SecurityBrief Australia logo
Australia's leading source of cybersecurity and cyber-attack news
Story image

Why zero trust remote networking is key to thriving in the ‘new normal’ business world

By Contributor
Wed 7 Oct 2020
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Article by Bitglass CTO Anurag Kahol.

In our highly digitised world, the idea of commuting daily to a central office, to sit and work on a computer, has long felt like an outdated approach. Yet most businesses resisted the move to remote-based working models, usually citing productivity as the primary concern.

Of course, circumstances over the past few months have caused a rapid shift to having a remote workforce.

While many businesses now admit to being pleasantly surprised about the continued high levels of productivity following this shift, their former reluctance about doing so means they weren’t prepared for such a monumental and long-term change in working habits.

Consequently, they are scrambling to put infrastructure in place that enables productivity without compromising on security. With so many question marks over the road ahead, enterprises need a solution that allows flexibility to work in any environment, as they try to acclimatise to the ‘new normal.’

Since the beginning of the pandemic, IT teams have been revisiting their infrastructure and likely finding they need meaningful changes. Enabling zero trust remote work is an excellent way to bolster business security without significantly impeding worker productivity or system flexibility.

To work effectively, remote employees need unobstructed access to public cloud apps, the web, and internal applications from both company managed devices and unmanaged personal devices. At the same time, top security considerations for remote working include:

Identity and multi-factor authentication (MFA)

Robust identity management via single-sign-on and MFA is essential. Remote workers are subject to more significant risks from phishing attacks, and MFA is a critical second line of defence.

Robust access control & data loss prevention (DLP)

Access to corporate data must be controlled with respect to the context of the access, depending on the user, location, type of device, sensitivity of the data and compliance requirements. IT teams must enforce DLP policies contextually on content flowing into and out of applications.

Zero-day threat protection

Remote workers operate off the corporate network and are therefore subject to greater risks of hacking and malware. Protection from such threats is essential across all devices, networks, and applications.

Visibility

All regulated businesses must acquire and maintain access logs for remote workers to satisfy compliance requirements.

The question is, how do organisations balance effectively the needs of employees with the measures required to keep sensitive data secure? Too stringent, and this will stifle productivity and flexibility - too lax, and the business risks attack. 

Let’s consider security requirements in the context of the three key areas: public cloud apps, web access, and internal applications.
 

Access to public cloud applications

A typical business uses dozens of different public cloud applications such as Office 365, Salesforce, and Dropbox. While the application providers secure their infrastructure, the applications themselves are freely accessible to any user, on any device, from anywhere in the world. As such, it’s the responsibility of the organisation itself to secure any data it has within each app.

Many rely on the vendor to provide application controls. However, because each vendor optimises security differently, this approach creates disjointed security across applications which result in security gaps and major management headaches.

The solution

The nature of public cloud applications means teams should always enforce single sign-on (SSO) and MFA.

Access to applications must also be controlled by context (user group, location etc), with DLP policies used to manage the type of data that can be downloaded. Elsewhere, sensitive data should be identified and either blocked, masked, or encrypted upon upload--while all sessions should timeout when devices are left unattended.

From a threat perspective, reputable third-party end-point protection software must be installed on all managed devices, while uploads into cloud applications from unmanaged devices must be scanned for malware before transmission to the application. 

Finally, all activity, whether from managed or unmanaged devices, should be logged for visibility, with logs retained as required for ongoing compliance.
 

Web access

Remote workers accessing the web from managed devices are exposed to all manner of threats and data leakage risks. 

The traditional VPN approach is sufficient for a few users but becomes problematic as the number of users rises. This is due to the increased load on the VPN firewall, throttling performance and creating a significant bottleneck.

The solution

The best way to overcome this is by pushing processes to the edge and using direct-to-cloud connectivity with an elastic secure web gateway (SWG), capable of handling shifting load.

From an identity and MFA perspective, access to the SWG from managed devices must require authentication via corporate SSO. When it comes to access control and DLP, web browsing should be restricted to appropriate content, and policies should scan all uploads for sensitive data to enforce appropriate controls and blocking or logging all web transactions.

For effective zero-day threat protection, risky URLs should be blocked entirely, while downloads must be scanned for malware and blocked in real-time. Finally, as before, all activity should be logged and retained as required.
 

Internal applications

Every remote worker also needs access to applications within the corporate network. As mentioned, the traditional VPN approach is not a scalable or cost-effective approach that is becoming increasingly untenable with the rise of remote work. 

Furthermore, VPN access from unmanaged devices is not feasible, presenting significant issues amongst workforces where bring your own device (BYOD) programmes are popular.

The solution

One of the best ways to overcome these limitations is through the use of Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA).

After authentication via corporate SSO and MFA is acquired, access to corporate resources must be contextually granted based on user, group, application, location, type of device etc.

Additionally, to protect against zero-day threats, access should also be restricted to devices with up-to-date and reputable third-party endpoint protection software to scan file uploads and downloads. This will enable organisations to have real-time protection and stop zero-day threats.

With millions of workers around the world now getting used to the reality of full-time remote working, security teams must implement new solutions that provide the appropriate level of protection needed without stifling productivity or scalability in such an uncertain environment.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Nozomi Networks
Nozomi Networks, Siemens reveal software integration
Nozomi Networks and Siemens have extended their partnership by embedding Nozomi Networks’ software into the Siemens Scalance LPE local processing engine.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Infoblox's State of Security Report spotlights Australian remote work hazards
Attackers exploit weak WiFi, remote endpoints, and the cloud, costing 50% of organisations over $1.3 million in breach damages.
Story image
Cybersecurity
BlackBerry offers Kaspersky replacement cybersecurity for the channel
BlackBerry advises that users of Kaspersky software in Australia and New Zealand undertake a rigorous risk analysis of their current security posture.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
How to ensure ethical deployment of AI implementations
The increase in automation and machine technology such as AI and machine learning has unlocked a whole new level of scale and service to organisations. 
Story image
Workato
Workato unveils enhancements to enterprise automation platform
"The extra layer of protection with EKM, zero-logging, and hourly key rotation gives customers a lot more visibility and control over more sensitive data."
Story image
Cybersecurity
Three key security challenges facing the Australian insurance industry 
Insurance companies must ensure they proactively address security challenges and protect the privacy of customer data.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Companies rushing to secure print infrastructure
As the pandemic prioritised communication channels and the shift to remote work, IT departments fell behind in updating the security of print and IT infrastructure.
Story image
Malware
Use of malware, botnets and exploits expands in Q1 2022
"As zero-day attacks and other vulnerabilities among companies like Google and Microsoft come to light, threat actors are quickly adjusting their tactics."
Story image
SaaS
Absolute Software expands Secure Access product offering
Absolute Software is enhancing its Secure Access product portfolio, enabling minimised risk exposure and optimised user experiences in the hybrid working environment.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
AI-based email security platform Abnormal Security valued at $4B
"A new breed of cybersecurity solutions that leverage AI is required to change the game and stop the rising threat of sophisticated and targeted email attacks."
Story image
Ransomware
Anniversaries remind us to review identity risks
World Password Day provides a timely reminder for ordinary citizens and organisations to stop and think about the risks associated with digital identities.
Story image
Cybersecurity
A10 Networks finds over 15 million DDoS weapons in 2021
A10 Networks notes that in the 2H 2021 reporting period, its security research team tracked more than 15.4 million Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) weapons.
Story image
Blue Prism
Blue Prism Desktop uses IA to defend against vulnerabilities
SS&C Blue Prism Desktop aims to help protect businesses against vulnerabilities, using a combination of security measures and intelligent automation tech.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Hard numbers: Why ambiguity in cybersecurity no longer adds up
As cybersecurity costs and risks continue to escalate, CEOs continue to struggle with what their investment in cyber protection buys. Getting rid of ambiguity becomes necessary.
Story image
Ransomware
Cybersecurity starts with education
In 2021, 80% of Australian organisations responding to the Sophos State of Ransomware study reported being hit by ransomware. 
Story image
Digital Transformation
Physical security systems guide the hybrid workplace to new heights
Organisations are reviewing how data gathered from their physical security systems can optimise, protect and enhance their business operations in unique ways.
Story image
Appian
Appian awarded billions in damages against Pegasystems Inc.
Appian has been awarded USD$2.036 billion in damages against Pegasystems Inc as the result of a jury verdict in the Circuit Court for Fairfax County, Virginia.
Story image
Ransomware
A third of companies paying ransom don’t recover data - report
Veeam's report finds 76% of businesses who are victims of cyberattacks paid the ransom to recover data, but a third were still unable to get their information back.
Story image
BeyondTrust
BeyondTrust integrates Password Safe solution with SailPoint
BeyondTrust has announced the integration of BeyondTrust Password Safe with SailPoint identity security offerings.
Story image
Cybersecurity
CyberArk launches $30M investment fund to advance security
CyberArk has announced the launch of CyberArk Ventures, a $30 million global investment fund dedicated to advancing the next generation of security disruptors.
Story image
Manufacturing
$1 million in cyber skills to stop $100 million in cybercrime
"It is important that the next generation across all industries, including manufacturing, are skilled in cybersecurity."
Story image
Digital Transformation
How to modernise legacy apps without compromising security
At a time when digital transformation has become central to business, even the most important applications come with a ‘use-by’ date.
Story image
Sift
Sift shares crucial advice for preventing serious ATO breaches
Are you or your business struggling with Account Takeover Fraud (ATO)? One of the latest ebooks from Sift can provide readers with the tools and expertise to help launch them into the new era of account security.
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft unveils three new security managed services
Security Experts includes three new managed services, Defender Experts for Hunting, Defender Experts for XDR, Security Services for Enterprise.
Story image
APAC
Odaseva expands in APAC and UK with more security features
Odaseva, a data platform for Salesforce, is establishing new headquarters in London as well as a new data center in India.
Story image
Surveillance
Genetec launches new enclosure management system for data centers
Genetec has released a new enclosure management solution that will give data centers the ability to secure, monitor and manage access to racks and cabinets remotely.
Story image
Application Security
What are the DDoS attack trend predictions for 2022?
Mitigation and recovery are vital to ensuring brand reputation remains solid in the face of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack and that business growth and innovation can continue.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
ForgeRock releases Autonomous Access solution powered by AI
ForgeRock has officially introduced ForgeRock Autonomous Access, a new solution that uses AI to prevent identity-based cyber attacks and fraud.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Updates from Google Workspace set to ease hybrid working troubles
Google Workspace has announced a variety of new features which will utilise Google AI capabilities to help make hybrid working situations more efficient and effective.
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Datacom, Micro Focus, SnapLogic and VMware
We round up all job appointments from May 6-12, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Cybersecurity
HackerOne launches Attack Resistance Management solution
HackerOne has launched Attack Resistance Management - a new category of security solution that targets the root causes of the attack resistance gap. 
Story image
trust
9/10 Aussies to stop spending if personal data compromised
"Based on the patterns we are seeing among Australian consumers, it is evident that trust in a brand is exceptionally important."
Story image
Forensics
Exterro adds advanced capabilities to digital forensic tool
The launch is in-line with Exterro’s investment in the FTK product line, and underscores the company's commitment to the digital forensics.
Story image
Ransomware
Zerto unveils updates to ransomware recovery capabilities
"Organisations face increased risks from the volume and sophistication of ransomware attacks prevalent today."
Story image
Ivanti
Ivanti and Lookout bring zero trust security to hybrid work
Ivanti and Lookout have joined forces to help organisations accelerate cloud adoption and mature their zero trust security posture in the everywhere workplace.
Story image
Cybersecurity
ThoughtLab reveals 10 best practices for cybersecurity in 2022
The benchmarking study reveals best practices that can reduce the probability of a material breach and the time it takes to find and respond to those that happen.
Story image
Remote Working
How zero trust and SD-WANs can support productive remote working
The way people connect with applications and data has changed, users are remotely accessing resources that could be stored anywhere from a corporate data center to the cloud.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Managed service providers: effective scoping to avoid costly vendor pitfalls
Managed security services are outsourced services focusing on the security and resilience of business networks.
Story image
Firewall
Sophos named Gartner Peer Insights Customers Choice for network firewalls
The company earned the highest overall customer rating among vendors with at least 150 verified customer reviews.
Story image
Training
HubSpot launches 'The Great Upskill' week to inspire learning
Brands across APAC including Google ANZ, MessageMedia, Meltwater, Seismic and Aircall, will give their employees a full workday to dedicate to upskilling.
Story image
Ransomware
Ingram Micro Cloud adds Bitdefender solutions to marketplace
Ingram Micro Cloud has announced the expanded availability of Bitdefender solutions on the Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace.
Story image
Training
Fortinet training edges toward closing cybersecurity gap
The Fortinet Training Institute has made significant progress in closing the cybersecurity skills gap, on track to train one million people by 2026.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from IronNet
Michael Ehrlich joins us today to discuss the history of IronNet and the crucial role the company plays in the cyber defence space.
Story image
VPN
Palo Alto Networks says ZTNA 1.0 not secure enough
Palo Alto Networks is urging the industry to move to Zero Trust Network Access 2.0 because previous versions have major gaps in security protection.