Winning Cybersecurity Strategies Through Covid And Beyond – Business Quick Magazine

Winning Cybersecurity Strategies Through Covid And Beyond – Business Quick Magazine

By Ken Xie

In 2020, business decision makers were forced to pivot—nearly overnight—to new ways of running their organizations. Quarantining and social distancing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic required the adoption of work-from-home solutions, forcing networks operators and security teams to create new ways for employees and stakeholders to connect and communicate securely.

This wasn’t entirely unexpected – the growth of new edge environments, especially multi-cloud, and the growing reliance on distributed business applications made the transition to a mobile workforce inevitable. The pandemic accelerated these trends and because these changes happened so rapidly, the impact on organizations—from both a technology and business culture perspective—has been intense.

Part of the challenge is that many organizations did not have the security or networking solutions in place needed to support this change. As a result, networking and security workarounds were common. But as we move out of 2020, it is critical to recognize that stop-gap solutions that helped organizations stay in business last year won’t take them much farther in 2021.

Home is the New Branch

The accelerated transition to work-from-home resulted in the sudden convergence of networks, security, and connectivity. Each remote worker and home office became a new network edge. They required secure access not just back to the core network, but across the entire distributed environment—including to other workers and to applications and services distributed across multi-cloud environments—in order to connect, communicate, and perform their jobs. As a result, networks have become even more dynamic. They are constantly shifting and can no longer be managed or protected using the outdated, siloed approaches to networking and security most organizations have had in place.

Converging Security and Networking to Enable Any “Edge” at Any Scale

The continued expansion of the edge is the future of the network, and it is all about high-speed, proactivity, and predictive actions. And such an environment is impossible to secure using traditional security tools and strategies. To enable the business outcome and end-user experiences companies require to remain viable, network connectivity, security, and compute systems must all work together seamlessly. Weaving security into network functionality extends security across the networks, no matter where data or devices live. It is the only way to effectively close the gaps in functionality that are increasingly being exploited, and to restore visibility, automation, and control to the distributed network. Such convergence of infrastructure and security enables an organization to apply consistent security across any edge, making it a natural extension of the network and enabling all security elements to work together as single, integrated framework.

Security-driven networking—a strategy that converges networking and security across the connected environment—enables organizations to effectively see, defend, and adapt to today’s highly dynamic environments while preserving user experience for employees and customers. With consistent security seamlessly integrated into every edge, any person using any device can access any resource from any location. Networks can scale and adapt to digital innovations with ease. And they can do so at levels that the next generation of computing—including hyperscale, multi-cloud, 5G, and other fast-arriving trends—will demand.

Forward-thinking organizations have begun to invest in advanced technologies, such as software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) and secure access service edge (SASE) solutions to not just support their traditional branch offices, but to also enable the home office to function as the new branch edge. By strategically deploying security and networking as a converged solution, rather than as discrete elements, organizations are able to reduce complexity and overhead while enhancing flexibility and performance.

Find out how Fortinet’s Security Fabric platform delivers broad, integrated, and automated protection across an organization’s entire digital attack surface from IoT to the edge, network core and to multi-clouds. 

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