OK — we’re all online, and we’re all remote — what's next? Most companies — Barracuda included — have been rapidly scaling up plans for more robust online access and secure remote workforce connectivity in the face of Covid-19. None of us anticipated “shelter-in-place” and wholesale building closures within two to three days. But here we are. People blinked, and the world was different.
First, the good news — most companies have exercised existing remote capabilities, pushed their cloud offerings, and enhanced their scaling capabilities. No one I know in IT is entirely comfortable with the situation in which they find themselves, though. Plans were incomplete at best, the scale of what needed to be accomplished was underestimated — and some critical aspects like security were deferred to “later.”As companies rapidly scaled up plans for remote access in light of the #coronavirus outbreak, some critical aspects like security got pushed off to later. See how you can take corrective action now. #remoteworkClick To Tweet
Corrective actions you can take now
We think that you might be able to turn “later” into corrective actions that can occur now as you adjust to the new normal, instead of becoming yet another fire drill of issues created by this rapid, wholesale virtual reality. One major aspect, of course, is cloud. Even if you added in new scalability to hosted options, you can still look at how to move those apps to a cloud you control. And what about secure remote connectivity, cost-effective SD-WAN, and virtual WAN options? After the panic is over, the cost of everybody’s response may well become its own new issue. So organizations should look at how they can leverage managed or SaaS solutions for access and security that are more cost-effective and will work for the long-term — because frankly we don’t know if this is three weeks or three months.
The next thing is figuring out now — before they become their own issues — what new vulnerabilities have been created by this accelerated adoption and what damage they might inflict. Most cloud security issues are self-caused — misconfigurations, easily-hacked pages, and the like. This is difficult — but not impossible — to figure out after the fact. Hand-in-hand with this is understanding just what remote workers ARE doing with data that is rapidly going out of your control.
Now the bad news — in my opinion, you’ve already gone through it. Nobody I have talked to felt fully prepared nor totally comfortable with this “new normal.” But now that we’re here, I believe it’s easy to fix the mistakes we’re making and rework our “new normal” even as people are dealing with remote and online access, to make it more effective and more secure.Figure out what new vulnerabilities have been created by accelerated adoption of #RemoteAccess and what damage they might inflict. #coronavirus #CloudSecurityClick To Tweet
Looking ahead to new solutions
So what should you be thinking about? First of all, which vendors promote cloud, online, and remote access? They are your new leaders. They already understand many of the problems you have yet to face. Their partners are potentially your new best friends because they can help guide you into your new better space.
Second, which of those vendors provide scanners or other easily-accessed tools that will provide you with a snapshot of your environment today and more important, what might you have missed? In nearly all cases, these remedies are something you can implement in situ, i.e. without disrupting anybody’s new normal. Note, I said tools — these are different than marketing-driven scans or other offers that are designed more to frighten than enlighten.
And third, don’t be afraid of looking at new vendors and new solutions. In this whole morass of new normals, some of your favorite vendors may come up very short, and providers you’ve never considered may have a different vision or capability, helping you gain control and comfort over your new all-online, all-remote world.
Ways Barracuda can help
Take Barracuda, for example. In some ways we’re the underdog, but in others, we have a vision of an online, cloud, and hybrid world that would be ruinous to many of the more traditional vendors. I think the Vulnerability Scanner and Cloud Security Posture Scanner are very useful in this situation. They provide actionable details on real issues (aside from their obvious sales value). Look at our anti-phishing solutions, too. After all, if your users are newly online and nervous, bad actors always see that as an opportunity.
This is also opportunity for you — even if it is “after the fact” — to craft a new normal for your organization that is sustainable and secure. Who knows what the working world will be like when this is over? I believe many things will return to the way they were, but others will be inexorably changed. Some things do work better online, and sometimes remote trumps onsite. Change is always an opportunity. Now is the time to embrace it rather than hide from it. Take advantage of every tool and angle that vendors may provide. We, too, are adjusting to a new normal and helping secure our customers in all things IT has been taken a new level. Again, another opportunity.
Rich is the Director of Public Cloud Product Marketing at Barracuda. He joined the team as part of the acquisition of C2C Systems in 2014. Rich is one of Barracuda’s public cloud experts – he works directly with the cloud ecosystems and has been quoted in eBooks from Microsoft on public cloud security. He is also a frequent contributor to Barracuda’s own cloud blogs. For our cloud motions, he helps develop strategies and execution with our partners and sales teams.
You can email Rich at firstname.lastname@example.org.