secure access

Author: Syed Ali, Senior Solution Architect

Today’s organizations are facing unprecedented security challenges. Nearly one year after the COVID-19 pandemic forced organizations around the world to modify their operations, remote work has become the norm and will likely remain prevalent to varying degrees in the future. This reality has expanded organizations’ perimeters from being office-centric to location agnostic, simultaneously introducing new vulnerabilities and security concerns that come with an expanded threat landscape.

According to Cisco, 81 percent of data breaches involve compromised credentials. It’s more critical than ever for Canadian organizations to understand the impact remote access has on network security and ensure that proper controls are in place to mitigate avoidable risks.

Security implications of remote access

While the remote work dynamic has benefits for employers and employees, a dispersed workforce signing on to work-based programs creates a complex environment that can be daunting to defend. As our remote work and personal lives have blended to largely being on one remote network, the unique access and security considerations have increased IT teams’ workloads to ensure network resiliency now and into the future. Additionally, bad actors are keenly aware of the vulnerabilities that today’s organizations face and understand that for far too many, a comprehensive security strategy often falls behind network expansion. In navigating remote working models, organizations need to realize that future-proofing IT infrastructure is essential for long-term business success.

Minimizing risk and building resilience

Ensuring modern enterprises have built-in resiliency is key to not only returning to a trusted state as quickly and with as minimal disruption as possible after a security threat, but also to thriving in the pandemic and beyond. To address the scale and scope of digital transformation as remote work continues, Zero Trust architecture has become an industry standard and a key differentiator for business continuity and risk minimization.

This approach takes on a “trust no one, trust nothing” attitude regarding network access, which means that every entity is assumed to be a security threat until they prove themselves otherwise and must continuously demonstrate this through repeated authentications.

An integral aspect of implementing Zero trust network access is Network Access Control (NAC). NAC tools can see and identify everything connected to a network, as well as control these devices and users ensuring compliance for all devices connecting to networks before corporate network resources are accessible. Considering the exponential growth of remote access, it is necessary to have the right tools that provide network visibility, control and compliance capabilities to strengthen security infrastructure.

The Gamechanger: Remote access solutions from Cisco and CDW

To contend with today’s complex security challenges, organizations need integrated solutions such as the all-in-one Cisco Secure Remote Worker Solution. This is a simple, yet unified solution that delivers the strength and breadth of the Cisco platform’s Duo, AnyConnect, Umbrella, Cloud Mailbox Defense, and AMP for Endpoints to enable secure remote access and protect remote workers. For more information on these platforms:

  • Duo: Verifies the identity of all users before granting access to corporate applications.
  • AnyConnect: Enables secure access to the enterprise network for any user, from any device, at any time, in any location.
  • Umbrella: Provides the first line of defense against threats on the internet wherever users go.
  • Cloud Mailbox Defense: Augments native Microsoft 365 security and provides complete visibility to inbound, outbound, and internal user-to-user messages.
  • AMP for Endpoints: Provides the last line of defense, enabling protection, detection and response on the endpoint against known and unknown threats.

At CDW, we offer the best-in-class services and solutions to help our customers achieve their digital transformation goals. We recently achieved our second Cisco Master Specialization, which is in addition to the Master Security Specialization we already held and a key differentiator in the Canadian market, recognizing us as having the highest capabilities in Cisco security technologies and architectures. As a Canadian services provider, the combination of our deep expertise and understanding of the unique challenges facing Canadian organizations allows us to design innovative solutions from the ground up based on your unique business objectives.

If you’re interested in learning more about how remote network access solutions can deliver broad and integrated protection for your organization, visit cdw.ca/cisco or call 888.439.2392.

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