The work-from-home movement sparked by COVID-19 has brought many new challenges to our everyday lives. While most of us struggle to stay focused at home, IT pros working behind the scenes have much bigger problems to contend with.
The shift to remote work and coronavirus fears has triggered an unprecedented surge in cyberattacks. The FBI’s Cyber Division has been receiving 3,000 to 4,000 complaints per day — up from 1,000 per day pre-pandemic. Criminals are constantly finding new ways to exploit weaknesses in the remote-work environment and lure employees into sophisticated phishing attacks.
Whether we like it or not, remote work isn’t going away anytime soon. A recent study predicts that 25 to 30 percent of us will be working from home at least a few days a week through the end of 2021, which means organizations must step up to defend their data. Here are three of today’s biggest tech trends for keeping remote work secure:
1. Highly Advanced Security Information Event Management (SIEM) Solutions
Alert fatigue is one of the biggest issues facing IT professionals today. Managing an organization’s firewall, wireless access points, software updates, and servers means sifting through an endless stream of notifications, and 31 percent of IT pros admit to ignoring alerts due to false positives. A SIEM security solution can help with alert overload, but simply providing a centralized hub for notifications isn’t good enough. Today’s best SIEM security solutions go beyond log aggregation.
They can also generate reports for compliance purposes and provide analysis on all event logs from the network. By combining data from different sources and creating context around that data, a good SIEM can detect issues on the network that might otherwise have gone unnoticed.
SIEM software has earned a reputation for being expensive and difficult to maintain, but companies like StratoZen offer SIEM-as-a-service, giving organizations access to a powerful, fully customizable SIEM without the huge investment in hardware and extra personnel.
Its intelligent solution greatly reduces false positives and provides enhanced notifications that explain why an alert was triggered, what it means, and what next steps the security team should take.
2. A Reliance On More Secure Cloud Solutions
While the surge in Zoom-bombing alerted many companies to the vulnerabilities of their favorite cloud solutions, insider threats are becoming more prevalent. According to a recent report, roughly a third of all data breaches happened as the result of an internal actor.
Most of the time, the culprit is a negligent employee or contractor rather than a malicious IP thief. However, these negligence breaches still cost organizations more than a quarter of a million dollars on average.
One of the reasons insider-threat incidents are becoming more commonplace is an increased reliance on the cloud for sharing company data. While cloud-based platforms make it easy to collaborate while working remotely, they also make it easy for the wrong people to gain access to confidential information (and for employees to take files with them when they change jobs).
This issue with file permissions has become a thorn in the side of IT security professionals, but companies like Egnyte are gaining new attention for providing easy file sharing with built-in data governance.
Egnyte has the highest encryption standards in the business and has integrated content lifecycle management into its platform. It allows administrators to get extremely granular with permission-sharing and includes threat and ransomware detection.
3. A Shift From VPNs To Zero-Trust Network Access
Until recently, virtual private networks were the primary way for organizations to provide secure remote access to their company networks. But VPNs could be slow, they required users to log in repeatedly, and they had their own security vulnerabilities.
These frustrations, combined with the sudden explosion in the work-from-home movement, have caused many organizations to consider adopting zero-trust network access instead. In a nutshell, ZTNA works on the assumptions that the network is hostile and that all applications are potentially malicious.
With a VPN, after an external user passes through the firewall to access the network, that connection is considered “trusted.” With ZTNA, no user or device is trusted by default — even if it’s on the internal network. Everything and everyone must be authorized and authenticated.
On a practical level, ZTNA isolates application access from network access. It only grants access to authorized users, and it creates outbound-only connections that keep the network “invisible” to unauthorized users.
ZTNA software can be installed on employee devices to route all traffic through a gateway in the cloud that gives administrators equal or better control than a traditional VPN. Gartner predicts that by 2023, 60 percent of organizations will phase out most of their remote-access VPNs and use ZTNA instead.
The sudden shift toward remote work has exposed organizations to a host of new threats — and created new headaches for IT personnel. Instead of having employees all under one roof, IT workers are scrambling to help their co-workers do their jobs from home while keeping the network secure.
Remote work could be here to stay, so organizations need to invest in the latest technology to keep their data protected. A good SIEM, a secure cloud-collaboration platform, and ZTNA software are all good places to start.
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