As organizations continue to shift to offer permanent remote work options, security concerns surrounding traditional remote setups have become more prevalent. To combat these issues, the principle of zero trust has emerged as a security-focused strategy, with secure access service edge (SASE) being a means of achieving it. However, Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) face challenges in implementing SASE, including understanding the key principles of zero trust and establishing a framework for a hybrid workforce. To help CISOs overcome these challenges and better secure their organizations, global IT research and advisory firm Info-Tech Research Group has released a new blueprint, Secure Your Hybrid Workforce.
“Zero trust introduces a more security-focused strategy that mitigates most risks and eliminates traditional VPN limitations, enhancing the business and improving the employee and customer experience,” says Victor Okorie, senior research analyst at Info-Tech Research Group. “SASE is a way to achieve zero trust maturity by consolidating security and networking to better secure a hybrid workforce. Verification of everything has become the new normal to defend the business.”
SASE combines network and security functionalities to provide advanced features for businesses, offering network access features suitable for both on-premises and remote connections. SASE’s key advantage lies in its ability to provide security as a cloud-based service, eliminating the requirement for multiple vendors.
The firm’s blueprint explains that the convergence and consolidation of security and network brought about the formation of SASE. Digital transformation, a hybrid workforce, high demand of availability, uninterrupted access for employees, and a host of other factors influenced the need for this convergence, which is delivered as a cloud service. SASE continuously identifies users and devices, applies policy-based security, and provides secure access to the appropriate and requested application or data regardless of location.
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According to Info-Tech’s research, embarking on a zero-trust journey can be challenging for teams due to several obstacles, including understanding zero trust principles and knowing where to start, as there is no standardized path. Additionally, there is a lack of a uniform definition of what constitutes a SASE solution, which is heavily dependent on vendors.
In the new blueprint, Info-Tech suggests the following three-step approach for security leaders to better secure their hybrid workforces:
- Analyze and Process: The first step involves understanding existing technological capabilities and the challenges with the current hybrid infrastructure, then prioritizing those challenges.
- Assess the Suitability: Next, gain insights into zero trust and SASE concepts as a mitigation, control, or tool to address the identified challenges.
- Identify and Procure: Finally, identify the specific SASE features most relevant to the organization’s needs and a source guide for a SASE vendor.
Securing a hybrid workforce should be an opportunity for tech leaders to get started on the zero trust journey. Realizing the core features needed to achieve this will help determine which of the options is the best fit for the organization.
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