Since the onset of the pandemic, organizations have increasingly transitioned to a remote or hybrid workplace model, and this trend is on track to continue as we look ahead to alternative work environments becoming a norm in a post-pandemic world. And yet, a lack of awareness surrounding how to transition to hybrid work still remains among many Canadian organizations.
To dive into this a little deeper, CDW commissioned a survey in partnership with Angus Reid to analyze the sentiment of IT security and risk compliance professionals with respect to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on business and the future of work, during and beyond the pandemic. The findings offered valuable insight into the threat landscape in cybersecurity and the vulnerabilities that organizations face in today’s increasingly digital world. This is especially important as we look to what the future hybrid workplace may look like not only in Canada, but worldwide.
Hybrid work technology? Canadians aren’t loving it…
According to our survey, only 51 percent of working Canadians say their experiences with workplace technology and connectivity since the transition to hybrid or remote work have been positive. Additionally, only 48 percent of working Canadians feel their organization adequately prepared employees with the security tools and processes needed to work remotely. This indicates that while the cybersecurity conversation may have increased over the last 18 months, there is still work to be done to ensure a safe and sustainable cybersecurity posture among many organizations.
The data also found that innovation continues to drive new approaches, tools and technologies in the evolving Canadian cybersecurity landscape. In order to create more positive experiences as organizations continue to transition to a hybrid workplace model, it’s vital to be prepared with the proper security tools. These include:
1. Application modernization tools
One of the most significant changes to organizations’ IT infrastructure is the migration from traditional platforms to the cloud. Implementing cloud or hybrid cloud technologies is one of the most effective ways to ensure data remains secure – but to do so effectively, organizations need application modernization tools.
Modernizing applications with containers, micro-innovation and cloud-native services can help organizations innovate faster and more efficiently. Using containers to wrap existing applications provides access to resources, such as storage, straight from the application. With micro-innovation and cloud-native services, organizations can properly capitalize on the scalability and flexibility potential of the cloud.
2. Cloud security posture management (CSPM)
CSPM tools are designed to identify misconfiguration issues and compliance risks in the cloud. These tools offer increased visibility to an organization’s public cloud security posture to ensure compliance and monitor for real-time threats.
CSPM tools work by examining and comparing a cloud environment against a defined set of security risks and best practices, alerting the organization when there is a need to correct a security risk and, at times, correcting the issue automatically.
3. Secure access service edge (SASE)
SASE combines network security functions like cloud access security brokers (CASB) and secure web gateways (SWG) with software-defined networking. In a wide area network, SD-WAN capabilities can also be leveraged to support the dynamic and secure access needs of Canadian organizations.
SASE brings together networking and security while supporting a distributed workforce, something that is increasingly needed in the hybrid workplace model. SASE tools identify users and devices, apply additional levels of security and deliver secure access to the appropriate and desired application or data.
4. Zero-trust architecture
Zero-trust architecture is a security solution that requires users and devices to prove their identities and trustworthiness before accessing an organization’s network. The tool works to protect the three core components of an organization’s IT environment – workforce, workloads and workplace – preventing unauthorized access and containing breaches.
When used to protect the cloud, zero-trust architecture takes cloud security one step further by enabling network security tools to transition away from the private data centre to the public cloud, safely and securely. Organizations that adopt zero-trust architecture experience fewer data breaches once their data has successfully migrated.
5. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)
AI and ML are relatively new tools but have transformed how cyberthreats are identified and prevented. With the escalating risks and sophistication of cyberattacks, AI and ML based tools have emerged to help reduce breach risks and improve security posture. These tools work by detecting threats that are too complex for humans alone to identify and proceed to mitigate damages almost instantaneously.
As working with AI and ML tools becomes more engrained in long-term organizational strategies and everyday operations, organizations can run on increasingly larger scales. In addition, organizations can leverage AI and ML for multiple applications, which is vital in a hybrid workplace model.
Transitioning to a hybrid workplace model requires the proper security tools to effectively protect your organization from cyberthreats, and getting started can be intimidating. According to our study, 34 percent of working Canadians have not found that a remote or hybrid work environment has made them more aware of the importance of cybersecurity and many still don’t know where to start.
No single cybersecurity company provides a solution for all five of the tools mentioned here. That’s why the importance of a zero-trust architecture is paramount as security perimeters continue to erode. The zero-trust model represents a way to truly minimize threats, as presented in Sophos’ compelling whitepaper, Demystifying Zero Trust. Architecting a zero-trust network, creating zero-trust policies and monitoring and maintaining your perimeters are important steps to help secure your hybrid or remote workforce.
Strengthening an organization’s cybersecurity often requires a level of expertise that not many organizations have the capacity to manage. Partnering with experts that can help your organization keep your IT environment safe and secure is key, and CDW is here to help.
To learn more about cybersecurity and CDW’s security solutions, please visit cdw.ca/security.