The onset of digital transformation has made for a complex and risky network, with dispersed global workforces, remote employees, and vulnerable BYOD and IoT devices. One of the biggest challenges of digital transformation for IT professionals is that they want to encourage their employees to use technology, and reap the financial benefits that result, but are concerned about the digital risks they can expose the organisation to.
In fact, IDC found 68% of security professionals cited modest to no confidence in managing digital threats. In today’s modern workforce, monitoring the entire network, where all devices are not in a central location, is challenging but necessary.
The mobile workforce and IoT
Companies from all over the world are allowing their workforce to perform duties outside the office, and from distant locations like home offices, coffee shops, restaurants, hotels and more. This is due to the advancements in mobile technology and network infrastructures, but makes security more complicated.
Cybercriminals have been known to target remote workers, developing malware that identifies programs installed on a remote desktop to determine whether this employee’s data is worth gathering.
Additionally, always-on access to work documents, emails, and applications creates loopholes for cybercriminals looking to infiltrate a company’s network. Many companies require remote workers to log in with virtual private networks (VPN), but that may be tough to enforce.
For convenience, workers may use their own Internet connection or set up in a coffee shop and use public Wi-Fi. Those on business flights or staying overnight in a hotel typically connect on airport or hotel Wi-Fi, which means open connections being accessed by thousands of other travelers a day.
With the onus on remote workers to keep their machines updated, there’s a lot of room for error. Out-of-date software, plugins, and browsers, plus unpatched and unprotected systems leave remote employees even more vulnerable to attack.
Globally dispersed enterprises
For companies conducting business on a global scale, regional offices allow for streamlined business operations and reduce the potential for cultural barriers. However, with a global workforce, CIOs and CISOs are faced with the challenging task of securing multiple offices dispersed across the world.
If a vulnerable device is attempting to connect in a regional office, it puts the entire global network at risk. Streamlining security measures is a crucial challenge associated with securing multiple offices across the globe. Many traditional solutions are on-premise, requiring physical installation and securing a network as a defined infrastructure within a physical firewall.
This limits scalability and agility, as installation is required per office. As a result, it’s more difficult for IT staff to leverage one solution for network visibility and monitoring. A cloud-based solution eliminates the challenges associated with an on-premise solution, as it can be applied across a global network from the cloud, making it easier than ever to add new devices and even offices.
How can cloud help?
One potential solution to security risks is a cloud-based monitoring solution, allowing organisations to gain visibility into their network endpoints from the cloud, giving IT departments the contextual endpoint knowledge they need to know that their data and networks are secure, despite the widespread use of BYOD.
With cloud network access control (NAC), they can know where and when endpoints are connecting, if they have been patched for the latest vulnerabilities, and if they are sharing or accessing sensitive information in an abnormal fashion that could raise red flags.
Cloud NAC allows organisations to monitor network activity across the board, monitoring all offices from the cloud in a single platform, overall enabling businesses to grow at a fast pace, and know their network is secured and monitored regardless of location.
The network of the future
As networks continue to change and grow, IT executives need to adapt a forward-thinking approach to security, implementing solutions that continue to meet their needs. Offering security from the cloud can provide IT executives with the scalability necessary in today’s modern workforce.
Sourced by Ofer Amitai, CEO, Portnox