The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone and has changed the way companies must work. For businesses, the largest impact is in accelerating changes that were already under way. For example, lockdown and social distancing measures drove the shift to hybrid working, with vast numbers of employees bringing their offices into their homes. Remote working is nothing new: It was already on the rise. But the sudden, dramatic increase of staff working from home brought its challenges to the forefront, particularly the challenge of ensuring satisfactory levels of security.
The attack surface for businesses has rapidly expanded. From a company’s point of view, an employee’s home network is no more secure than a public Wi-Fi access point. The risks are the same. Traditional security solutions cannot protect a device if it sits outside of the company network. The pandemic also accelerated digital transformation, which has led to a large increase in cloud consumption and an increased need for online and digital services. This has created new complications.
It’s clear that traditional perimeter security solutions are no longer effective. People are working from many different locations, disconnected from the on-premises security architectures that used to protect them.
Rethinking security at your organization
The shift to remote work demands that businesses rethink security. So does the rise in successful data breaches, particularly ransomware. The cloud needs to be part of this new approach — simply shifting your current, centralized security infrastructure to the cloud is not going to be effective.
You need security controls everywhere, managed and monitored from the cloud. And, with remote workers using SaaS applications such as Office 365 and dealing with sensitive data in the cloud, it’s vital that companies can provide a solution that guarantees secure access to services and applications.
How SASE can help
That solution is Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) architectures. SASE is a cloud-based approach that delivers security capabilities wherever they’re needed, whether employees are in the office or working from home, in coworking spaces or subsidiaries, or even in public locations like coffee shops. While centralized security solutions work in specific locations such as offices, they struggle to protect remote users. And these solutions can’t simply be shifted to the cloud to do this. A centralized approach in the cloud that requires all traffic travel through it retains many of the limitations of an on-premises center. SASE works to secure devices and networks anywhere, providing the same level of security regardless of the location or the device used.
Many companies share an approach to security that uses multiple security solutions from different providers. This creates a disorganized infrastructure with different components responsible for different functions. SASE, on the other hand, is an integrated solution that consolidates these processes, thus reducing complexity. Using fewer solutions means a lower cost, which is another key benefit of choosing SASE. It also goes beyond traditional VPNs used by remote workers. SASE is more reliable and easier to use than such outdated legacy systems.
The real challenge isn’t choosing where your security solution sits, but deciding how it operates. Detaching your security stack from the data center and moving it to the cloud is not sufficient. It’s vital to have a solution that securely and efficiently connects sites, things, people, and the cloud. This is what SASE brings to the table.
Ensuring maximum protection with SD-WAN, FWaaS, ZTNA, SWG, and XDR
To ensure an efficient level of security with SASE, a number of other elements need to be integrated. First, implement a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) to connect multiple offices. Adding Firewall-as-a-Service capabilities to the SD-WAN network adds additional security to the corporate network. Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) is another key component to embed into your SASE solution. ZTNA adds another layer of security by granting users access to data or applications only after they have been authenticated, then allowing them access through an encrypted connection, regardless of the location.
A secure web gateway (SWG) blocks unauthorized traffic from entering your organization’s network. This prevents malicious users from entering, and it protects against viruses and malware that could spread across the network. Finally, implementing extended detection and response (XDR) provides threat detection that goes beyond just waiting for threats to enter the network. An XDR provides 24/7 threat detection and response, addressing problems as soon as they are identified.
A SASE solution that combines at least these five services into its architecture is the way to go. It provides a comprehensive, holistic cloud-based security solution that addresses all the challenges that increased remote and hybrid working bring. Centralized on-premises solutions are now insufficient. With so many people now working outside of the office, a cloud-based solution that connects all users, locations, and devices is the only way to provide a high level of security across your organization.
Find out more about Barracuda’s cloud-based SASE solutions and request a no-risk, free evaluation.