Hybrid working provides great work/life balance, but this new world also brings many cybersecurity headaches.
Versa SASE delivers remote working that is scalable, flexible, agile, and secure.
By Kelly Ahuja, CEO at Versa Networks
As employees appreciate the new way of working from a variety of remote locations and accessing apps in the cloud, the unfortunate result is that organizations’ attack surfaces and entry points for cyberthieves has greatly expanding. That’s one reason why the IT world is enthusiastic and showing rapid adoption of a new technology called SASE, or Secure Access Service Edge, which secures enterprises wherever their employees may look to work.
The work-from-anywhere workforce these days is logging on to their laptops from home, at the office, and various other locations such as coffee shops or the local library. They can utilize their smartphones to work on the move in taxis, buses, trains, and at the airport. Work from home became the new mode during the pandemic and the today the trend to hybrid working from multiple locations is accelerating. According to Gartner, 75 percent of workers will continue to split time between home and traditional office locations – following the hybrid work model – between now and 2026.
In addition, the information and apps employees use for work are no longer sitting behind a firewall on a server at the office. Instead, they are hosted in the cloud and can be accessed from anywhere in the world. Protecting this growing mass of connections has become a significant challenge as organizations are failing against a wave of malicious attacks and cyberthreats against their networks.
Before the trend of hybrid working took off, cybersecurity was far more centralized for organizations. Employees had access to their work information, files and applications securely from their employer’s data center, which served as the gateway for all of the organization’s digital traffic. The data center hosted cybersecurity functions and delivered for the business the power to secure data flowing in and out of the enterprise, since it was controlled through a single point of access. But with the wave of work-from-anywhere and the availability of apps hosted, employees are now connecting to their work tools, apps, files and communications through the open internet and the cloud.
This transformation in today’s workstyle requires a security approach which will protect employee devices at the edge of the cloud, as well as secure apps and key data, all the while enforcing consistent cyber policies and rules across the diverse range of connections employees leverage. This explains the rapid adoption today of SASE, which integrates cybersecurity with network connections to offer a more effective way of ensuring employees are connected to the resources they need, while securing networks from cyberattacks.
SASE can go a long way toward strengthening an organization’s network architecture. SASE’s integration of security and networking solutions include firewall-as-a-service (FWaaS) and ZTNA, and these are integrated into a unified service that can be delivered entirely through the cloud. Cloud delivery offers organizations greater flexibility, making it easy to apply security services and consistent policies where they are needed. Secure and seamless transition from the cloud is critical since so many applications are cloud based, including collaborative communications.
Since staff are working from anywhere, they need an effective comprehensive security approach that will enable them to connect to resources seamlessly and easily. SASE delivers all this while making sure the user, the device, the applications and the data are kept secure. Security is multi-layered – when you leave your home, you don’t just lock the front door, you secure the windows and all entry points, and switch on the alarm. SASE also delivers a multi-layered approach, and allows enterprises to fully enable and secure their networks, while providing visibility into network traffic and analytics.
Cybersecurity and this multi-layered approach need to become more of an integrated consideration for every new project. For example, in today’s work-from-anywhere environment, every organization area needs imbedded security, including those remote workers at home. Simply educating home workers about security risks is not enough to protect organizations’ networks from malicious attacks.
In today’s world where any organization can be a target for cyberattack, a strongly secured network architecture and end-to-end visibility are the building blocks to a resilient security posture. Enabling a single point of control using approaches such as SASE will help ensure organizations can create a more streamlined and secure network architecture, whether from the headquarters or remote locations. To protect private data and networks, all organizations should work toward a common goal – implementing a business approach that combines the three crucial elements of network architecture, security and visibility.
Organizations of all sizes are adopting SASE and transitioning to its new all-purpose fully integrated networking and cybersecurity approach. They are seeing results of simplifying their systems, protecting the business, and saving money. This allows today’s work-from-anywhere organizations to adopt this flexible new workstyle while keeping the wave of cyber thieves in check.
Kelly Ahuja is a seasoned industry veteran with more than 20 years of experience in networking and telecommunications. He currently serves on the board of directors for two startups in Silicon Valley.
Kelly spent 18 years at Cisco rooted in the design and deployment of telecommunications networks. He was most recently SVP of Service Provider Business, Products and Solutions at Cisco where he was responsible for developing and managing the service provider segment strategy and portfolio. Kelly held several other senior executive roles at Cisco, including SVP and GM of the Mobility Business Group, Chief Architect for the Service Provider business, and SVP and GM of the Service Provider Routing Technology Group. Earlier in his career, Kelly served as VP of Marketing at optical networking startup BlueLeaf Networks and product management leader at Stratacom. He also managed the design and deployment of data and voice networks for AT&T Canada, Bank of Canada and Telesat Canada. Kelly holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Calgary.
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