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Why Distributed Cloud-Based Security has Never Been More Important

covid 19 work from home cloud based security for employees

As COVID-19 rapidly makes its way across the globe, companies have been advised/mandated to transition to remote workforces for the coming weeks/months in order to help halt the potential for transmission.

One unintended consequence of this sudden mass influx of remote users is how it completely opens up corporate networks to an influx of cyberattacks, as myriad waves of poorly secured devices make new connections with your network.

So, how can companies be both agile and secure in these unprecedented times?

Here’s a look at why distributed cloud-based security is now more important than ever for protecting businesses with (and from) a remote workforce.

Remote Workers Highlight Security Inefficiencies

For many companies who are currently getting by with hardware-based centralized network security, a huge increase in the number of remote workers means it’s time for a Revised approach.

Why? Because there are several proven issues with centralized security, including:

  • Onsite server hardware costs (upgrades, maintenance, etc.)
  • High energy costs
  • Skilled personnel costs (wages, training, etc.)
  • Limited data storage and processing power

These expensive overheads have long-been a necessary evil for IT leaders faced with fending off cyberattacks of which the majority were strictly aimed at their network. But that’s no longer the reality. Now with dozens – if not hundreds or thousands – of new, additional devices creating new attack vectors all over your network, the need for smarter, better network protection becomes obvious.

The Problem: Your Network Security Standards DO NOT Belong to You

Be Honest: How good is your endpoint security posture, really?

It’s a fair question because we see it all the time. You, the visionary and fearless leader of your company’s IT initiatives, think your network is secure. But then you think again: Well, John in Accounting is out of the country for 2 weeks. And Jane in Finance is on sick leave all week. We’re good, right? All endpoints are covered and the network is secure, right? RIGHT?!?

Look, nobody’s perfect. And the life of the IT department consists of putting out one fire after another. It’s constant chaos, and it’s entirely possible you missed something, even something small. But it’s not about the size of the potential security threat – it’s the scope.

Part of the solution that smart IT staffs are putting in place is directing security resources towards robust endpoint protection. There are a lot of vendors in the marketplace who offer endpoint security packages, but they’re not all created equal.

A reputable 3rd party consultant like Shamrock can help you sift through the riff-raff and find the best options for your business.

In order to keep device-network protection continuity intact in a BYOD environment, software can be downloaded onto every individual employee’s device for both antivirus protection and IAM purposes.

This keeps not only the individual devices protected, but it also ensures the security of your network as a whole. Updates can be applied automatically, thus minimizing the time window for security breaches. Additionally, strong encryption protocols in the software serve to protect remote workers from potential data leaks when connecting to the internet.

How secure is this architecture? Good question. The answer really depends on the standards set by the software vendor – and these are inconsistent at best.

Here’s one example that should serve as a warning to any CEO, CFO or CTO looking for a simple solution to secure a bunch of new BYOD devices for remote workers:

Back in 2018, a cybersecurity researcher from Norway used a free scanning tool to “hack” 32GB of data – that’s 46,000 files from over 11,000 users – belonging to True Corp, Thailand’s 2nd largest mobile operator. The data, which represented every user who had purchased True Corp’s mobile packages through their e-commerce site, had been stored in the cloud in AWS S3 buckets – and included images of user’s driver’s licenses, passports and ID cards.

If that’s not enough to scare you, check out this quote from the researcher-turned-hacker, Niall Merrigan, which he wrote in his blog: “There was no security at all protecting the files. Simply, if you found the URL, you could download all their customers scanned details.”

Yikes. Odds are, you and your team haven’t been that careless with your data. But the anecdote remains as a stark reminder of how one weak spot is all it takes to invite a malicious data breach.

Connecting centralized network security with endpoint protection packages is often a complex task. If multiple vendors are used, there is also the potential for integration issues, adding yet another layer of complexity. And complexity, as we all know, is the enemy of security.

The Solution: A Distributed Cloud-Based Security Model

A cloud-based security service knits together endpoint protection with your company’s wider architecture, including both on-prem networks and private and public clouds.

Running on a distributed security architecture, these systems offer scalability, high availability, and they command enough resources to carry out a range of powerful security services, including:

  • Data Loss Prevention/Protection (DLP)
  • Next-Gen Antivirus & Anti-Spyware
  • Firewall
  • Email Security
  • Identity & Access Management (IAM)
  • Web Security
  • Intrusion Detection & Prevention
  • Event Management
  • DDoS & Botnet Protection

With a cloud-based security model in effect, your remote workers (and you) benefit from the same secure access to your corporate network, from any point across its fluid perimeter. As time goes on and more applications and services are moved to the cloud, your company could eventually phase out its on-site security overhead altogether.

How to Prep for a Cloud-Based Security System

Let’s be real: moving your network security systems to the cloud is a big deal. Essentially, your entire business needs to prepare for a new way of working (i.e. a stakeholder’s dream!).

Here are some of the key elements you’ll need to start thinking about in preparation:

C-Level Buy-In
This is much bigger than just ‘an IT issue.’ All pros and cons must be evaluated carefully

Strategic Alignment
Does cloud-based security sync with my company’s goals?

Compliance
Data protection is paramount. You may even need to keep some of your most sensitive data locked inside your on-prem network

Overall architecture
How can we build the most secure network without sacrificing productivity/speed/results?

Personnel
Who’s going to manage the transition? Will you do it yourself, or delegate to a team you trust?

Service Level Agreements
What happens if there’s an outage? What’s the mean time to repair?

Shared responsibility model
Who is responsible for securing what?

Want a Free Security Assessment? Let Us Know!

We know this can all be a bit overwhelming, but hey – welcome to the wild world of IT!

In all seriousness, don’t worry: our staff is highly-trained and battle-tested across every network security scenario there is. And, our strategic partners are comprised of the very best in the industry from a security standpoint (Trustwave, AlertLogic, CrowdStrike, Fortinet, PaloAlto, Carbon Black, etc.).

The majority of our services are offered at no cost to our customers. We’ll conduct a free security assessment of your network, bring in top-tier vendors to solve your challenges, and give you objective advice on which endpoint security solutions fit your business objectives best. All with no strings attached.

The security systems we’ve deployed to date have been responsible for:

  • Securing millions of endpoints across the globe
  • Providing protection against known and zero-day attacks
  • Filtering billions of events per day to identify real security risks
  • Streaming live analytics for an instant view into user behavior and network performance

If you, like thousands of other companies around the world, are preparing to have a large remote workforce for the foreseeable future, now is the time to solidify your endpoint security posture.

It will not only help you sleep a little better at night, but it’ll also ensure that you don’t end up trading one potentially deadly risk (a global pandemic) for another (a significant breach) down the road.

Ryan Reeves

Ryan Reeves

Ryan Reeves is the Director of Marketing and Customer Success for Shamrock Consulting Group, and he is also an AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner. Ryan brings a unique perspective and skill set to the technology industry after spending the first 10 years of his career working with some of most innovative media and entertainment brands in the world. His versatility has been vital in establishing Shamrock as an award-winning industry leader and industry disruptor. In his free time, Ryan likes to snowboard, play soccer and basketball, and travel with his lovely wife, Lucy.

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