Today’s threat landscape challenges businesses to update their cybersecurity strategies in order to minimize their attack surface and protect data and resources.
CyberRisk Alliance (CRA) recently published their business intelligence research report, titled “Organizations Seek SSE Solutions to Help Ease Pain of Remote Work.” The report shares insights gained after surveying 300 respondents from U.S. organizations who have responsibility for network, security, remote access, and/or technology/IT, about their biggest security challenges and how they plan to overcome them.
“We have a hybrid environment, with on-prem and two cloud providers, and hence the biggest challenge is having complete visibility across the environment and implementing zero trust with minimal user experience interruptions – along with thorough user behavior anomaly identification in real time,” one of the professionals’ that participated in the survey shared.
This describes a struggle many companies are currently facing. The once easily defined software perimeter that IT and security experts work hard to protect has changed. Today’s corporate network relies heavily on cloud-based applications and cloud environments, and the new hybrid workplace connects a global remote workforce. This presents professionals with an expansive and complex corporate network, and a potentially large attack surface to protect.
These new challenges require companies to update their network security tools and strategies, to ensure that resources, customers, and employees are safe – without compromising on fast connectivity.
The two biggest network security challenges that respondents listed were securing remote access, and managing multiple security tools and vendors. These two issues were also repeatedly brought up when professionals discussed their highest priorities and biggest barriers.
In order to overcome these challenges, companies are looking to update their network security tools. Over 75% of respondents said that a converged network security solution is very or extremely important to their organizations.
The top technologies included in today’s converged network security solutions are secure web gateway (SWG), firewall as a service (FwaaS), and Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA). Let’s take a closer look at each of these cloud-based Zero Trust solutions.
According to the report, 60% of respondents ranked SWG as either the first or second most important capability they look for in a converged network security solution. This should come as no surprise, considering that malware and phishing were both listed as the two top cybersecurity concerns. SWG addresses these threats with web filtering and malware protection capabilities.
Malware protection helps IT and security pros to protect their organization by stopping threats at the gate. It scans web pages and downloads before they reach the browser. This enables IT and security teams to protect company networks from malware embedded in websites or malicious files – before they reach an employee’s device.
Respondents also ranked FwaaS high on the list of cloud-based network security technology. IT and security professionals feel that increasing visibility and control across their cloud network with FwaaS is becoming increasingly important, according to the report. One respondent explained that FwaaS “allows for our systems to extend even further to users that are even more detached from our mother location.”
This new generation of firewalls helps IT and security professionals control network access and make sure that cloud resources are accessible only to authorized users.
While results showed that ZTNA adoption was still relatively low, it appears professionals plan on changing that in the upcoming year. Over 25% of respondents named it as the most important capability in a converged network security solution, and it was ranked a top driver for adopting a converged solution.
Advanced cloud-based ZTNA technologies enable companies to easily implement the Zero Trust principle of “never trust, always verify” across the entire corporate network. They allow security and IT professionals to implement least-privilege access policies across the organization, and segment the network to ensure only verified users get access – to the specific resources that they need.
Features like Device Posture Check (DPC) take Zero Trust further, allowing professionals to grant network access on a granular level, based on rules like geo location, disk encryption, OS version, and more. This helps ensure that no matter the location or device employees are connecting from, secure access is repeatedly verified to block any network security risk.
Another key takeaway from the report was that respondents felt that the network security solutions that they are currently using fail to answer their needs, and fall short especially when it comes to fast deployment, scalability, and end user experience.
When tightening up network security strategies with a converged solution, it’s important to choose a technology that includes the most advanced cloud-based technologies. But there are additional considerations that must be taken into account. A solution that includes SWG, FwaaS, and ZTNA must also deliver on speed, scalability, and ease of use. Otherwise, IT and security teams will find themselves spending valuable time dealing with complex implementation processes, low user adoption, or unstable connections for their remote workforce.
Perimeter 81’s converged cloud-based solution offers professionals the critical capabilities of ease-of use – allowing speedy deployment at scale, with a single pane of glass console that provides full visibility and control across the entire network. Want to learn more about the technologies that help organizations address today’s network security challenges? Read CRA’s Business Intelligence Research Study now.