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How Do You Protect Your Data in the Age of Hybrid Work?

How Do You Protect Your Data in the Age of Hybrid Work?

Blog Article Published: 08/07/2023

Written by Sundaram Lakshmanan, Chief Technology Officer, Lookout.

We live in an age where hybrid work and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs have become the norm. The result is that you’re tasked with protecting your data in an environment that’s far more complex than in the past.

With more of your apps and data residing in the cloud, the cybersecurity community has started generating buzz around a framework called security service edge, or SSE. I will be the first to say that the security industry is guilty of creating complicated frameworks that’s almost always reduced to some sort of an acronym. But if you look past the acronym, SSE is about consolidating your security products and providing more visibility and control with what’s happening with your data — something that’s especially critical when you’re thinking about securing a hybrid workforce.

Along the same line, zero trust, another industry buzzword, is actually a solid strategy to implement as you look to modernize your IT security. How you go about verifying trust is a whole other hurdle though. This is actually where SSE can come into play.

To transform your security strategy, start simple

The idea of adopting a brand new SSE platform or achieving universal zero trust across your organization's entire infrastructure is intimidating, but keeping things as the status quo isn't the answer. Instead, you can think about how your users are interacting with secure data and start to make incremental changes.

The immediate security problems your organization is facing sound relatively simple — give people access to what they need for work. The challenge is that the internet has become your default corporate network, and your users need access to resources on premises as well as in the cloud.

As you address these individual needs, think about how each individual problem — whether it’s the risks of a BYOD device or how users are handling data — affects the others. Acquiring a standalone product might fix a single issue, but it will likely neglect to address the broader challenge. It also builds silos that create gaps in your security posture. If the product you purchased for data loss prevention (DLP) doesn't talk to your tool for securing cloud apps, you’ll have very limited ability to protect your cloud data. That’s in addition to the fact that you own two separate tools that each require management resources. All in all, when you rely on standalone products, your organization simply isn’t as secure as it could be.

Think of the solution to each of your security needs as part of a larger puzzle, and to make sure that puzzle comes together seamlessly, you need products that work together to form a bigger picture.

The balance between security and productivity

As most organizations embrace work from anywhere, we're relying on cloud services and the internet to keep employees productive. Users can now access corporate resources from anywhere on any device, empowering them to get more done.

But there are risks associated with this digital transformation. Siloed legacy tools can't keep up, and as your data is moving between cloud services and endpoints, there are new opportunities for threat actors to gain access to your infrastructure. Not only do you have to worry about threats like targeted attacks and ransomware, but you also have to account for employees who might click on a phishing link using their personal phone, exposing corporate data.

Historically, to accommodate remote work, you had to sacrifice either security or productivity. But with everyone working remotely, you need a new strategy that can efficiently protect data without getting in the way of people's access. The best solution will give you complete coverage, from individual endpoints all the way into the cloud. Unlike point products designed to address a specific issue, an SSE platform ensures that your approach to security is holistic rather than piecemeal, and that gives your organization the best of both worlds: a productive workforce that’s also secure.

Say goodbye to siloed security

To achieve proactive security for your organization, you can forget about the acronyms and buzzwords. The main word you need to zero in on is “unified.”

Perimeter-based security tools are not able to effectively secure your sensitive data in a hybrid work environment. A platform approach, on the other hand, will eliminate the need for individual security tools and provide complete endpoint-to-cloud protection and visibility. By keeping an eye on users’ behavior, endpoints, and data access requests, you can grant dynamic, granular access that ensures users can get to what they need to do their work without putting data at risk.

With a unified solution you get insights and controls within a simplified management console rather than a disparate set of tools that create a drain on your IT resources. The flexibility and visibility that comes along with it will set your hybrid workforce up for success without sacrificing security.

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