The COVID-19 pandemic suddenly transformed the way that we all work. Businesses around the world found themselves rapidly shifting to a remote work environment that required agile reconfiguration of systems and shifts in security policy. Cybersecurity teams scrambled to protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the data entrusted to their care while accommodating unprecedented remote work requirements.
Now that organizations have settled into these new work routines, it’s time to take a look at how these changes will shape future trends in the way that we work and how security teams can build controls that both facilitate remote work and foster a defense-in-depth approach to cybersecurity.
Let’s look at four major cybersecurity trends that will endure beyond the pandemic.
Secure Access Service Edge
SASE architectures move organizations away from the perimeter-focused protection philosophies that dominated when computers were located in offices and connected to VPNs. Instead, this approach uses a combination of security technologies to focus controls on users and devices, providing secure access to the cloud services that dominate today’s computing environment. Organizations adopting SASE approaches gain better control over their devices and data while also reducing the burden on their infrastructure by avoiding routing all traffic through a VPN.
MFA plays a crucial role in identity and access management programs and will continue to do so in the future. When users are spread around the world, we must embrace the ability of MFA to provide added assurance of their identities before granting them access to sensitive data. Organizations will continue to roll out integrated MFA approaches that cover all users of all applications across all device types.
Next-Generation Endpoint Protection
NGEP technologies were already replacing traditional anti-virus solutions before the pandemic began. The mass exodus to remote work increased the urgency of this shift as almost every user connected corporate devices to personal wireless networks. NGEP platforms protect corporate systems against the unknown risks facing them from potentially compromised devices belonging to children, roommates, guests and other users with whom they share a common network.
This technology became far more important during the pandemic. While organizations have traditionally relied on users to make periodic visits to the office or connections to the VPN to push updates to operating systems and applications, the reality is that many devices have been absent from corporate networks for over a year. Remote patching solutions leverage the cloud to provide these updates in a timely manner, regardless of the user’s location.
While the pandemic certainly required businesses to rapidly build out remote work capabilities, each of the four trends that we’ve highlighted — SASE, MFA, NGEP and remote patching — were already on the horizon. The impact of the pandemic was to press the accelerator to the floor and force us to make changes overnight . Now, we have the ability to step back and better integrate these new technologies into the way that we work in a post-pandemic world.