Cloud-Based Security Solutions Are On The Up

The past couple of years have had an extreme and lasting impact on enterprise architectures. The COVID-19 pandemic kickstarted an evolution in the way that we work, with employees accessing business networks both in and out of the office, on both work and personal devices.

As we move further away from the pandemic, it’s becoming clear that these changes are here to stay.  

In this new era, the distributed model that remote working creates makes enterprises far more susceptible to malicious activity and cyberattacks. If organisations are to survive and thrive moving forward, there are several challenges associated with this new hybrid landscape that they will need to overcome.  

Hybrid Working & Its Risks

In organisations where employees are working from virtually anywhere, the attack surface increases exponentially and to make matters worse, employees may have unsecure home networks, which can become the obvious target for sophisticated hacking attempts. With less visibility over home networks and remote endpoints, IT and security professionals are faced with sizeable and rapidly evolving challenges. . 

Lacklustre system patching exacerbates the cyber risks associated with hybrid working, particularly when those working away from the office don’t have direct contact with the IT team or the business lacks implicit device policies. This is becoming a major concern for security executives - NTT’s Global Network Report 2022-2023 discovered that network security and compliance risks are top of mind for 90% of them.

Distributed work models also create a more challenging environment when it comes to complying with the numerous security regulations that today’s enterprises are being faced with, as tracing and monitoring sensitive data is far more difficult. In fact, 89% of IT executives have operational concerns about running complex, intelligent networks while complying with security and regulatory requirements. 

In addition, organisations looking to scale up to meet the demands of distributed working are finding the recruitment of skilled security professionals a challenge. The global cybersecurity workforce gap increased by 26.2% from 2021 to 2022, representing a dramatic shortage of cybersecurity professionals.  

The Migration To The Cloud

Cloud-based security solutions are designed to provide secure access to cloud-based resources, regardless of the location of the user. This can help organisations ensure that their employees can stay productive and secure, even when working remotely.

To enable the adoption of cloud based security, businesses across all sectors will need to re-evaluate their data, identity and authentication practices. As part of this, a shift from perimeter-based security to identity-based security is paramount. 

One of the ways that organisations are making these processes more robust in 2023 is by adopting centralised, cloud-based security solutions such as Secure Access Service Edge (SASE).

Solutions like SASE are tailor-made for today’s complex, hybrid networks, as they allow for easy scalability and enhanced flexibility. With network geography and size changing month by month as new users connect or change working styles, cloud-based solutions can easily adapt, scaling whenever and wherever expansion is required. With less network hardware required, solutions like SASE encompass all assets without the need for physical data centres and servers, allowing any changes to be actioned quicker. 

Legacy security models are often made up of multiple solutions from differing vendors, making configuration and system updates complex. Cloud technologies like SASE integrate security tools under a single management umbrella, making management and maintenance processes far simpler. By avoiding any unnecessary complexity, staff can better manage their time, mitigating the cyber skills gap and lowering the cost of securing and running corporate networks. 

The consistent network visibility that cloud-based solutions enable also makes network management easier on a day-to-day basis, whilst allowing security teams to understand any current and potential cybersecurity threats to their organisation. Real-time monitoring also makes it possible to apply Zero Trust security principles by tracking and managing all user privileges. 

Along with bringing all security tools together in a holistic platform, cloud-based solutions provide a robust security perimeter from edge-to-edge.

In the cloud, data protection efforts are streamlined, with platforms like SASE offering secure multi-factor authentication, privilege management, and network segmentation under one solution. With sensitive data continually tracked and protected from unauthorized access, compliance with the relevant regulatory frameworks is streamlined. 

As businesses face increasing network complexity and a perimeter that’s always on the move, it’s vital that their security solutions can keep up. And with the year ahead underpinned by economic uncertainty, the flexibility of pricing, scalability of services, and simplicity of use that cloud-based security solutions offer will provide significant financial and functional advantages to enterprises weathering the storm.

Vivek Daga is Managing Director UK&I of NTT

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