Cybersecurity is top of mind for everyone. For IT teams, the list of concerns has been magnified by a more dispersed workforce and the need to assess the risks associated with a proliferation of connected devices, the vanishing perimeter and the ever-changing threat landscape. The increased adoption of cloud computing also poses inherent challenges. All these variables force the need for organizations to transform their security postures to protect against cloud infrastructure vulnerabilities. However, the increased complexity of a distributed application architecture brought on by digital transformation continues to challenge even the largest security operations. As a result of the rapid digital transformation, security postures may need to be updated and adjusted to support this increased complexity.
The uptick in remote work setups and more digital-first business models are pushing organizations to apply secure access no matter where their users, applications or devices are located. To provide the level of security necessary to protect the variety of new systems implemented, many enterprises are shifting to more cloud-friendly and behavior-based security approaches. The secure access service edge (SASE) framework in particular enables businesses to upgrade their network edge and security simultaneously, and then managed network and security services can provide much needed expertise and support in a quickly evolving field.
Hybrid model brings new challenges and security vulnerabilities
According to LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends 2022 report, people want the freedom to work where and when they want. To accommodate this trend and maintain operations as usual, it is critical for IT teams to help safeguard employees, facilities, data, reputation, and products. In many hybrid scenarios, workers are moving between secure office environments with enterprise network monitoring, firewalls, event and data analytics to vulnerable home networks that may have rogue devices, weak passwords or outdated equipment.
There is no one-size-fits all security posture, and IT leaders need to regularly assess their vulnerabilities to ensure that security spans every new internal digital process, external product developed, and Internet opportunity created.
In an accelerated digital transformation environment, the mix of on-premises and private cloud systems makes securing data even more complex. For this reason, the zero trust approach must be considered. With zero trust, it shouldn’t matter where employees are working. Security inside and outside the organization needs to be based on policies developed for their specific needs. Scaling this approach can be daunting, but the key is to focus on all threat vectors that could impact securing corporate infrastructure, cloud environments, and home networks while ensuring a great user experience and application performance.
Securing the shift to the cloud
As organizations look to build and sustain resiliency in the next phase of their digital transformation, they need to consider the security and risk implications of this journey to the cloud. Again, there is no one-size fits all protection and the security requirements for cloud differ from on-premise architectures. The evaluation process needs to involve a higher level of third-party scrutiny for cloud-based applications. For this, the expectation is that security needs to be incorporated at the development level through a “dev-sec-ops” model. This will prove to be a competitive advantage for all cloud application development going forward.
With an increase in remote users and software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, data moving from the data center to cloud services, and more traffic going to public cloud services and branch offices than back to the data center, the need for a new approach for network security continues to increase. Unfortunately, weak security for cloud-based services opens the door to bad actors. SASE is a framework approach that addresses the need to connect network and security to secure all traffic flows. Legacy network technologies and approaches may no longer provide the levels of security and access control digital organizations need. These organizations demand immediate, uninterrupted access for their users, no matter where they are located.
The SASE framework is the convergence of network and security services. This framework brings geographically disparate end points together with a common security policy whether you’re in a coffee shop, at home or in an office. The SASE framework is somewhat of an evolution of software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) — taking the application awareness and traffic steering of wide area networking (WAN) and building upon that by extending to the cloud and providing security end to end. This approach allows the flexibility for deeper security protections as the extension of the network continues – further evolving businesses on their zero trust, multi-cloud, and edge computing journeys.
Managed network and security: Considering a partner
The last 2+ years have stretched the limits of IT teams across the board. Their plates are filled with digitally-based business challenges that they probably never expected and enhancing their cybersecurity posture likely tops most of their to-do lists. The sheer scale of work is emphasizing the value of managed services, including managed security. Trusted partners can provide a strong understanding of their network and find the best solutions for their business.
Working with a service provider that has a broad purview of the threat landscape can help a company reduce a threat before it even reaches the organization’s systems. In fact, 57% of respondents to a recent IDC survey on managed security services claimed that the top reason for engaging with managed security service providers is to protect against advanced security threats. Managed security providers that offer flexible delivery models across on-premises, hosted, and cloud environments can provide broad threat visibility for proactive detection of and response to malicious activities.
Cyberthreats are continually evolving, becoming more sophisticated, and more difficult to detect. At the same time, digital transformation to support a more remote workforce and customer experience is increasingly more mobile. Employees will continue working from anywhere and applications will continue to migrate to the cloud. More SaaS platforms will be adopted. As organizations look to optimize their security posture in this new environment, the need to shift towards software-defined networking, with advanced security enabled within the WAN and cloud environments, is more apparent than ever.
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