Extending cybersecurity to employees no matter where they’re working

For many employees, the traditional workplace has evolved over the past 20+ years into today’s work-from-anywhere (WFA) environment. And recently, this evolution—with a boost from 2020’s global pandemic shutdowns—has accelerated at breakneck speed. Currently, many organizations and their IT cybersecurity teams are struggling to keep up with the pace of change.

While IT leadership is desperately trying to provide consistent support and protection for their WFA people, there’s never been a more opportune time for cybercriminals to take advantage of the new challenges, vulnerabilities, and expansion of the attack surface. Evidence of the increase in cyberattacks can be found in a recent global survey commissioned by Fortinet for a WFA study.

The new report reveals that 62% of respondents indicated their organizations experienced a security breach during the past two to three years that could be at least partially attributed to an employee working remotely.

It’s a given that no matter where workers are located, their employer should protect them from cyberthreats or risk disastrous consequences to the organization. To avoid major negative repercussions and get the most out of the hybrid workforce, CISOs and IT cybersecurity teams must provide an on-site, enterprise-level of protection whether an employee is at home, on-site, on the road, or anywhere in-between.

The cybersecurity mesh platform

Supporting a hybrid workforce that works from multiple locations puts a significant amount of pressure and responsibility on networking and security teams. The onus is on them to upgrade legacy technologies like VPN with more advanced solutions that improve both WFA cybersecurity and the user experience.

It is almost impossible to secure a WFA environment using non-compatible endpoint protection, EDR, identity, and firewall solutions from multiple vendors. One of the best advanced solutions that organizations can deploy to protect their WFA employees is a cybersecurity mesh platform from one vendor that delivers endpoint, network, and remote access security. The platform approach also solves the issue of managing and coordinating separate, point products with different policies for each location.

CISOs will sincerely appreciate a mesh platform that has enterprise-class security and provides a consistent user experience as well as comprehensive management and reporting. In short, organizations need a cybersecurity mesh platform that delivers a broad, integrated, and automated solution to secure endpoints, networks, and application access.

Four other advanced technologies for today’s WFA

In addition to fortifying an organization with the mesh platform approach and a next-generation firewall (NGFW) on-site, the following five advanced technologies will also help keep employees productive and secure wherever they happen to be working and whenever they’re on the clock.

  1. Endpoint protection

Because people often take their company-issued laptops and connect to the organization’s network via unsecured public access points, endpoint protection is a necessity. The industry has seen an increase in sophisticated malware attacks on devices that lead to infiltration of organizations’ networks.

CISOs and IT teams require an endpoint detection and response (EDR) solution that combines cloud-based artificial intelligence with automated playbooks to keep devices and their associated employees productive and secure. A premiere EDR solution will detect advanced threats in real time and stop breaches and ransomware attacks.

  1. Application access control

IT cybersecurity teams require a zero-trust network access (ZTNA) solution that acts as an access policy engine and controls access to applications and more. This technology provides appropriate access for employees based on user and device identity, location, device type, and posture to establish secure access.

ZTNA provides more verification and authentication of users and devices than a VPN. It also automates the encrypted tunnels and provides granular application access, improving both cybersecurity and the user experience.

  1. Cloud-based cybersecurity services

A cloud-based cybersecurity service such as Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) is ideal for protecting WFA staff—whether they’re working from a hotel room, a train station, a restaurant, or their home. EDR and ZTNA solutions can secure the endpoint and control application access, but access to the internet should be protected by a cloud-based secure web gateway (SWG) and Firewall-as-a-Service (FWaaS) services for secure connectivity from different locales. FortiSASE converges cloud-delivered networking (Secure SD-WAN) and cloud-delivered security (SSE), which includes SWG, universal ZTNA, next-generation dual-mode cloud access security broker (CASB), and FWaaS.

  1. Authentication tools

Identity and access management (IAM) tools are also important to successfully protecting WFA employees when they are working off-site. These types of tools enable the quick and proper authentication of users with multi-factor authentication (MFA) when combined with identity services.

WFA requires cybersecurity everywhere

Protecting employees as they glide between office, home, coffee shop, airport, and everywhere in between has always been a challenge for IT teams—especially as attacks have increased on WFA workers. We recommend partnering with a vendor that offers integrated, comprehensive cybersecurity, so your organization can secure and connect your WFA employees and devices to critical applications and resources no matter where they are located.

Learn more about how Fortinet ZTNA improves secure access to applications anywhere.


Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.

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