it. Some organizations fully understand today’s many endpoint security risks and have deployed a traditional AV solution. If you fall into this camp, chances are you’re already thinking about adding additional security layers to stay ahead of endpoint-focused adversaries. You need a solution that can complement your existing AV protections and offer comprehensive protection against sophisticated endpoint attacks they might miss. WatchGuard’s EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response) enhances existing AV deployments with the latest machine-learning and deep-learning AI models to automatically detect, contain and remediate zero day malware, ransomware, phishing, in-memory exploits, and fileless attacks, as well as a Zero Trust Application Service that classifies every application before allowing it to run and threat hunting investigation services provided by a team of dedicated malware analysts.
  • You’ve outgrown your free or consumer-grade endpoint AV solution. Unfortunately, many companies look to save money by sticking with basic or legacy security solutions until investing in more substantial protections becomes absolutely necessary. In today’s distributed work environment, you’re more exposed and subject to stricter data security and privacy requirements than ever before. This means just about every organization’s risk profile has expanded, and that you need next-generation AV capabilities that cover all vectors, including network, email, web and external devices. WatchGuard’s EPP (Endpoint Protection Platform) solution offers robust signature-based prevention coupled with behavioral analysis and web content filtering capabilities that can scale protection as needed.

The future of work is here, and it’s inherently less secure than the previous model. It requires bandwidth and security expertise most organizations don’t have, and demands continuous, always-on defenses that travel with users and their devices wherever they are. If any of the above scenarios look familiar to you, check out more information on how WatchGuard’s endpoint and user-focused security services can help here.