Remote Employees? You Need SASE to Protect Your Assets.

Why a SASE Solution Is More Critical Than Ever

Long gone are the days of employees sitting behind a desktop computer, hardwired to your company’s network, safe and for the most part, secure. Smartphones, laptops and other mobile devices have now become ubiquitous and your employees are using them to check their work emails or download third-party, cloud-based apps to manage projects and schedules.

This leaves your network, sensitive company data, private customer data, even an employee’s personal data vulnerable to cybersecurity threats such as phishing attacks, spyware, viruses, fake public Wi-Fi networks, the list goes on.

Enter the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, it’s not just a few employees getting caught up using their smartphone or your sales team connecting via VPN to work from the field. In fact, according to a study by Clutch, 66% of employees in the U.S. are now working remotely due to the pandemic and 44% are doing so 5 or more days a week. Prior to the crisis, that figure was just 17%.

Of course, even before the pandemic, it was clear that the need for a VPN was on the decline. Still a necessary tool, but one that was quickly being eclipsed by applications and workloads migrating to the cloud. The pandemic only amplified the need to pivot, sooner rather than later, in order to provide a comprehensive, fully integrated network security solution.

Taking a Closer Look at Enterprise Infrastructure

Previously, the majority of corporate employees typically worked from a company office with company sponsored equipment. Corporate back-end systems were hosted from an on-premises IT closet, or from a local colocation data center. Connectivity was simple—internet delivered from a local ISP to the office, private links to branch offices, or other assets. Security provided by perimeter firewalls located centrally at the HQ or at each branch location. The few remote workers, would leverage a VPN client to “dial in” and leverage office systems. As far as IT management was concerned, these networks/equipment were deemed secure.

Now, there’s been a massive increase in employee-owned devices, SaaS and other cloud-based applications, and due to the pandemic, a larger ratio of employees working from home. All of this no longer runs through your WAN, meaning control and visibility are out of your hands. Zoom meetings, third-party CRMs and mobile apps create layers of complexity, often leaving your business at their mercy to perform as expected. And issues can lead to business interruptions, even revenue loss.

Enter the Software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) which intelligently manages and connects users across both cloud-based and data center applications, MPLS, broadband internet, even LTE for employees working from a mobile device. While this better accommodates the needs of today’s businesses and a remote workforce, security can be an afterthought and often comes in the form of a bolt-on product that’s tough to manage and provides mediocre protection.

The solution? Implementing Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) to complement your SD-WAN, as well as simplify and streamline your IT infrastructure. This solution moves the traditional IT security “edge” from a centralized approach to a distributed model that is closer to the end user. It provides your company with flexibility, cost savings, improved performance and reliability, data protection and more.

The Architecture of a SASE Solution

A SASE solution is a comprehensive model that encompasses your current SD-WAN, virtual private network (VPN) and Zero Trust network access (ZTNA) principles, then bolsters them across all cloud-based apps and services with a curated combination of security measures:

  • Threat Prevention – Provides oversight of all known threats (such as malware), using an integration of products and services.
  • Secure Web Gateway – Prevents employees from visiting websites, whether malicious or simply prohibited by your company.
  • Firewall as a Service (FWaaS) – Enables greater control by delivering traditional, on-site company network protection via the cloud.
  • Domain Name Security (DNS) Security – Provides your mobile and remote employees access the internet securely and safeguards against attacks.
  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP) – Embedded and cloud-delivered, DLP allows you to monitor and protect company, client and employee data.
  • Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) – Enforces security measures by being the gatekeeper between cloud services and employees using them.

Of course, the true challenge is putting all of these pieces together into one cohesive solution that’s simple to manage and covers all the SASE bases. There are numerous providers and products out there, but it can be tough finding the right ones for your specific needs today and down the road—whether your post-pandemic plan is to bring employees back into an office setting, continue with the remote working model, or some hybrid of both.

NFINIT can help. We can bundle together partner solutions to deliver SASE as part of our business continuity ecosystem, providing total peace of mind.

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