The quick transition companies made to remote work in the early days of the pandemic has accelerated many digital transformation plans. But in cyber security and networking, there has been a tendency to equate work-from-anywhere with home office environments. These two are not the same; rather, home office is a consideration within a work-from-anywhere strategy.
Working from anywhere requires a consistent cyber security policy to be applied whether an employee is working from a home office, airport, coffee shop, or data center. The same consistently secure access must be available regardless of the physical location of the employee.
The Pandemic’s Role in Work-From-Anywhere: Few companies were truly prepared for the sudden shift to home office security, with few access controls in place, poorly secured home networks, and particularly vulnerable endpoint devices. The result was, according to FortiGuard Labs’ 1H Global Threat Landscape Report, a 1100% increase in ransomware attacks between June 2020 and June 2021.
As companies make plans to continue to embrace remote work as a permanent fixture in a hybrid work model, organizations need the ability to support ongoing work-from-anywhere secure access to the data center, cloud solutions, and software as a service tools.
While companies may attempt to solve these challenges piecemeal, working with up to a dozen or more providers, this can result in a level of complexity that hinders digital transformation. With many extra hours devoted to workarounds and problem-solving, maintaining this approach over time will be costly.
A Platform Approach: Securing a work-from-anywhere environment demands that you step back and look at the big picture. End-to-end protection of data, users, and applications requires that network access controls are integrated with endpoint security at the campus, branch, and cloud levels. This may involve secure software-defined wide area networking (Secure SD-WAN) and secure access service edge (SASE) solutions, as well as zero trust policies that are enforced across the entire network.
Reducing complexity through a unified strategy may require implementing a cyber security mesh platform that works as an integrated solution. This offers a unifying solution that uses a common set of application programming interfaces (APIs) to combine zero trust, network security, and endpoint security across three areas:
The Home Office: Many remote employees will identify their home office as their preferred setting, which likely has some of the basic equipment they need. Their laptop or monitor may not be secured, and they may be using a home network that is not secured and includes vulnerable devices, such as smart appliances. To secure home offices, your company needs zero trust access, endpoint security, network security, and identity management, as well as an extension of the corporate firewall protection to the home network. Companies should also prioritize visibility into corporate traffic while protecting privacy for non-work applications.
The Corporate Office: Strong, integrated endpoint security remains critical, as well as securing devices, servers, and users in the office. Combined with zero trust access and identity management, as well as secure SD-WAN, corporate settings require a fully integrated cyber security mesh platform in its security architecture.
On the Road: When traveling or working outside their primary off-site location, users may expose the network to unexpected risks. They may use an unknown access point which can compromise the network. Offering secure access to mobile workers requires a focus on endpoint security and zero trust policies, while also using multi-factor authentication, a cloud access security broker (CASB), and SASE solution.
As you shape your cyber security strategy for the future, don’t make the mistake of equating work from home with work from anywhere. Contact us at ITBroker.com to determine the security solutions you need to allow your employees consistent secure access from anywhere.