It was never before the pandemic hit the entire world workplaces shut down all over the globe. This created an immediate shift in the work culture, and then WFH- work from home solutions come into play. It erupted a sudden need for innovations in network and security. The teams already struggling to support digital innovation efforts along with introducing network devices and edges—created effective and secure ways for employees and stakeholders to connect and communicate.
Besides some prominent one, there were very few organizations ready for this rapid inversion of the network. Talking specifically, every cyber security company in India too came under the storm of this hasty transformation. People who were adapted to work traditionally from inside the network was now suddenly outside. The biggest challenge was to maintain the productivity for which they needed reliable and secure access to network resources, cloud-based applications, and collaboration tools. Given the chaos in the early days of the pandemic, networking and security workarounds appeared to be common.
Unfortunately, many of those workarounds are not sustainable enough to take us too far. Additionally, 5G, application-based business models, the proliferation of smart devices, and expanding network edges were not something new as they were already working to reshape the network long before the pandemic.
The moment work from home suddenly became mandatory, literally, there was an outburst in the number of access points across the network—it inundated the already overtaxed IT teams and prompted multiple layers of convergence that security experts had long been expecting.
This new environment brings the entire network infrastructure to the same platform. Devices, users, network functions, and security started working together to provide every user and every device on every edge and in every location the same experience. People working from home on their personal devices came out as a branch of one. Everyone’s needs for secure and reliable access were back to the network and out to the cloud and omnipresent interconnectivity across the entire remote workforce.
The networks have become dynamic to the extent where outdated, rigid, and siloed networking and security can no longer help operate and protect them. Legacy security infrastructures built using different tools from dozens of vendors do not interoperate, limit visibility and control, and incapable to meet performance demands.
Moving to the home network, most of them were in no good shape to get along the extended corporate network. Trusting on virtual private networks (VPNs) alone to protect essential workflows, applications, and data, was like rolling out the welcome mat for cyber threat actors, who were quick to catch the prey – ageing, unsecured devices attached to home networks and hijack VPN tunnels to make a backdoor entry into the network. This becomes evident from recent reports of a staggering rise in ransomware attacks on VPN during the COVID era.
The connectivity workarounds are not secure enough. Not to mention, these workarounds were never designed to support expanding network edges, hyper-connectivity, and application-based business models with users demanding more intuitive and personalized tools for their tech-savvy consumers’ needs. As a result, malicious attacks on critical infrastructure and supply-chain are quite frequently making to the news.
Work strategy for long-term
Business leaders with forward-thinking are more into investing in new converged technologies. There are advanced solutions that made it possible to blend connectivity and security into a single solution like software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN), secure access service edge (SASE), zero trust access (ZTA), and zero trust network access (ZTNA). These solutions extend enterprise-grade network connectivity and security functions for offices at home, protecting hybrid networks.
This innovative upgrade is essential to ensure a temporary WFH policy soon becoming a long-term strategy to run digital businesses. Making the right investments requires thinking about security and networking as a converged solution, a security-defined network approach, instead of discrete elements.
A network around multiple edges is built with an entire focus on hyper-performance, interoperability, and hyperconnectivity. These dynamic and flexible networks span multiple environments—local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), multi-cloud, branch, and home office. It is next to impossible to secure these widespread networks using conventional thought processes and legacy technologies.
Companies across the globe need to contest in the digital marketplace, network, security, and computer systems must work together seamlessly, so they can maintain the business outcome and end-user experiences. To efficiently close the visibility, automation, and control gaps created by volatile environments requires a unified solution- weaved with security and network functionality.
Convergence: A cultural issue
First and foremost, uniting security and networking is a cultural issue and should not be mistaken with a technology issue. To integrate and achieve convergence, organizations have to remove silos, then only the teams that develop cloud solutions, run desktop services, deploy and manage IT, and oversee security can converge. Specifically, security must be incorporated consistently across every network edge, reason is that siloed security solutions and teams make networks vulnerable and exposed to cyber-attacks.
Being part of a convergence culture can bolt the network risks of organizations. Why we are putting stress on it because converging infrastructure and security let an organization apply for consistent protection at any edge. It enables all the security elements to see, communicate, and work together as a single integrated framework.
Security-driven networking works as a convergence approach for networking and security across the connected environment with purpose to create a unified solution. This strategy enables organizations to effectively see and defend highly dynamic situations while protecting user experience for employees and customers.
When security and network functions are seamlessly integrated at the core, networks improve and easily adapt to digital innovations to the levels that support next-gen computing, including hyper-scale, multi-cloud, 5G, and other innovations.
One thing we can be assured of, it could not be the last pandemic and not the most severe business crisis we saw. The worst can yet come over anytime. However, the sudden turmoil of 2020 showed up the most effective response- replacing siloed security solutions and workarounds with a fresh strategy, constructing and securing networks to grow well amidst the inevitable challenges, innovations, and crises in the future.
Webmobril Technologies is the leading cyber security company in India that understands the uncertainty in the cyber world and geared up to effectively handle any sudden disruption in the tech environment. We can help you make your organization resilient against network and security gaps at any point in time.