Although mobile and digital transformation initiatives have been slowly growing in popularity, the COVID-19 pandemic has abruptly forced companies across all industries to adopt remote working as a new norm. The spread of remote users, along with the shift towards cloud services and SaaS (Software as a Service) applications, demands for a new approach to network security. Unfortunately, many Singapore companies are insufficiently prepared for cyber attacks and do not provide extra training on cybersecurity risks associated with working from home. With so much data flowing back and forth, companies have to step up their network security approach and technology in order to avoid potential cyber attacks that result in severe financial losses, declining market share, reputation, and consumer trust.
Security issues with remote work
Traditional network approaches currently cannot support the proliferation of remote working. For one, home networks and IoT devices do not have the same defence mechanism as office endpoints. Misconfigured and unsecured routers open up new entry points and increase exposure to threats like phishing attacks, hacks, data breaches, and malware spread. Secondly, when working remotely, all users have to be backhauled to a centralised location for security and compliance reasons. The distance that every request has to travel before hitting a website or application can put a heavy strain on the network connection when there are large quantities of devices. This can also cause companies to experience latency issues. To mitigate these problems, companies should enhance its security by incorporating the SASE security model as a way to strengthen the level of security and increase access control.
What is SASE?
Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) is designed to safely enable direct-to-net communications while securing remote workers’ ability to access managed and unmanaged apps, cloud services, and private applications through public clouds and data centres. As a network architecture that converges WAN (Wide Area Network) capabilities with network security services like CASB (Cloud Access Security Broker), FWaaS (Firewall as a Service) and zero trust network access into a single, cloud-based service model, SASE addresses any safety questions associated with remote working.
The WAN aspect of SASE provides companies with their private network consisting of points of presences (PoPs) worldwide. The distance in which requests are sent for security inspection and policy enforcement are distributed across the extensible PoPs, which not only helps to resolve internet latency issues and increased traffic concerns but allows for a wider global network reach. With SASE, companies can easily connect to wherever resources are located without worrying about network safety. Instead of just an IP address, access privileges are enforced in real time by policies based on user identity, location, time, risk/trust assessment of the device, and the sensitivity of the application or data being accessed. A zero trust network access model is also incorporated as part of SASE to further achieve secure connections and provide complete session protection without impacting user performance. The zero-trust model removes trust assumptions and requires every device used to be identified and verified before being able to access resources that meet their security requirements, making it possible to have secure access regardless of where users, data, applications, or devices are located.
One of the biggest benefits of SASE is that it is a cloud-native software stack with fully integrated microservices in one platform. This means that rather than presenting point solutions, the ever-evolving, scalable cloud-based software stack can perform different engines simultaneously. The flexibility of the cloud-based infrastructure allows for other security measures such as DLP (Data Loss Prevention), threat prevention, web filtering, sandboxing, DNS (Domain Name Systems) security, credential theft prevention, and next-generation firewall policies, to be easily integrated. The simplified IT infrastructure reduces the number of security products that have to be managed, updated, and maintained while reducing unnecessary costs and IT resources.
Remote work made easy
By providing a global security cloud and consolidating point solutions, security vendors such as Forcepoint Cloud Security Gateway utilises the SASE model and enables organisations to more effectively protect their network and data. Granular visibility and control are maintained so that companies can better understand their network security needs and control the websites and cloud applications being accessed by their remote workers. Data protection policies within the SASE framework prevent unauthorised access and abuse of sensitive data. Using advanced DLP policies and reports establish regulatory compliance by monitoring and preventing sensitive data from being accessed and uploaded by remote workers to unmanaged cloud applications or websites. Companies are also protected from malware and cloud-enabled threats with threat prevention which mitigate data exfiltration and insider threats, alert on account compromise and highlight anomalous user behaviour in real time. The zero-trust network access presents direct, seamless, and secure remote access to applications in public cloud environments or data centres without unnecessary exposure to the internet.
With the SASE model, security vendors are able to integrate security solutions and unify multiple web security, cloud security, data and threat protection defences with networking capabilities into a cloud to support users, data, and applications in any location. It not only reduces the complexity and cost of managing multiple products but also enhances user experience with high-performance, scalable global network infrastructure necessary for today’s perimeter-less digital organisations.
Want to enhance your company’s security but don’t know where to start? Contact us to learn more about information security. You can also take advantage of our consultation services. Argentra, as a recognised technical specialist in information security, is a premier provider of information infrastructure management solutions in the Asia Pacific market. We provide IT security solutions, security risk consulting, and custom security software to help boost the corporation’s ability to protect its data.