Over the course of a weekend in 2020, organizations around the world pivoted from in-person workplaces to either fully remote or hybrid remote/in-person work models. For security teams, this raised a concerning question: How do you protect the perimeter when said perimeter no longer exists? This is where cloud-native security – a term we at Cisco Umbrella use to describe cloud-delivered Security-as-a-Service, or SECaas – comes in. An integrated and unified cloud-native security solution moves protection to the points of access, securing devices, data, apps, and users regardless of where they’re working. It’s an approach to network security designed for a 21st-century workflow and dispersed workforce. And, for companies moving towards remote or hybrid work models, it just makes sense.
In our ebook Cloud Security Buyer’s Guide, we discuss what you should look for in a SECaaS vendor and the four critical components your cybersecurity solution should have. But if you’re still not sure how a cloud-based solution can enhance security for your remote employees, here are three benefits cloud-native security solutions offer:
1. Cloud-Native Security Solutions Are Effective Without a Solid Perimeter
Pandemic regulations may be loosening in some parts of the world, but the paradigm shift towards remote work is here to stay. In fact, Gartner predicts that 51% of global knowledge workers will work remotely full-time by the end of 2021.1 This trend, coupled with the rise of cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT), practically guarantees that your security team won’t see a widespread return to on-prem, perimeter-based security any time soon.
Luckily, cloud-native security doesn’t operate at the perimeter. Instead, it takes security to where it’s needed: users, devices, apps, and data. When your network security solution is cloud-native and cloud-delivered, you can rest easy knowing your security policies will be enforced regardless of where your employees are. Cloud-based cybersecurity also provides consistent and effective protection whether your workers are using the VPN, direct internet access, or mobile access.
Patrick Mulligan, CISO at Ford Motor Company, particularly appreciated the ability of the Cisco Umbrella cloud-native security solution to protect employees working from their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
2. Cloud-Native Cybersecurity Provides Visibility on Remote Worker App Use
Cloud applications are nothing new, but the shift to a widespread remote or hybrid work model has driven a rapid increase in their popularity. After all, cloud apps make accessing shared data, transferring files, and communicating with distant team members simple. So long as security teams know which apps are in use, they can take steps to ensure that accessing the cloud doesn’t lead to breaches or data loss. But if your employees aren’t in the office, how can your security team know for sure what apps are being used on company devices?
Shadow IT – the use of unsanctioned IT systems, devices, software, or apps – is a fact of life for most modern businesses. And with many employees working from home, adopting a new cloud collaboration tool or downloading a music streaming app is more likely to happen without security teams being informed. Unfortunately, these choices can pose serious risks to network security.
SECaaS solutions extend the visibility of security teams across an organization. By enabling SecOps to see how employees are using the internet, these solutions empower security professionals to monitor and control unsanctioned app use. For example, a team can use a cloud-based DNS-layer security solution to prevent employees from connecting to certain domains, thus preventing the use of risky social media apps or websites on company devices.
Claudio Bolla, Group Information Security Officer at INEOS Group, used Cisco Umbrella to secure both remote and in-person employees during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Using this cloud-native security solution, he also discovered the widespread use of an unsanctioned file sharing app amongst employees.
3. Cloud-Native Security Easily Scales With Your Organization as it Grows
One of the benefits of a fully remote or hybrid work model is the way it allows businesses to expand their workforce across the country or around the globe. For many organizations, this has prompted the expansion of the company network, both in regard to number of users and the geographic territory covered. This kind of rapid scaling would pose a challenge to security teams managing a predominantly on-prem security stack.
Cloud-native security solutions, on the other hand, were designed for seamless scalability. The SECaaS model allows your security team to dip into cloud-delivered resources as needed, scaling up when the team grows. And if you partner with a cloud security vendor that possesses a robust global infrastructure, you can ensure that your cloud-delivered network security solution causes minimal latency regardless of where your employees are located.
While most companies embracing a hybrid work model scale at an incremental, predictable rate, the COVID-19 pandemic forced Emerson Electric to scale from around 8,000 users to nearly 40,000 users very rapidly.
With Cloud-Based Cybersecurity, Protecting Remote Workers Couldn’t be Simpler
As you can see, cloud-native security solutions are uniquely suited to protecting organizations with remote workers. But how can you determine the best SECaaS vendor to partner with for your cybersecurity upgrade? Download our ebook Cloud Security Buyers Guide, which walks you through the four most important features to look for in a cloud solution!
Are you ready to see a cloud security service in action? Cisco Umbrella integrates a wide variety of security solutions into a single, easy-to-manage, cloud-delivered service.
1 Garnter, “Gartner Forecasts 51% of Global Knowledge Workers Will Be Remote By the End of 2021.” Laurence Goasduff, 2021.