digital nomads
Fostering Digital Transformation One Nomad at a Time: How Both Organizations and Employees Benefit from Remote Work Strategies
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Digital Nomad, a term coined twenty years ago by Hitachi executive Tsugio Makimoto in his book by the same name, predicted that technology combined with our natural urge to travel would let people live, work, and exist on the go rather than being tied to an office desk or physical work location.

Today, 4.8 million independent workers in the United States describe themselves as digital nomads with 17 million more aspiring to become nomadic workers according to findings by MBO Partners. Digital nomads are defined as a population of independent workers that embrace a location-independent, technology-enabled lifestyle that allows them to travel and work remotely, anywhere in the world.

The rise of the digital nomad also embodies the essence and promise of digital transformation. The Workplace Evolution study by the Harvard Business Review found that “Digitization is impacting every aspect of business, radically changing the ways in which companies grow and compete. The speed and scale at which technological breakthroughs are emerging have no historical precedent and have created an imperative for businesses across industries to respond rapidly with their own digital transformations in order to drive growth and create competitive advantage.”

Organizations that move forward with new digital transformation strategies, products, services, cloud computing infrastructures and business models, also must develop new ways for their global ecosystem of workers to engage and add value. A worker’s ability to connect anywhere, anytime to collaborate with coworkers can determine the level of productivity possible within an enterprise, beyond independent contractors that would normally be considered remote workers. The Workplace Evolution study also found that an organization’s workplace strategy can be a key enabler of or hindrance to digital transformation illustrating the need for organizations to adopt new modes of work to maximize productivity.

Digital Native Expectations

By 2025 digital natives, those technologically adept with the expectations of a nomadic work lifestyle will make up 75 percent of the global workforce, according to a future of work-study by Microsoft. This new breed of workers expects work flexibility including where and when they work with flexible office spaces on demand to connect and collaborate with coworkers when necessary. Generationally, digital natives demand the lifestyle afforded to digital nomads, something that 75 percent of Millennials would like to do more of. Millennials and Generation Z are also looking for increased employer flexibility about where and when they work with staying connected being key to both their work and personal lives.

Digital natives have grown up with technologies such as smartphones and social media being the primary way they communicate with friends and coworkers. “For them, forming and conducting relationships with people through mobile technology tools and platforms is simply how the world is supposed to operate, including at work. These digital natives are also more likely to prioritize a sense of purpose when considering where to work and are often motivated as much by the desire to ensure their work has a positive impact on society as they are by more traditional measures of success,” states Microsoft.

Benefits of Working Remotely

In the last 20 years, the number of remote workers has quadrupled. And today 43% of all U.S. employees work off-site at least part-time, according to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report. Research also shows that employees believe working remotely is not a productivity barrier with the majority of Americans believing that remote workers are just as productive as those who work in an on-site office.

Providing employees with the ability to work remotely benefits both businesses and workers. According to Microsoft, in addition to increased productivity, businesses save over $11,000 per remote worker per year on decreased real estate costs, electricity, staff turnover and absenteeism.

Enabling employees to work remotely also benefits the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 54 million tons per year, roughly the equivalent of taking 10 million cars off the road. With the average round-trip work commute standing at 54 minutes a day, employees who work from home can save the equivalent of 30 work days per year that normally would have been spent in a car.

Online Security for Digital Nomads and Remote Workers

As companies embrace both digital nomads and digital natives desiring remote teamwork and open information sharing, online security is becoming more critical than ever as organizations must plan to protect their digital assets and customer data in a new work world. With 85 percent of corporate assets already digital and more information existing outside of a company than inside a company due to the rise of cloud computing, an unprecedented rise in cyberattacks is taking hold.

In 2017, the number of security breaches more than doubled compared to the previous year. For businesses, the stakes are high as it takes companies an average of more than 99 days to discover a security breach and roughly 50 days to address the breach itself. A study of 65 public companies that experienced cyber attacks since 2013 found stock market valuations fell by as much as 15 percent in the most severe cases. And it is estimated that cybercrime will cost approximately $6 trillion per year on average through 2021. 

Even more critical is the potential impact on brand reputation and trust: data breaches that expose customer information can be devastating not only to a company’s reputation but also its balance sheet.

Identity as the New Perimeter

 As the methods that malicious online actors use to attack organizations continue to evolve and increase in sophistication, organizations must stay ahead and deploy strategies to protect both their critical information assets and workers.

Organizations cannot rely solely on the traditional model of securing an organizations’ perimeters as identity itself has become the new perimeter due to digital transformation and remote workers, contractors, partners and suppliers all interacting with critical and private data across the globe on a daily basis. The need to identify who is accessing what information or online resource and when is quickly becoming a critical component of every modern cybersecurity strategy today.

With more businesses adopting open and collaborative work cultures that embody the ethos of the digital nomad, they are also risking the security of their information assets by allowing the open flow of data across devices, people, and physical locations.

The future of work styles enabled by digital technology and cloud computing necessitates a new way to secure and protect information as perimeters become porous with the distance between attacker and employee or contractor being only access credentials. New security models must start with an individual’s identity to identify data and digital resource breaches at the worker level so that the breach can be quickly stopped before they spread.

Companies today and in the future will need to deploy security solutions that maximize worker productivity while balancing the desire for digital nomads and digital natives to work and collaborate freely with coworkers globally. By providing remote workers, contractors, partners or suppliers with remote access tools and technologies that include critical identity access solutions, organizations will be able to protect not only their own information assets but also their worker’s data, devices and apps and resources any time, anywhere.

Read More
real estate
The Real Estate Industry as an Unexpected Target for Hackers
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Over the past decade, companies in the technology, government, finance, and retail industries have become a common target for cybercriminals, but additional – and less obvious – industries are at risk as well. One of these unexpected targets is real estate, which has recently grabbed the attention of hackers as a source of data that’s easy to dip their fingers into. 

The real estate industry does not immediately bring to mind data security, password management, or networking. However, it is important to consider the amount of personal data stored in the networks of real estate firms. Between contracts, personal information, bank accounts, and other details – data floating around the real estate industry is much more valuable (and exposed) than previously assumed.

Real estate companies and agents often work online with housing listings and hosted real estate systems. While these systems offer many modern benefits for real estate agents, they also increase the exposure to different security risks including outdated software, limited password policies, and system vulnerabilities. While these systems are critical for real estate agents to do their job, they must consider the different security risks that can threaten clients’ data and personal information. 

The average real estate agent or employee does not consider the security risks that come along with their job. In order to protect their clients’ information, it is pertinent that real estate workers understand what they can do to avoid falling victim to a cyber attack.

Why is the Real Estate Industry an Attractive Target? 

real_estate_infographic

 

 Image from One Step Secure IT, 2018

The real estate industry accounts for a large number of financial transactions that involve sensitive information. This information tends to include bank account numbers and the buyer’s personal data based on the real estate system stored via the cloud. With a large amount of sensitive data on the cloud, hackers are finding real estate data is more accessible than ever before.  

The most famous attack on the real estate industry occurred in 2019 with a data breach of real estate and title insurance giant First American. The data breach exposed the sensitive financial data of over 885 million customers. This is just one example of recent attacks on the industry. It makes sense to aim at the real estate industry as its market value is evaluated at over $32 trillion: a ripe target that makes it clear why hackers are attracted to this sector.

Hackers enjoy learning more about their victims by taking the time to research the ins and outs of their targets. When attacking targets in the real estate industry they run phishing campaigns to gather personal information in order to exploit the different accounts of real estate agents, sellers, buyers, and anyone involved in the sales process. After gathering the requisite information, hackers might casually wait when the sale of the property is final, and when it’s time to transfer funds they will imitate the person they are hacking and redirect the funds into their own accounts. 

Easy Targets to Attack 

Many real estate companies are not up to date with the most recent security risks, which can make them an easy target for hackers. In general, the real estate industry is less security-minded than other industries, lending itself to a weaker security posture. 

Unlike governments or financial regulators, which enforce some level of compliance or security policy on various sectors, the real estate industry has relatively less oversight and has not entertained any law requiring relevant companies to adopt policies to protect their client’s data or their network systems and resources.  

Even with regulations in place, merely implementing security policies isn’t enough for real estate businesses. Unlike other industries that have been dealing with cyber attacks for years and are more prepared against attacks, the real estate industry is far from safe and must do extra reinforcement. 

Most real estate firms are still implementing outdated and non-cloud friendly network solutions to run their infrastructures. These systems don’t have the modern security features in place to fight off more sophisticated attacks. 

The systems, and how to revamp them, are not the only problems that real estate players tolerate. They must also be aware of the popular types of attacks that hackers will implement and how they can direct their resources to defend against them:

Business Email Compromise

The most popular attack used by hackers on real estate companies is a business email compromise (BEC) attack. A BEC attack convinces businesses to wire funds to an account by impersonating the business (in the case of real estate it would be the sellers of the property). In most cases, the hackers will send an email from a fake account that looks similar to the employee in the business. Often they will use the name of the CEO or the name of the trusted party in the transaction. According to the FBI, over $3 billion of losses have been due to business email attacks.  

Ransomware 

Cybercriminals send out malicious emails to victims with the sole intention to click on a link in the email. If the person falls victim, the hacker can easily encrypt all of the victim’s data and resources. A successful ransomware attack results in blocking access to the exploited data and resources, making it unusable until the ransom is paid to the hacker. Real estate is targeted frequently with ransomware attacks due to massive amounts of employee data, significant sums of money in bank accounts, and confidential information that can be exploited. 

Cloud Vendor Flaws

Real estate businesses are following the popular trend of adopting cloud-based services for implementing corporate resources on the cloud. While the cloud offers many benefits it does come with some security risks. Cybercriminals won’t need to attack your business to gather your sensitive information, instead they can target cloud vendors to access your data. By adopting a cloud service provider you might think you are decreasing security risks but in fact  organizations need to take extra steps internally to stay secure. Stay up to date with securing business devices and enforce strong password protection. 

Looking Forward

It is important for the real estate industry to understand the risks involved in storing sensitive data without proper security precautions. For the employees who are leading IT and security efforts at real estate firms, it’s vital to think about security on a daily basis and learn to face the ramifications of a poor cyber security policy. Not doing so risks the erosion of the industry and also faith in one of the strongest and most foundational markets in the world.

Read More
Choose SASE for better performance and security
Don’t Neglect SASE’s Impact on Network Performance
Reading Time: 3 minutes

In the end-of-2020 cybersecurity word cloud – a swarm in which floats the most frequently seen, heard, and spoken words in the industry – one four letter acronym will appear bigger and bolder than all the rest: SASE. When discussing Secure Access Service Edge, most of the excitement surrounds its unifying characteristics and how IT finally has a consolidated tool for both networking and security from the cloud.

SASE will improve security and make it easier to achieve, but along with this simple idea comes other benefits. Anticipated less frequently (given that these solutions aren’t being widely consumed yet) is how SASE also delivers better performance across the organization in terms of throughput and productivity. Performance is a complement to the security delivered to companies, thanks to multiple factors including SASE’s presence on the edge, its low-touch quality in terms of IT effort, and the clarity it brings to networks.

A Measurable Network Boost

A central tenet of SASE is that the network is no longer organized around resources that are held in the headquarters, so security needs to match this arrangement. SASE therefore exists in the cloud where its network security functions can be easily integrated into both local and cloud architecture, and managed from a single panel. 

Key to the networking chops of SASE is that providers with a global backbone of data centers are able to put resource access portals closer to where employees and branch offices reside. Instead of every employee connecting to the same resource through a single point, they can do so with their individual devices through gateways nearby. This offers employees around the globe lower-latency access to the tools they need for work.

Speed is increased further due to the lower amount of network congestion that occurs due to SASE’s user-focused access policies. Because it’s built on SD-WAN, organizations using SASE for distributed, secure remote access are able to also create custom rules for certain sources of traffic. This reduces the bandwidth allowed to low-priority users or guests on the network, for example, and it all happens with rules that trigger based on granular qualifiers such as location, device, role and more. With the visibility that SASE provides over network endpoints and resources, it’s easy to “direct traffic” autonomously and efficiently.

Finally, since SASE is a unified solution, customers of a single SASE provider such as Perimeter 81 have multiple choices even within individual security tools. For example, if a company’s network is seen to enjoy faster connection times and lower latency while using the WireGuard encryption protocol, instead of the IPSec or SSL protocols available with other vendors, then they can freely switch to it or even create rules that determine under which traffic conditions these various protocols are applied.

For IT and Employees, SASE Aids Productivity

With traffic controls, segmentation, better visibility and local gateways pushing resources to the edge, it’s no wonder that networks on SASE run seamlessly and smoothly. However, that’s only half the equation. SASE also reduces costs and simplifies the processes that IT engages in, which improves departmental performance significantly.

IT employees no longer have to navigate several different misaligned security solutions each with various ways to control access – they need only to login to their centralized SASE panel, on which all functions related to networking (access policies, segmentation, creation of users and groups, traffic rules, gateway building etc.) and security (enforcement of tools like 2FA, DNS filtering, encryption etc.) reside. 

The sheer amount of time saved maintaining, patching, configuring, and returning to the same tools every time the organization adds a new resource or user is astounding. Not only does this cut costs in terms of the raw number of solutions managed by any organization, it also cuts the burden of time invested from IT’s side, and gives IT managers more leeway to assign proactive, performative, and potentially profit-seeking IT activities to their staff.

With SASE as a multitool – almost a Swiss Army knife of network and security functionality – organizations can clean house and quickly consolidate the various security vendors and subscriptions they used to consume. Suddenly having the same total utilities but concentrated into one tool is a self-explanatory advantage, but the residual benefits – mostly performance related – will be more visible as SASE gains market share.

Read More
Defend Crypto Attacks
Profile of a Cybercriminal: Cryptocurrency Attacks
Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

It’s true that data has value – just look at Google and Facebook’s business models – but blockchain and cryptocurrency take this idea literally. Cryptocurrency is a literal term because for its hordes of users, cryptography fulfills many of the characteristics that are required to define a “currency”, such as verification of ownership and transferability. Data’s value, on the other hand, comes from the information it holds.

The cryptocurrency model has worked so far, and so naturally, people want to steal it as much as they do data or paper money. Metaphorically, hackers might perpetrate a smash and grab job to steal an organization’s data, but cryptocurrency can sometimes involve more subtle attacks of a different kind – even if the company doesn’t have any cryptocurrency in the first place. Learning to recognize these attacks and others is vital for achieving a proper security posture.

A Blockchain Breed of Cyber Threat

Thanks to blockchain’s unique style of decentralized networking, companies will encounter a new type of attack that isn’t the outright theft of data, a DDoS attack, or something similarly brash. It revolves around the core idea of decentralization that defines blockchain:  that computing power needed to serve users of blockchain websites or apps isn’t generated by a server on the grid. Instead, it’s shared between participants – ideally regular people who use their own computers to support the network.

But hackers exist to turn innovations into weapons. They’ve begun designing attacks that hijack remote PCs to do this, even corporate endpoints, and these attacks connect affected PCs to the blockchain, enslaving them in service of the chain. Crypto mining scams steal a small, nearly untraceable amount of CPU power – even from an employee’s mobile device – and essentially donate it to a blockchain that then rewards the hacker with cryptocurrencies that are then sent to their wallet.

Employees don’t even have to download anything – merely browsing the wrong website is enough. The popular CoinHive program, for example, can steal power from tens of thousands of PCs at once, and stays active even when users close their browser windows. Once a person lands on an infected website, it opens a tiny window hidden under the Start icon on the Windows OS desktop, so CPU power continues to be siphoned off even if the main window is closed. 

For IT teams looking to defend against drive-by crypto mining, it is possible with a two-pronged approach that uses both DNS filtering and advanced network monitoring utilities. The first line of defense is the DNS filter, which can proactively block sites that are known to be infected or those likely to be (using “bitcoin” as a blacklisting keyword for instance). Monitoring can then keep a close eye on bandwidth usage over the network, ensuring that all network bandwidth is being used for the company’s benefit. 

Crypto Scam Defenses Combine Old and New

In a reversal, attacks might be perpetrated from your network and not against it. An employee might mine on his or her company laptop, or if they were especially malicious, use company resources like the website to purposely infect visitors’ or users’ PCs to mine coins. This may have been the case with popular tech support tool LiveHelpNow, a widget which was installed on thousands of customers’ networks to provide their users with easy access to support – but also secretly provided one malicious hacker with a personal stash of Monero coins.

The Zero Trust security approach, achievable with software-defined networking tools, contains elements that would help identify strange network behavior but also institute least-privilege permissions to employees. These would filter who gets access to specific resources on the network. If LiveHelpNow had a rogue employee compromising its product, perhaps limiting access would have stopped them from sneaking in code that affected customers.

For organizations, it’s also important to remember that not all cryptocurrency attacks are this subtle theft of processing power, there are also the more noticeable and devastating network breaches like those meant to steal data. Some of the biggest ransomware attacks infiltrate the network and encrypt important files. They make themselves known by demanding a ransom in cryptocurrency to unlock access to the files, but a classic cybersecurity defense is effective against these events: firewalls, backups, and traffic encryption.

Ransomware can easily make its way into the network when a remote employee connects to resources on an unmanaged device or through an exposed Wi-Fi connection, so enforcing VPN use is bare minimum. Users shouldn’t be able to access resources without encryption, and firewalls are helpful in identifying suspicious traffic and deterring it. Finally, regular backups and patching go a long way to making ransomware attacks harmless – backups mean that data ransoming is pointless, while patching prevents the biggest OS exploits much like with the bitcoin-rich WannaCry worm, which took advantage of weaknesses in Windows 7 and 10.

A Blockchain Re-education

Only a comprehensive security model, one that’s classically equipped but updated with new training against its new foe, is capable of claiming confidence against cryptocurrency scams. From new types of attacks to familiar ones that have an alternate purpose, organizations should ideally go for a multilayered approach in order to put their concerns behind them. Educating employees, as it is with non-crypto attacks, is vital as well.

The decentralizing ideas that define cryptocurrency are all about empowering individuals, but unfortunately, the wrong individuals can feel empowered as well. It’s useful to remind employees how to resist temptation and improve their habits, and also to prepare networks for a younger generation of attacks that manipulate them in new ways.

Read More
Tool_sprawl
Tool Sprawl: Does Your Company Have Too Many Security Tools?
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Over the years, technology has designed the way we work and live today. As the world evolves and advances, technology does as well.  Just in the past century, we have seen unimaginable technological advancements that have shaped the way we work. Technology allows businesses and their employees to work quicker, be more productive and more efficient.

In the security sector, there is a new phenomenon that is affecting productivity. Today, businesses are shifting from implementing internal security solutions to adopting third party security solutions for their internal and external security.  

While adopting third-party vendor security solutions comes with many benefits such as saving costs and time, automation and more, a common challenge has arisen: security teams are using hundreds of security solutions in their security stack. Each solution provides security alerts that they need to fix manually. On many occasions, businesses will be using similar technologies for the same security challenges. This abundance of solutions offers the idea that security teams won’t know where to go when a security risk occurs in their business. 

What is Tool Sprawl?

The typical organization’s network is more complicated than ever. More resources are in the cloud than on-prem and  IT teams have enlisted a bevy of tools to regain the network visibility they need to ensure security. These tools are numerous, and while they may be able to provide visibility, orchestrating and managing them is difficult and unwieldy even for the most seasoned IT professionals. 

Tool sprawl is the idea of organizations investing in a range of products that make it harder for IT teams to manage and orchestrate the solutions. In the security industry, we see this challenge on a daily basis. While tool sprawl doesn’t happen overnight, it slowly creeps up with every addition of a new solution. 

Most businesses will adopt a new tool in order to fix a specific challenge and then before they know it, they will be using hundreds of tools that become unmanageable. Instead of fixing a problem businesses suddenly have added more challenges. According to a 451 research survey, the average IT and security team are using between 10-30 security monitoring solutions for applications, network infrastructures, and cloud environments. 

Tool sprawl isn’t just for businesses. In fact, the average employee experiences the challenge of tool sprawl in their daily work environment. According to a HubSpot survey, the typical employee is using more than 6 tools on a daily basis and the number will continue to expand. In every level of a business, the result of tool sprawl has become a burden instead of a solution to the problem. 

The increasing adoption of more solutions has created more consequences for organizations and their IT and security teams. The main repercussions that businesses will experience with tool sprawl is high cost and less effective threat response. 

Tool sprawl can get expensive as each additional solution is added. With each solution, employees are forced to be trained on how to use it and how it can relate to their day to day job. Over time this approach is extremely time consuming and not cost-effective.  

Secondly, tool sprawl lowers threat response time. By trying to manage a “Tool Sprawl” environment. Sometimes it might even put the organization at risk when it comes to identifying an attack or to incident response. Instead of responding fast to an attack, it will take the organization a long time to collect the logs and notifications and understand what kind of attack they are dealing with and what action they should take. 

Tool Sprawl Increasing Security Vulnerabilities  

Today’s cyber attacks are more sophisticated and harder to detect – which means sensitive data is more vulnerable than ever. Organizations are adapting to the new threats by moving all their networks and resources to the cloud which has resulted in an increase of misconfigured and exposed deployments of various software. 

This fact, together with ensuing hybrid IT complexity, is creating new security challenges for IT teams. Many organizations choose to implement a range of innovative security technologies in order to deal with the new-generation threats. Implementing those solutions seems essential to IT managers for improving visibility across cloud deployment but the adoption of more solutions to their security stack creates more security risks. 

The result of tool sprawl is diminishing the visibility across employees’ devices and networks which are trying to connect to cloud resources. With the lack of network visibility due to tool sprawl, security teams will experience delayed threat response time and not knowing which tool will fix that specific security risk. By not knowing which tool to use when a specific attack occurs, the organization’s resources and networks will become more vulnerable than before.  Additionally, tool sprawl can provide another challenge for IT and security teams by accidentally creating a lack of confidence in employees’ ability to monitor and enforce fixes when a security risk is presented.

While tools are numerous and they may be able to provide visibility, orchestrating and managing them is difficult and unwieldy even for IT professionals. How do we fix the issue of tool sprawl?

The Emergence of SASE Could Finally End Security Tool Sprawl

In order to gain a high Return On Investment (ROI) with third-party security solutions, organizations need to rethink their security approach. Instead of adopting many different cyber solutions and vendors, organizations should look to implement an easy to use unified platform where they can manage and consume security solutions from a range of different vendors through the cloud as a service.

This new approach will allow organizations to easily consume network security solutions that can be easily integrated with each other all in one platform. This is where the SASE model comes into play.

The Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) model is the idea of combining the key elements of network and security solutions into one unified cloud platform to be delivered as a service. The ideal features in a SASE platform are ZTNA, SDWAN, CASB, FWaaS and others. This unified platform will help organizations to simplify secure access and security to resources and networks on the cloud.  

The emergence of SASE will consolidate the essential network and security functionalities for easy consumption within a single product. When these solutions become the norm, IT teams will be able to more easily manage security, achieve network-wide visibility (even across cloud deployments), and reduce costs, readying themselves to be agile and cloud-confident for the future. Over time, organizations will start to adopt this more unified platform approach which will dissolve the challenge of tool sprawl.

Moving Forward 

As more organizations continue to adopt numerous security tools, they will need to rethink their security strategy to avoid security flaws such as tool sprawl. However, if organizations continue to ignore the fact that too many security products are causing more risks, then those organizations are opening themselves up to potential breaches and poor management which will all point to tool sprawl. Instead, businesses should look for more simplified unified platforms like the SASE model to solve the issue of tool sprawl.

Read More
Sauce Labs Webinar - Blog BG - 768X432
6 Tips to Securely Manage a Global Remote Workforce
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Written By: Justin Dolly, CSO, Sauce Labs

With the global COVID-19 pandemic still raging in many countries around the world, many workplaces are still remote and will stay that way for the foreseeable future. Given this, how do we support high levels of security in a remote workforce, all while maintaining required levels of productivity? It’s a challenge for IT teams, to be sure—but not an insurmountable one. In this article, Sauce Labs CSO Justin Dolly offers six tips for teams wrestling with this conundrum.

1. Be Flexible

Security has to be present wherever remote workers are, and it must enable employee productivity, not prohibit it. If we aren’t flexible enough with how we’re asking employees to get things done, they may take matters into their own hands and go elsewhere, thereby opening up your organization to vulnerabilities.  It’s important to communicate to your users the security technologies and processes that you’ve put in place and to ensure they are robust and flexible enough to support a workforce that’s remote.

2. Encrypt All Drives

Laptops and mobile devices can present a huge risk. Encrypting drives can protect organizations from accidental data loss. If an employee accidentally leaves a device at a coffee shop, for example, the organization can feel secure that the sensitive data and the business at large will not be compromised thanks to the encryption capability in place.

3. Enforce Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Enforce multiple layers of authentication for access to any system of information that is deemed sensitive. Modern, adaptive methods should be employed since two-factor authentication has been compromised in certain scenarios.

4. Don’t Forget the Endpoints

Your security program needs to provide a 360-degree view of what employees are using to access company assets. BYOD is an ongoing concern especially in a remote environment, so you must put security measures in place to know which endpoints have access to what resources. Also, Intelligent software installed at the endpoint will protect devices from modern malware and provide the necessary visibility at the endpoint.

5. Implement Both Defensive and Offensive Strategies

Defensive measures include tools that make it difficult for your environment to be attacked. Offense means you need to constantly be testing yourselves to make sure the defensive elements you put in place are working as they should. This may be more difficult in a remote environment, but it’s no less important.

6. Don’t Just Communicate—Overcommunicate

Communication is always important, but especially during a time of remote work. When everyone is dispersed to their homes, it’s critical to be in close touch when you can’t get into a room with everyone to hash out plans. This goes double for dealing with a security incident and roles and responsibilities must be clearly defined and communicated, along with the critical network and data recovery processes that are needed for the team’s incident response. Even outside technical teams, communication about security issues is paramount: You need to respond to all stakeholders, whether inside or outside the company, in a timely and appropriate way.

Conclusion

The remote workforce has shined a light on the importance of security. At Sauce Labs, we talk a lot about digital confidence, meaning that we enable organizations to feel confident that their web and mobile apps are performing exactly as intended. As security professionals, we owe that same confidence to the customers using our Continuous Testing Cloud. Even and especially during a pandemic, we have the opportunity to address security and make sure remote work and other concerns don’t impact your business in a negative way. Following these guidelines will get you started on the way to successfully managing security for your organization—even while remote.

Perimeter 81 and Sauce Labs recently hosted a joint webinar about how organizations’ networks and connections must be secured in order to add another layer of protection against hackers trying to breach the testing environment. Watch the replay here.

About the Author

Justin Dolly is Chief Security Officer at Sauce Labs, where he oversees the development and implementation of the company’s long-term security strategy, ensuring its customers have the highest level of protection to support their digital goals. He is a Certified Chief Information Security Officer (CCISO) with more than 20 years of experience in building and implementing a culture of security within global organizations.

Read More
5G
Why Secure Network Access is the Key to 5G
Reading Time: 4 minutes

While technology continues to evolve, wireless networks are vital due to trends like IoT, smartphones, tablets and laptops. Now, just as 4G is becoming irrelevant for users and businesses, 5G is introduced. 

Since its emergence, 5G has taken the world by storm. The global phenomenon of quicker networks has everyone buzzing, especially tech companies. 5G offers companies faster and more reliable internet, with lower latency issues for their employees — no matter where they are or what device they use. 

As 5G is rolling out in the United States and companies are already reaping its benefits, enterprise networking is still in the early stages of the 5G revolution. The transformation of mobile networks comes with risks that cannot be ignored. Instead of solely focusing on the numerous benefits 5G offers, such as a redesign of mobile networks which enables efficiency, cost-effectiveness and greater agility, we need to also be aware of the new security challenges that come with developing and implementing this new infrastructure.

5G Security: An Ongoing Issue

With new network technologies such as 5G, security needs to be more involved during the early stages of development. This wireless network evolution will see many different shifts occur as 5G moves from early-stage to the norm for mobile networks. 

Mobile networks with security risks is not a new concept, yet the number of attacks from different endpoints is increasing as networks are transforming. Companies that are early adopters of 5G networks could possibly experience security threats due to their implementation of an early-stage version of 5G. 

Among the security challenges that 5G presents are visibility issues, increased exposure to attacks due to new entry points for bad actors, and increased risks from major dependencies on suppliers.

Network experts might recommend organizations not to implement technology that was designed for 5G networks as it comes with different security challenges. While this is taking a more cautious route, organizations need to rethink their entire security strategy when it comes to 5G networks. IT and security teams need to implement the right amount of security policies in place to secure their network for 5G. Without doubt risks and issues will happen with new technology but having a security strategy implemented will veer away from simpler security challenges that can occur with 5G. 

5G Security Challenges Aren’t a Quick Fix

When organizations are designing their network security strategy, IT and security teams are continuously taking the same approach, how quickly can we patch vulnerabilities while updating the network at the same time? Instead, organizations need to look at the entire security strategy, not just a quick fix.  One security risk often overlooked is testing new networks during the implementation period. IT teams will regularly run a group of network tests that check for common vulnerabilities and risks in the network. Once the tests are completed, the networks can be implemented.

Adopting the ‘set it and forget it’ approach when it comes to testing creates another challenge of its own. Without continuously testing your network for vulnerabilities and security risks you are putting your network at risk. 

IT experts might suggest that when first implementing new networks, your infrastructure needs to properly communicate and pass data from network to network. Additionally, you need to properly integrate the network security from your 4G networks to your new 5G networks. If this is not done correctly, your organization could experience major network security risks that could harm the security of your infrastructure and networks.  

Some organizations will try to fix 5G security challenges with the latest security solutions, even if they are not designed for 5G infrastructures and networks. These solutions could be a quick band-aid for your 5G networks but once your networks are implemented, the security challenges will become more obvious. With the wrong solution in place, it can create more endpoints and entry points for hackers to infiltrate. Instead of adopting different solutions for your network, organizations should implement a 5G friendly secure network access solutions to dissolve the potential security challenges. 

5G allows Smoother Secure Network Access 

As more and more organizations start to adopt 5G networks, they will experience the different benefits they offer such as quicker communication and low-cost deployment. These network benefits will enable their employees to connect and send more data to their network. However by more devices quickly connecting and transferring large amounts of data it can put a massive strain on IT and security teams when ensuring that their organization is connecting securely to the networks. 

To ensure that the entire organization is connecting securely to the new networks, IT and security teams should look to adopt models that are designed to make sure that the proper employees gain access to the network. One such model is Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA). 

The Zero Trust Network Access model has gained popularity with organizations of all sizes since the rise of cloud adoption. While Zero Trust Network Access is not a new approach, it has become one of the more popular models to implement when fighting security risks that 5G present. By addressing your security concerns head-on with a Zero Trust model, your IT team will be able to fully monitor the network and user access activity. 

Adopting Zero Trust Network Access allows IT teams to specifically assign restricted access to users and their devices to their network, lowering the chances for hackers to infiltrate your network. Additionally, the Zero Trust model for network access will allow organizations to easily authenticate and establish the authorized access per user and devices throughout the network.

Moving Forward 

With the advancement of 5G, organizations will experience different security challenges in their network which will result in the importance of prioritizing full visibility and monitoring of its networks. With the proper authentication and identification policies in place and adopting a Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) solution, your network security will be more equipped for any 5G network challenge that is presented. 

Read More
HITRUST Fills in the Blanks for HIPAA and PHI Security
Reading Time: 4 minutes

HIPAA carries a lot of weight, but it is merely a set of guidelines that healthcare companies (and technology providers who work with them) must follow when handling Patient Health Information (PHI). For people imagining a team of inspectors showing up unannounced to offices worldwide for a surprise checkup, or to administer a results-oriented audit before gaining compliance, know that this isn’t the case when it comes to HIPAA. 

In fact, the lack of any official certifying entity makes it possible for businesses handling PHI to give themselves a badge of compliance based on their technology and processes alone. A HIPAA icon found on a healthcare provider’s or security vendor’s website is not meaningless, however. These organizations know penalties from the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) pack a rightfully devastating punch, and so they must invest in the song and dance of showing they have the power to protect PHI, even without proof that their systems are actually doing so.

Despite the superficial nature of HIPAA compliance, providers are still under pressure to “prove” that they have a clean bill of health when it comes to the guidelines. They can currently do this via self-assessments involving documentation of access policies, technology settings, employee standard operating procedure manuals, backups and more. Compliance is a necessary effort for providers, but because the result of these settings and technologies lives on paper alone, patients don’t realize HIPAA doesn’t provide as much value as it should. 

Entities like HITRUST have sprouted up to deal with this gap by both using technology to proactively and reactively enforcing HIPAA compliance, and to help providers make it a core pillar of their operational success rather than an obstacle to it. The tools available today enable risk management and PHI security to be vital for healthcare providers, and HITRUST takes full advantage. It is designed to strengthen the foundations of information security and make compliance easier to achieve than ever. But how?

What is HITRUST?

While HIPAA is a solid framework for protecting medical records, and gives patients privacy regarding who can gain access to their information, it is also subjective on the part of providers. HITRUST is not simply a template that allows healthcare providers to say all the right things regarding their compliance – it goes beyond this. Technically, HITRUST is the group that built and continues to manage the CSF, or Common Security Framework, which is both certifiable and combines multiple different compliance models including HIPAA, notably, but also PSI, ISO, NIST, FTC, COBIT and others.

According to the HITRUST website, it is “a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to champion programs that safeguard sensitive information and manage information risk for organizations across all industries and throughout the third-party supply chain. In collaboration with privacy, information security and risk management leaders from both the public and private sectors, HITRUST develops, maintains and provides broad access to its widely adopted common risk and compliance management and de-identification frameworks; related assessment and assurance methodologies; and initiatives advancing cyber sharing, analysis, and resilience.”

The approach taken by HITRUST is simple yet thorough. Crucially, a HITRUST certified provider is also a HIPAA certified provider, and can offer more than a hollow pledge to follow the rules sans any audit to see that the security controls put in place are actually working. To maintain HITRUST compliance requirements, an organization can choose to self-assess or complete a third-party audit, but either way it must pass all 19 parts of the CSF test every two years:

  • Healthcare Data Protection & Privacy
  • Information Protection
  • Wireless Protection
  • Transmission Protection
  • Network Protection
  • Endpoint Protection
  • Portable Media Security
  • Mobile Device Security
  • Third Party Security
  • Physical & Environmental Security
  • Configuration Management
  • Vulnerability Management
  • Password Management
  • Incident Management
  • Risk Management
  • Access Control
  • Audit Logging & Monitoring
  • Education, Training & Awareness
  • Business Continuity Management & Disaster Recovery

With each idea outlined in the CSF, providers have a bolder template to follow, which makes preparing for the whole gamut of required certifications less of a guessing game. Medical practices and healthcare providers are therefore able to unify their compliance efforts with one process, and guarantee protection for their patients rather than offer a mere promise. Thankfully, unification is also occurring in the security industry, lowering the barrier to compliance even further.

Unified Security Models a Must

To give providers peace of mind over their compliance, HITRUST’s universal security framework is complemented by security vendors that take a similarly consolidated approach. While no single security vendor is yet able to deliver total CSF compliance, this is the direction the industry is heading. Network as a Service, for example, empowers providers to deploy network and security tools in an integrated manner with existing local and cloud resources. Consuming just one product for both access management and data security tools makes it much easier for would-be compliant companies to quickly pass multiple sections of their CSF audit.

With both security technologies and compliance frameworks aligned in their increasing simplicity, providers will soon be rid of their confusion over compliance. Most important, however, is that those who see a HITRUST compliance badge can be confident that the healthcare they receive employs the most up-to-date, and proven data security tools. This will encourage a more accountable healthcare sector, and prevent the all-too-common idea of a PHI breach from impacting the trust between patients and practices.

 

Read More
VPN_SASE
VPNs Are Out and Scalable Remote Access Solutions Are In
Reading Time: 4 minutes

COVID-19 has accelerated the world’s digital transformation and lately this has headed in an inevitable direction: the adoption of remote work. We can no longer assume that employees are working from the office and the “new normal” that the world is experiencing will likely bring about permanent changes to how and where we work. Tech giants such as Facebook, Twitter and Google have announced they plan to keep their employees working remotely until at least the end of 2020, and possibly beyond. While this approach is gaining popularity by the day, it’s far from a new concept. 

Remote work has been a popular method for companies for the past two decades due to benefits like flexibility, productivity and cost-savings. In late 2019, Gartner predicted that by 2020, half of the US workforce would be working remotely. Here we are six months into 2020, and no one could have predicted that 62% of the U.S. workforce would go home to work remotely due to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Are Traditional VPNs Still Relevant? 

Over the past 20 years, organizations adopted different tools in order to support and secure their remote workforces. The most popular solution that organizations relied on was an enterprise VPN technologies for remote network access. The value that VPNs once provided is diminishing by the day due to organizations’ transition to the cloud, however, and remote employees no longer need to connect to their corporate headquarters’ network. 

Due to COVID-19, the majority of global organizations are requiring that their workforces connect to business resources on the cloud or to the corporate network remotely, creating an overload of traffic on the VPN’s they previously implemented. Originally, the idea of installing a remote access VPN was the right approach, however it’s now providing more cons than pros. 

VPNs can expose organizations’ data and resources, making them more vulnerable to different attacks on the remote workforce. The traditional VPN provides remote workers with unlimited access to organizational resources, creating an attractive, ripe environment for hackers to get inside the company’s network. With legacy VPNs, organizations are unable to restrict access to specific network resources, making VPNs one of the weakest points of failure with respect to identity access and credential management as there is no segmentation, audit or control.

VPN has other limitations, such as a lack of network visibility and network segmentation, which limits unauthorized user access and overall network security. The tech was not designed to deal with dynamic networks that organizations are creating today. This is due to VPNs requiring constant hardware updates, the need to be properly managed and the absence of network or server flexibility. All of the above make it more complicated to scale and rapidly adjust for new users and network locations, and increasingly difficult to effectively manage hybrid and cloud-based computing architectures.

Scalability: The Key Factor of Today’s Workforce 

The idea that one day an organization may need to increase the number of users to thousands or more is possibly one of the most important factors when deciding which solution to implement, especially with remote access needs. VPNs’ scalability hasn’t been their strongest characteristic; actually their lack of scaling capability to hundreds or thousands of users has been more of an Achilles heel.

VPNs were initially designed to only handle a small percentage of the global workforce. In today’s day and age, with thousands of organizations looking to scale their entire workforce remotely, the need for remote access solutions is more demanding than ever. With a massive increase in users, organizations are seeing congestion and latency in network access and a lack of quality of service.  

In the past, when there were just a few remote workers in an organization, IT teams were required to designate a small amount of network access for them alone. When companies transform to a more remote workforce, organizations will need to adopt solutions that will have the capacity to support their networks and applications for everyone remotely. In the case of VPNs, network over-usage and older architecture results in slower user experience and creates headaches for IT and remote workers simultaneously. 

Additionally, the implementation of new users and networks with a VPN can take up to weeks to fully onboard, creating a major hole in the company’s network. So which kind of solutions should organizations look for when trying to scale access to remote employees?

SASE: The Scalable Model For Remote Access

Instead of thinking about how we can make the VPN more secure, flexible and scalable, we should look for a different secure remote access solution. The answer lies in SASE: Secure Access Service Edge. Unlike VPNs, SASE is a solution for the increasing demand for scalable network access. So what is SASE and why is it the answer?

SASE, which was coined by Gartner in August 2019, is the cloud architecture model that combines the different functions of network and security solutions into a unified cloud security platform. This delivered “as a service” offers scalable secure access to the organization’s resources and networks. The new model will allow organizations to simply connect and secure their networks and remote workers with a cost-effective and instantly integrated approach.

Unlike the traditional networking solutions or modern VPNs, the SASE model recommends that organizations should instead connect their employees and networks on a more user-centric level to a cloud-based service. While in the past, the majority of networks for organizations were concentrated at the central data center for user access, this didn’t provide a suitable model for remote workers. Gartner suggests that this site-centric approach is outdated and not effective as organizations are turning to edge platforms, SaaS solutions and cloud services. While the concept of organizations providing a data center for user access won’t disappear overnight, it will become less relevant as the majority of services are moving to the cloud. 

By adopting the SASE model, organizations will have a more flexible and scalable opportunity to connect remote employees to applications, cloud services, and APIs no matter their location. 

Scaling for the Future 

The SASE model for secure zero trust network access and additional vital security features provides organizations with scalability, flexibility, ROI and most important of all, secure access for their remote workforces.

When seeking the right remote access solution, look past the legacy VPN and change your approach with a more flexible and user-friendly SASE platform to secure your network, resources, and employees. 

Read More
The Digital Transformation Finally Comes to Security
Reading Time: 4 minutes

There are few phrases more buzzword-y than “the digital transformation”, but its broad scope means that the term has never meant a static, single thing. Digital technology is always changing, so the organizations that use it are changing as well. Going through a transformation from analog business flows to digital ones is something that started happening decades ago and we haven’t yet found the limit of this idea’s benefits, so it makes sense that there are multiple phases of digitization that have occurred over the decades.

Technology constantly gets smaller, faster, and more powerful, spilling like water into new industries and applicable ideas over time. These include infrastructure assets and machines, operations and business processes such as online payments, eCommerce, and supply chain management, and most of all organizations’ workforces by creating new roles and platforms they use to do their jobs. Much of digitization has been less about technology and more about self-reference, by cleaning up the digitization process itself and simplifying the array of vital tools and processes that pile up.

This is the theme of what is perhaps the most notable trend in the last year: and it comes from an unexpected sector.

Security a Silent Cornerstone of Digitization

In addition to incorporating the cloud into a business strategy or growing your data intelligence department, there’s a background of digitization that makes these processes easier and safer – because the risks inherent in going digital are many. The security sector exists to recognize how this new world is threatened and from where, and is important for ensuring that organizations’ digitization efforts don’t needlessly expose their data or put customers at harm’s way.

Since the 1970s, cybersecurity has been there to respond with pragmatic solutions, when a growing array of technology gets ahead of itself. From the early ARPANET “creeper” which led to the first antivirus program, and through years like 1989 which were devastated by both the first DDoS and malware attacks, it has nearly always taken some digital travesty to shed light on the security industry’s importance. 

Moving storage and services into the cloud is the latest and greatest example. These days, the cloud is a cornerstone of digitization, with migration tools abound and services like AWS and Salesforce, which come with an arsenal of useful onboarding functions, single-click business processes, storage solutions, and more.

With mobile devices and applications getting more capable, however, it has meant that data moves farther than ever and exchanges more hands. That has given a larger opportunity for hackers to steal this data, and so the security sector has had to identify where the gaps appear and how to close them to enterprising bad actors. This is hardly a surprise to those who are familiar with the idea of cybersecurity, but even IT professionals “in the know” aren’t aware of how far along this simple idea has taken digitization in 2020.

Putting Security Ahead of the Curve

Unfortunately, the limits of cloud computing have been tested recently as remote work gets infinitely more popular. In terms of both security and speed, we’ve seen online platforms overclocked and put to the test in greater numbers, and not always with stellar results for IT. The use of many business-critical services together may work, but a greater number of endpoints and carelessly strung together solutions puts even the most diligent IT teams in a bind.

Many organizations realize this, and to lighten the burden they’ve enforced the use of basic security tools like a VPN. While a VPN will raise the lowest hanging fruit for a lazy hacker, they’re not perfect, and don’t make the digital transformation much easier. They just add another tool for IT to be responsible for configuring and managing, on top of storage, CRM, ERP, and other platforms. The required hardware for a VPN puts a price tag on security in terms of labor and more, and they don’t perform well under the conditions that networks are currently in. IT teams are then learning more about ideas such as Zero Trust security, which lets them segment their networks into custom-sized pieces, and implement unique access policies on top of the capabilities of a traditional VPN.

SASE Reminiscent of Past Tech Consolidation

This has solved some problems but not others. Zero Trust is indeed much better for security and easily scalable, but it’s still another tool stacked on top of the network. The old problem – that knowledge workers only spend 39% of their days actually working, thanks to platform overload – isn’t solved. Teams implementing Zero Trust are indeed considered cutting edge, but the last year has brought a relevant idea into the spotlight: SASE. Billed by research firm Gartner – the acronym’s creator – as a unified network security platform, SASE merges many of the network access and security tools that IT relies on.

With CASB, FWaaS, Wi-Fi security, IPSec tunneling and encryption, multi-factor authentication and SWG all easily consumed in one place, SASE turns ideas that used to be full-fledged and separately consumed platforms into features of a single platform. This is reminiscent of what Microsoft Office 365 did in 2011 – combining multiple pieces of software into a single, cloud-based “as a Service” solution. Now that it’s happening in security, as companies go through implementation in greater numbers the turbulence of the last decade, rife with consecutive record-breaking data breaches, may finally be recognized as a speed bump instead of the status quo.

Read More
SDWAN
The 5 Most Common Mistakes That Organizations Make with SD-WAN Security
Reading Time: 5 minutes

The traditional brick and mortar, 9-5 office was previously seen as the central database for all employees trying to connect to the company’s network and resources. While this model worked in the past, currently it’s extremely outdated due to slow network connection time to data centers. Instead of placing the networks where the company is based, organizations must rethink how their network architecture needs to be designed. 

While many organizations still make the branch sites the center of networking, they should make their employees’ location the key factor of how their company’s networking should be implemented. Due to the ongoing digital and cloud transformation, employees are seeking quick access to data and company resources in their work environments, no matter their location. 

As a result of the modern employee needs, the once traditional static MPLS connections are not the answer for today’s modern networking between the user and the office branch. Due to the evolving network technology, organizations started to adopt SD-WAN solutions for quicker, flexible, effective, and more affordable networking. 

What is SD-WAN and What are its Benefits?  

An SD-WAN, also known as a software-defined wide-area network, is a virtualized network that is abstracted from data center or branch office hardware to create an easily configurable and scalable overlay wide area network distributed across local and global sites. It’s also an application of Software Defined Network (SDN) technology that is more reliable and scalable than VPN-based WAN solutions because it takes a software-based approach to build and extend enterprise networks beyond the core SDN.

Organizations today can use SD-WAN solutions to connect branch offices to their corporate networks instead of using traditional and expensive multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) connections, firewalls or proprietary hardware.

SD-WANs offer many benefits for organizations looking to leverage the cloud ranging from network topology simplification, internet traffic prioritization, and cost reduction to scalability and integrated security. SD-WAN management solutions allow IT managers to automate deployment and configuration processes of their network which reduces the complexity of managing a WAN network. Additionally, applications can also be integrated and managed from an SD-WAN portal, further simplifying SD-WAN management.

Despite the numerous benefits and the advancement of SD-WAN solutions, most organizations leave security at the door when implementing SD-WAN solutions. 

Security is Essential for SD-WAN Success

When organizations are adopting new technologies, security is top priority when choosing a service of solution. This is the same with SD-WAN. According to a Gartner survey, 72% of executives see security as their biggest SD-WAN concern.

As each organization implements new networking infrastructures, they need to think and prepare for the different security risks and challenges. Many of the outdated security solutions cannot address these modern security challenges. 

Adding to that problem, SD-WAN falls under most networking teams, which creates an even bigger issue where security isn’t even brought to their attention. Some might say it’s a mix of employees’ neglect or misguided advice but it’s just simply leaving an easy target for hackers to attack your organization’s network. 

SD-WAN Security Mistakes Happen

Some might think that SD-WAN security is simple: you install the solution, it encrypts the data, and then sends it to the user from one location to the next. However, like every other cybersecurity solution, you need to strategize and instead of separating security and networking, you need to think of it as one solution where networking and security go hand in hand. Other security mistakes can and will occur.  Here are our 5 security mistakes that organizations tend to make with SD-WAN and how to fix them:

Not Including SD-WAN Security in Your Organization’s Security Strategy

One of the biggest SD-WAN security mistakes that organizations commonly make is thinking that SD-WAN security is not part of the organization’s overall security strategy. SD-WAN should not be perceived as a standalone solution and just another connectivity tool that provides a level of data encryption. SD-WAN needs to implement the advanced security policies that other networking infrastructures are implementing.  

To avoid further security risks, organizations must implement a more advanced security approach that looks past WAN capabilities that integrate policy-based control rules into their company security strategy. This new approach will allow security teams to monitor the data with a more holistic SDN managed detection response model. By prioritizing SD-WAN security and integrating it into your cloud security strategy, your organization will have an extra layer of defense when fighting off malicious actors’ attacks on your organization’s network. 

Treating SD-WAN With a ‘Set It and Forget It’ Mentality

A continuous mistake we are seeing is when organizations implement a new technology in place and then they move on from it. This is the same issue with SD-WAN. To stay clear of this common mistake, organizations should have an ongoing monitoring and updating strategy in place to make sure everything is going smoothly. 

By adopting this always monitoring approach with SD-WAN, it will allow organizations to expand network visibility and properly manage their network on a daily basis. As the security landscape is continuously changing so is your SD-WAN solution, so it’s best to always stay up to date and monitor your network instead of setting it up and forgetting about it.

Encrypting SD-WAN Traffic is a Must 

A major networking challenge that organizations are experiencing is switching from an MPLS connection to a more public broadband connection. Unfortunately, this doesn’t bode well with their cloud environments and services. Due to this, more organizations are implementing SD-WAN solutions to create more private broadband connections that link the cloud resources to the organization’s main network. Adding more and new connections causes a domino effect which results in adding more holes in your network, opening the door to attacks. 

To solve this issue, organizations need to encrypt their SD-WAN traffic to protect their critical information that is being accessed by the organization.  It is recommended to adopt a SASE platform that encrypts all network traffic that transforms into a fundamental security layer in your SD-WAN solution. By having that extra layer of security it’s essential for organizations to provide a high performance secure networking connection to its employees.  

Implementing the Wrong Solution For Your Needs 

When seeking the right SD-WAN solution for your organization, you need to consider if this is the right fit for your networking needs. Another common mistake made by organizations is that they deploy another stand alone solution or the wrong solution. By looking for a tool that helps with network visibility or device policy management, organizations need to understand if this tool will secure our network and not complex the tough challenge of securing the network. 

Therefore, the first thing organizations need to check when considering an SD-WAN solution is whether it will easily integrate into its network and security strategy. By adopting the correct SD-WAN solution for its organization it will help increase security posture for the entire network security strategy.  

Forgetting about Security Entirely

Ignoring security might be the simplest mistake that an organization can make when adopting SD-WAN solutions. While SD-WAN tends to fall under the networking teams at organizations, the idea of a cost-saving solution usually forgets to include the importance of security.  

Instead of just thinking SD-WAN as another networking tool, organizations need to include their security teams when managing SD-WAN to ensure there is the proper security in place after adopting the solution. While this common mistake is a simple one it comes with major consequences. By implementing an unsecured solution can open the door to hackers and can create major security issues for the organization’s network and critical resources. 

Improving SD-WAN Security

In just over a few years, SD-WAN has shown its great value by providing a quicker and more flexible option for network transformation. Despite the continuous advancement of SD-WAN, they don’t entirely provide protection against more sophisticated attacks that we are seeing with today’s network environments. 

Moving forward, Organizations need to think about which advanced security functionalities need to be easily integrated into their SD-WAN solution instead of thinking security afterward. By adopting a more secure SD-WAN solution with the correct security functions integrated it will help organizations to detect and intercept attacks on its network moving forward.  

Read More
remote_workers
When Hackers Attack: 5 Essential Security Tips For Working Remotely
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Whether working from home or remotely, social distancing has grabbed headlines as one of the most popular buzzwords on the internet due to COVID-19.

Once the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, the shift to working remotely became a reality. Governments forced all nonessential places of work to close up shop and recommended that all companies who can work remotely shift their employees to work from home model.

While remote work and social distancing have been essential in flattening the curve and the spread of the coronavirus, they open a Pandora’s Box of cybersecurity risks. By having employees work from home, organizations are forced to face the fact that employees’ devices are now the main way that they connect to their work resources. While this might not sound worrisome, it comes with many security risks, especially when coping with hackers and malicious actors. 

More Remote Workers = More Attacks

With each passing day, we are seeing more and more hackers trying to take advantage of the COVID-19 situation to target remote workers with different attacks such as phishing, VPN vulnerabilities, and malware. According to CNBC, the rise of cyber attacks is occurring due to the fact that the majority of companies have implemented an entirely remote workforce.

Due to the increase of attacks, IT and security teams are forced to make quick changes to their security policies and best practices for their remote employees. The in-office, company-wide security policies and training are not accommodated for the new reality that hackers are trying to exploit. Now, organizations must depend on their employees to be on the front lines against hackers, making it essential that organizations strategize and plan out employee-friendly security policies.

To Work Securely You Need to Think Like a Hacker

To help global organizations’ remote workforces to learn more about the different security risks we co-hosted a webinar with SOSA, Leading Cyber Ladies, the Israeli Economic Mission to North America, and the Global Cyber Center of NY on April 1st. The panel of security experts included Sivan Tehila, Director of Solution Architecture at Perimeter 81 and Founder of Cyber Ladies NYC, Nicole Becher, Director of Information Security & Risk Management at S&P Global Platts and Guy Franklin, MD, SOSA NYC – Global Cyber Center of NYC. In this webinar, the panel of experts provided their insights on the number of cyber threats facing everyone while working remotely and how organizations should protect their data, resources and remote employees. Watch the entire webinar on-demand below.

5 Essential Tips for Securing Remote Workers

Throughout the webinar, the panel of experts provides great insights into the different kinds of attacks remote workers can face on a daily basis. However, we would like to highlight the great security tips they provided throughout the webinar. You can find them below:

Update Your Business Continuity Plan

One of the most important tips that we can provide to organizations is to update their business continuity plans so that they can adapt to the always-changing landscape of uncertainties. When thinking about the rise of remote workers, organizations need to strategize and plan out how to keep their business afloat while staying secure. 

Take a closer look and assess risks and response technology to decide if you are prepared enough for the new changes in cybersecurity planning. This is an important tip as this division of a business must provide a quick and immediate assessment period. 

Create Strong Passwords and Enable 2FA

One of the most common mistakes that employees can make is using weak passwords. When passwords are not set using the correct best practices, they can be easily stolen by hackers. The use of weak passwords can easily be resolved by educating employees about what makes a strong password and the role they play in keeping hackers away.

Additionally, organizations should enforce the usage of a 2FA solution. Two-factor authentication (2FA) ensures that, in addition to usernames and passwords, the second layer of verification such as an SMS code is required. By adopting stronger passwords and 2FA, employees will be one step closer to working more securely.

Beware of Phishing Emails

When experts think of the most common attack on organizations, phishing is the first thing that comes to mind. Phishing is the easiest way to attack an organization’s employees due to its low cost and familiar presentation as an email. The process is simple; hackers begin by emailing employees an official-looking email that requests that they send them critical information from their work device. Despite it being one of the oldest ways to hack an organization or a user, most phishing emails can easily fool employees. 

To avoid such phishing attacks, they suggested educating employees to always double-check the email address, the tone of the email and the request itself. 

Implement Training and Awareness Programs

Educating employees on the importance of remote security will help them understand the impact they have on their organization. Implementing a security awareness program is a crucial step for organizations’ remote security planning efforts.

The program should cover why security is a joint responsibility for everyone from management to employees by providing clear examples of their roles in the organization and how security may be affected. The mistake of employees often thinking that the responsibility of the organization security solely falls on the security team is dangerous, but with the right education and real-life examples, employees will understand the importance of working remotely the right way.

Ditch the Legacy VPN

As most companies have become fully remote during this time, the need for secure remote access has become a must. While you might turn to traditional VPNs in order to access company resources, they are not the right solution to attain policy-based secure remote access today. Traditional VPN services are not scalable for organizations moving their entire workforces remotely and they lack network visibility, which opens the door for hackers to breach an organization’s network and critical resources, without any warning.

Instead of adopting a traditional VPN for remote access, you should look towards a solution that is based on the SDP architecture and the Zero Trust model. By Implementing a Software-Defined Perimeter solution, IT managers can customize permissions for those employees who need access to specific parts of the organization’s network. Additionally, by adopting the Zero Trust need-to-know model, each remote employee will receive tailored secure access to only the resources necessary for their roles.

Looking into the Future of Remote Workers

 As we see remote work becoming the norm for organizations moving forward, it’s important to think about the different risks that employees are facing on a daily basis. While some might believe hackers are thinking outside of the box with remote workers, they are actually targeting remote employees with the simplest and most effective of attacks. 

Looking into the future of business, security teams should adopt a mix of user-friendly security solutions and engaging employee security awareness programs. These are the first basic steps in the direction for total security for remote employees. 

Read More