How to Adapt Network Security to [Work Anywhere]

Today we will tell you what network security is and how to use it. As a result of the global pandemic, there is no more working remotely or working from home, there is just working. Having a job is not only a function of where you go but what you do as well.

Today, workers can work from anywhere. We will never return to an environment in which most people toil away in office buildings every day from 9 to 5, nor will we maintain the quasi-cottage industries of 2020 with everyone at home trying to be productive.

In addition to the executive looking to trim the real estate budget and have less commute time and more family time, several employees are sitting at the edge of their beds sharing spotty Wi-Fi with flatmates who can’t wait to get back to work. As a result, we’ll have a hybrid work environment going forward, which is good.

Due to COVID-19, technical teams worldwide faced an urgent need to support a surge in remote work. 5% of the workforce had access to the virtual private network (VPN), not 100%, and the security was designed around everyone being present at work.

These unexpected changes surprised organizations. Organizations have responded to the challenge of enabling and securing remote workers in different phases, according to security strategists.

A phased approach to remote access.

In the first phase, at ExterNetworks, we moved a portion of people out of the office and had them working from home by the weekend. Out of pure necessity, whatever remote access method existed previously, usually VPN, was scaled fast during this phase.

The next phase was the realization that the patched-together secure network now resembled a colander, with openings that could be exploited by cybercriminals.

The remote access, originally intended for occasional email checking and server reboots, was now being used by everyone, and these users do not have the same security orientation as the IT team.

To secure all these remote connections, we added better endpoint protection, more distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) defenses for VPN gateways (which suddenly became the lifeblood of the company), and updated anti-phishing tools.

In the final phase, it was recognized that there was a more intelligent way. From a performance and security perspective, an entire organization using VPN to work was insufficient. 

While many IT transformation initiatives were already underway or accelerated in 2020, they faced the challenge of connecting data and users from anywhere and everywhere. However, traffic was still being sent through virtual tunnels, fixed locations, and bottlenecks.

Accessing Applications for Users. And Network security.

In the traditional scenario, once users connect over VPN, they have the same level of access as those in the office, except that the network that the remote users are connected to could be unsafe due to potentially insecure endpoints or password management issues.

If an engineer on a VPN connects to accounting servers even if he or she does not have the login credentials, that threat actor has network-level access and can identify targets for attacks, such as IP addresses, open ports, and unresolved vulnerabilities.

As a network security model based on strict identity verification, Zero Trust has been applied to many different tools, but it is also a great solution for remote access. Before a user can access the application, they need to authenticate.

Although multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a requirement for most organizations, it can still be vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks – in which an attacker intercepts or manipulates data between parties, like what happened at Twitter.

An additional layer of security is provided by using a FIDO2 token generator associated with the laptop. A request without proper authentication will be dropped and there will be no connection between the client and application.

Likewise, authorization allows least privilege access, a principle adopted by Zero Trust that further reduces risk by only granting users the access they need to do their jobs.

It is sometimes possible to reduce the attack surface of an organization considerably by requiring authorization before connecting to an application. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, we do not need to connect the device to the server where the application is running.

We proxy the connection and allow devices to talk directly to applications via Zero Trust Network Access since Zero Trust Network Access provides users with applications through a cloud-based service.

If a user’s device becomes compromised, the server’s IP address is all that is exposed, not the user’s device.  With this approach, the employee can use a personal laptop at home if he or she usually uses a desktop in the office.

Public sector access to cloud-based applications.

The need for remote work security is critical across all industries, especially for frontline workers. Amid the COVID-19 crisis, many staff members needed to work remotely, and the existing VPN infrastructure was incapable of scaling and providing access to all the necessary applications.

Embracing the future of work in 2021 and beyond.

By leveraging the cloud, we will be able to better define the edge of the network, ensuring that authentication, authorization, and access are not constrained by outdated networks and models.

A cloud-based solution allows users to access applications that have been checked, validated, secured and optimized far more quickly than using VPN alone.

The on-premises security stack of old now exists in the cloud, close to the users, so that the user experience is not negatively impacted by unnecessary latency, and valuable assets are protected from lateral movement as users access the application through a proxy, not the network.

The on-premises security stack of old now exists in the cloud, close to the users, so that the user experience is not negatively impacted by unnecessary latency, and valuable assets are protected from lateral movement as users access the application through a proxy, not the network.

No further exploits are possible when users are not connected to the server the application is running on. There is no better time to enable the future of work with the cloud now that the workforce is no longer location-dependent.

Using Enterprise Application Access, Akamai can help you build a flexible, secure workplace that allows access to only the internal applications authorized users and devices need, not the entire network. By leveraging Intelligent Edge Platforms, organizations can allow users to work from any place.

Network security services are available through the FieldEngineer platform, which is the world’s largest online marketplace. The one-stop right place for clients who are looking for freelancers near them. Become one of them and hire the perfect Network Security Engineer to work for you.

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