End of VPN and Establishment of SASE
After almost two years of working remotely, millions of knowledge workers will be adjusting to a new rhythm in 2022, routinely working both from home and in the office. This transition from pure teleworking to hybrid work offers companies the opportunity to create a stable foundation for their employees. By giving them the policies, tools, and leadership they need to minimize disruption, employees can take advantage of their new hybrid work environment safely and productively. Palo Alto Networks explains what this means for ensuring a secure IT environment.
Hybrid work becomes a permanent state
Even though it can be assumed that this change will be less dramatic than the one in the first months of 2020, IT and cybersecurity managers will have to do a lot of thinking to decide how best to support their hybrid employees in the long term. This post compiles some forecasts for this year based on recent conversations with business and IT executives.
After many deadlines for returning to the office have been postponed, this year more and more companies will formalize the introduction of the hybrid way of working on a permanent basis. This will put additional pressure on the security modernization initiatives, which for most companies had to lag behind network expansion during the pandemic. According to the State of Hybrid Workforce Security 2021 study, 61 percent of companies have difficulty ensuring the required remote security to support home workplaces. When employees are back in the office more and more, the pressure on the WAN will become even greater due to the increased use of collaboration tools and video, which will further increase the need for SD-WAN.
The End of Remote Access VPN
Out of necessity, many companies reacted to the pandemic by quickly expanding their existing VPN functions. However, VPN was never intended to be used on such a scale, and companies are now moving to SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) to provide scalable, secure access at the network edge.
Although this transition does not happen overnight, but in 2022, SASE, which provides secure remote access to applications and services based on defined access control policies, will be widely used. Companies that adopt this approach not only improve their scalability and usability, but also their security posture and align themselves better with the principles of zero Trust.
Office attendance in the age of hybrid work
While companies and employees determine what the new normal of hybrid working will look like, it is to be expected that the presence in the office will occur in waves that will ebb depending on local and national regulations, business requirements and employee preferences. According to Palo Alto Networks, this dynamic will challenge IT teams to provide consistent experiences and foster interest in new technologies such as digital experience monitoring. Consistency refers to the way users interact with different enterprise applications and access data and other services across all locations, i.e. home office, branch offices and corporate premises.
Resurgent consumers with high expectations
Despite the current wave of infections caused by the Omikron variant, the combination of pandemic fatigue and effective medical treatments will lead consumers to shop, eat, travel and experience more in 2022 than in the last two years. Businesses should be prepared to serve these customers and engage with them through digital and in-person experiences. The emphasis is on experiences, because expectations will be focused on improved, personalized and powerful experiences.
According to Palo Alto Networks, it is becoming increasingly important for IT managers to get a complete overview of the user experience journey across the entire network infrastructure – and at all points within a service delivery chain. It is also necessary to solve connectivity problems of the users independently. Autonomous Digital Experience Management (ADEM) is an emerging technology that can help companies meet increased customer expectations.
Securing Home Environments Critical to network security
Now that hybrid work has become normal, the home network is in many ways the weakest link for attackers in an enterprise. At home, work is more likely to be done from personal devices and accounts, which provides soft targets that operate out of sight of the security team. In 2022, the home office will become a place where the company and its employees are jointly responsible for cybersecurity.
SASE is the architecture for the hybrid working world
According to Palo Alto Networks, there is currently a unique opportunity to design the networks in a targeted manner so that they are as flexible and scalable as companies need. Security is now to be understood as something integrated and not as something screwed on. This allows the user to be the center of attention, which creates countless opportunities and makes the future of work possible. SASE can help companies successfully navigate the transition to hybrid working in 2022 and beyond.