Technology has proven to play a crucial role in business continuity and the success of online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Technology solutions provider Cisco highlights how technology can make hybrid work settings work successfully.
When governments issued mobility restrictions, companies had to issue devices, purchase new digital tools, and expand technology solution subscriptions to avoid any downtime in business operations. Suddenly, video conferencing and other forms of digital communication have become the norm, and organizations have discovered that they can, in fact, run business remotely.
While these have become extremely useful, home networks have become prime targets for cybercriminals.
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“We are used to working inside the office and the security team (also) had the easy way of having to serve their organization in one place,” explained Juan Huat Koo, Director of Cybersecurity Sales, ASEAN at Cisco, during press conference at Cisco headquarters in Singapore. “But if we look at it in the current context, everything is very different.”
Respondents to the Cisco survey noted that 81% feel that cybersecurity is critical for people in an organization to feel safe and 37% feel that cybersecurity is a challenge with having devices in different locations.
“The study shows that many of those surveyed said security is paramount,” said Huat Koo. “With 39% of the opinion, data privacy will be a key challenge in the aggregated arrangements. Rightly so, because organizations, especially sales organizations, have a lot of sensitive customer information.”
The Cisco report shows that 77.6% of respondents said cybersecurity is critical to making hybrid working secure, but less than two-thirds (64.9%) said their organization currently has the capabilities and the correct protocols. It should be a concern for companies that only 61.9% of respondents think that all employees in their company understand cyber risks.
involved with hybrid work, and only 67.5% think that business leaders are familiar with the risks.
While companies and employees use VPNs (Virtual Private Networks), Cisco recommends the use of its Zero Trust Network (ZTN), where access to critical information is limited to a very few.
“Using our tool ensures secure connectivity to the (different) applications,” said Huat Koo. “But the user experience needs to be the same, especially in ease of use, between security teams and end users.”
Cisco Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) combines network and cloud security features to provide secure and seamless access to applications, anywhere users work. Its main features include a Software Defined Wide Area Network, Secure Web Gateway, Firewall as a Service, Cloud Access Security Agent, and Zero-Trust Network Access.
The SASE model aims to consolidate these functions into a single integrated cloud service, so that even if employees are in different locations, information security is covered.
Cisco provides a checklist for organizations considering adopting SASE for a hybrid work setup:
- Enhance your WAN with cloud-scale architecture
- Optimize cloud security
- Simplify secure network access with Zero Trust
- Choose platform simplicity over fragmentation
- Do SASE Your Way
Cisco’s Hybrid Work Configuration Survey provides insight into how companies are addressing this new reality in the business operations environment. Cybersecurity is a primary concern to ensure corporate data is protected from any breach.
“”For organizations to successfully operate and develop a hybrid workforce, it is important that investment in the right technologies and tools go hand in hand with the right culture, approach to employee engagement and people processes,” says the report. “Leadership teams must embrace the new future of hybrid work and be role models for their teams.”