Remote secure working, a challenge for IT sector

Prateek Garg, Founder and CEO, Progressive Infotech

By Prateek Garg

It has been more than a year since the Covid outbreak, which completely changed how we live, collaborate, and even work. One thing it taught us is, office work can be done remotely as well, outside of the four walls of an office. And not only it helps us spend more time with family, but also makes us more productive, where according to ‘The Work Survey’, around 64% C Suite executives & 52% employees in India saw how effective remote work model could be, as several DoT mandated guidelines were relaxed by the government to allow companies continue with the same working model. In the 2020 job market, a historic shift was witnessed due to the Covid outbreak, where the perk of remote work has become a norm for most of the businesses.

According to a survey, 70% of the employees will be working at least 5 days in a month from home by 2025. In 2021, the percentage of remote workers is anticipated to double, as per a survey from ETR (Enterprise Technology Research). According to a Gartner CFO survey, more than two thirds may shift employees to remote work permanently, after the crisis comes to an end. Top tech companies are likely to follow the same path, as Twitter told its employees that they could work from home indefinitely. Along with it, Mark Zuckerberg also told its employees that Facebook will plan to keep the staff remote in 2021.

Not only top tech companies, but Indian government sectors are also considering to redesign the work model, where, with the deep focus on compliance & security, the BFSI sector is considering to opt for the remote model of work for a long term. India’s largest bank, State Bank of India is framing remote work policies, and Bank of Baroda is also likely to shift half of its employees to remote working in the next five years. However, as the numbers of remote workers are rising, the difficulties of the IT sector are also rising, as this remote work model is sure to create such IT architecture which is highly distributed and shall prove it difficult to secure and manage. And as we are already heading towards the vaccination drive of the virus, the question remains the same about the future of the workplace industry amid the cyber attacks.

Shockingly the number of cyber attacks saw a jump to 100% across some organizations as they switch to remote work models. For example, the VPN cannot secure remote networks or prevent cyber criminals from exploiting the unsecured home networks, as it is an outdated security measure, that is where remote secure working solutions with the integration of security measures into every layer offer a distinct advantage. The zero-trust security strategy is the most essential part of the security arsenal of a digital workspace, as the traditional security architectures include a huge parameter, around which everything is trusted.

The IT sector has been refocusing on the value of operational tools, & cloud delivered security, that does not need a Local Area Network (LAN) connection in order to review the remote access policy & tools, function, transferring to cloud data centers, Software-As-A-Service (SaaS) applications, and to secure the new digitization efforts for minimizing the one-to-one interactions while ensuring the safety of the enterprise. Even with the IT sector taking advantage of the remote work model, digital technologies, the cyber criminals are easily targeting multiple points, where to ensure the corporate assets are safe, the security experts are struggling.

There is going to be a massive need for learning some new skill sets and also retaining once the pandemic is over, as Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Automation have emerged as the most valuable assets for business.

IT sector to ensure safety and put a stop in these attacks, is identifying the way cyber criminals make entry into the high value systems, where at times, the root cause for such attacks is the lateral movement, a technique which cyber criminals use very often for penetrating deeper inside a breached network, to gain access over high value assets, and extract the sensitive information. The legitimate can be impersonated by the cyber criminals by the means of phishing emails, or by the use of other TTPs for compromising a network node, and move through the network.

However, for enabling the uninterrupted business operation, the accelerated digital transformation has given way to new structural challenges & risks, which has made it quite difficult for securing the parameter which is constantly changing. And on the other hand, as the cyber criminals rapidly concentrated all efforts on a selective attack type, designed to exploit the system, now they are becoming persuasive by specifically targeting the enterprises, demanding ransom, which has led to denial of service attacks, and an exponential growth of social engineering.

Remote working along with the shift to digitization has pushed business into a radically new cyber risk profile in a very short time. The organizations are likely to continue prioritizing the short term spending on cover increased activity security, which shall result in a higher spending on pay per megabyte & pay per seat licenses, and cause the companies to shift funds to outsourced services from in-house systems. The measures taken by organizations for maintaining the continuity of business and protecting remote workers is anticipated to have ramifications for the cyber security providers over next one year. Limited interaction with the non essential visitors, and the plans for permanent remote work phased reopening is yet to boost interest in cyber security services and products. In the big picture, it might be challenging to avoid the cyber security threats in the times coming, however smart approaches with strict measures shall help to prevent the risk, and save many organizations from being the cyber attack victim.

(The author is CEO & Founder of Progressive Infotech)



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