Cybersecurity for Hybrid Work Models: Protecting Your Perimeterless Network Environment

Brand Story — A Comcast Business Solution Architect breaks down how businesses can respond to new security risks.

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While hybrid work models bring many benefits for employers and employees, they also present significant cybersecurity challenges. Distributed application architecture, which is central to hybrid working, demands robust traffic flow protection. This perimeter-less environment is the new normal, from home users to cloud platforms to SaaS applications. To preserve performance, reliability and security within a perimeter-less environment, IT leaders are increasingly leveraging frameworks that integrate network security

We recently sat down with Sean Aviv from the Comcast Business solution architect team to learn more about the needs and challenges of business customers as they adjust to hybrid models. As a result of the shift, they are focused on reinforcing all threat vectors, including corporate infrastructure, cloud environments and home networks, without sacrificing user experience and application performance.

The shift to distributed workforces has introduced major cybersecurity demands. What are some of the more foundational shifts that businesses need to make to protect themselves from threats?

The increase in distributed workforce requirements—along with the increased adoption of cloud platforms, infrastructure-as-a-service, SaaS applications and IoT—requires a holistic approach to security. With hybrid work and a distributed application architecture, businesses must protect all traffic flows. Users, corporate data and business-critical assets can reside anywhere. As organizations look to optimize their security posture, they will shift towards software-defined networking (SDN), micro-segmentation and threat response automation technologies. Solutions like Comcast Business ActiveCoreSM can (1) streamline network threat monitoring and management, (2) help businesses secure their corporate data and (3) manage the attack surface through network segmentation.

What are you hearing from Comcast Business customers? What is their level of concern and how quickly are they making changes?

We are absolutely seeing an increased awareness of cyberthreats, such as ransomware, DDoS and software vulnerability concerns. Customers understand that with a distributed workforce and applications migrating to the cloud, they are more exposed to security risks and data breaches. At Comcast Business, we help customers safeguard their networks and data via high-performance and secure architectures, leveraging solutions such as ActiveCore Secure SD-WAN and carrier grade DDoS mitigation, among other managed services in our extensive portfolio. From a speed-to-market perspective, we are seeing certain industry verticals adopt advanced security technologies and threat response automation at a faster pace. Manufacturing & distribution, healthcare, financial services, retail, education and government are leading the charge.

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What key cybersecurity challenges remain for IT leaders?

Cyberthreats are continually evolving, becoming more sophisticated and more difficult to detect. A strong cybersecurity strategy is always on and relies on people, processes and technology. A key challenge is to deliver a complete security strategy that aligns with each organization’s specific business risks. The strategy must consist of the right security technologies, policies and procedures, ongoing security assessments, threat intelligence, and a threat detection and response strategy. The key is to take a proactive approach to cybersecurity and mitigate threats ahead of time instead of waiting for the attack to take place.

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Are there any challenges specific to supporting a more hybrid workforce?

A hybrid workforce requires organizations to look beyond the corporate network and identify cyber risks that exist in the home, such as Wi-Fi connections, personal devices (BYOD) and phishing attempts. These potential exploits can lead to a breach that impacts the whole organization, which is why a comprehensive approach to security is essential. This includes endpoint protection, MFA, access control and secure connectivity to the internet, corporate assets and cloud applications. These can be addressed by combining a strong VPN solution, secure SD-WAN platform, firewall-as-a-service or other technologies that align to the SASE framework to deliver a resilient and secure end-to-end solution.

As IT teams continue to adjust their cybersecurity policies, how can they set themselves up for success?

Planning ahead, IT decision makers need to rethink their approach to traditional networking and security practices, and consider a shift toward SDN technologies, zero-trust architectures, artificial intelligence and automation. The first step is to know the environment and understand risk. Organizations should have a clear view of all assets, corporate data, PII information, applications and systems, whether on the network, in the cloud or on a home user device. This requires the right tools, analytics and skillset.

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As businesses continue on their digital transformation journey, what are some key security policies that they need to consider?

We are in a new era of technology where the modern workforce is increasingly more mobile (i.e. hybrid workforce), applications are continuing to migrate to the cloud and more SaaS platforms are being utilized. All of this drives a demand for increased bandwidth at the business edge and the home. Organizations are looking for a more efficient, optimal and secure way to manage their traffic flows. Secure SD-WAN and XDR technologies are reshaping enterprises and are the next evolution in networking and security, delivering application level path selection, automation over a secure architecture and automated threat response. All of this requires an end-to-end security model that focuses on cybersecurity. It should feature high-performance internet breakout design that includes branch edge, cloud and endpoint security that ties back to intelligent automated platforms and analysts dedicated to threat detection, response and containment. 

Brand stories are paid content articles that allow Oregon Business advertisers to share news about their organizations and engage with readers on business and public policy issues.  The stories are produced in house by the Oregon Business marketing department. For more information, contact associate publisher Courtney Kutzman.