Data is virtually everywhere, and computing devices, whether stationary or on the move, are accessing external circuits, servers, websites and portals. From an enterprise standpoint, network IT teams must be able to support employee business access needs, and protect employees, their devices, and the network from cyberattack. Anyone using digital computing devices subscribes to sources of interest, consumes outside network or app services, accesses and shares sensitive data, some of which is stored or provided from the cloud. For network IT staff, this network expansion requires management, and IT departments must ensure the growing bandwidth use doesn’t cost them, and that the software utilized on the network is safe.
These multicloud/hybrid connections are occurring at your network’s edge, posing both opportunity and risk.
Multicloud Access: Opportunity or Risk?
Multicloud access is increasingly attractive because signals no longer have to be beamed back into the data center for network handshake authorization. Application workloads can be run in a multicloud environment that doesn’t require the organization to move data — rather, users can access the data locally over secure, low-latency connectivity. This can minimize the risks of data loss and theft, while the local access and storage via clouds can satisfy the majority of geopolitical data privacy laws.
The risk in this bold strategic transformation is your attack surface gets bigger. Just because you use a cloud platform provider doesn’t mean you’re no longer vulnerable to breaches or no longer responsible for network and data security and privacy. Cloud server to cloud server protection isn’t complete network cybersecurity. It isn’t foolproof or impregnable coverage for your organization’s wandering endpoints, where a lot of data is being kept on devices and can be vulnerable.
Workstations and mobile computing devices are largely under-protected and represent a wandering flock, sometimes passing through windows of exposure, as they connect far and wide. Laptops, desktops and other portables are coated with mainstream antivirus programs and status scans, but hackers and malware are nevertheless getting in at the endpoint and attempting to spread. They are getting better at luring humans into their web. From a cybersecurity perspective, these growing connections at the private network edge, whether trusted or not, must continuously be added to firewall and VPN policies and memory logs. These appliances are getting increasingly costly to manage and refresh, and are often bypassed during “in the cloud” traffic migrations.
So, James from the sales department just opened an email from the CFO detailing a new company reorganization. (Little does James realize but the transmission is not from the CFO but an ersatz CFO, aka, a clever hacker.) Curiosity kicks in and James, while feeling secure after confirming the sender’s email address, opens the attachment on his laptop.
Boom! James clicks on the spoofing/phishing attack and malware compromises the data he’s collected and his network endpoint, exfiltrating sensitive data, without him or the IT department even knowing about it. Sometimes a breach at one or two network endpoints is sufficient to launch massive infiltration attacks such as zero day and ransomware.
Cities and organizations of all sizes have been hacked and ransomed. As you move to cloud environments, you still need to protect your branch offices and portable workstations, so you continue to try and inspect all traffic internally before sharing it with recipients. Direct access connections to the cloud can be slowed and made unnecessarily cost prohibitive by having to backhaul traffic around to your static network and security enforcement equipment. Business user expectations and overall quality of experience can suffer during this traffic hair-pinning, and there are remote out-of-the-cloud access fees for your company to pay. Can’t we just trust the Internet traffic and payload traversing private network endpoints, whether through the cloud or over any foundational network infrastructure such as Wi-Fi or VPN?
Some say, “Yeah, but my organization is ‘All in the Cloud,’ I don’t have to worry about workstation or internal data center security anymore…” Not so fast. It is crucial at this transitional point to remember the human element, the various points of endpoint access and how you protect these individuals, your workforce and the private network and business ecosystem.
Multicloud Access Security Demands a Secure Access Service Edge
An OPAQ white paper explains how organizations and managed security service providers can:
- 1) Secure Internet access and gateways, and separate these from cloud and private data repositories, as part of a holistic hybrid and multicloud access security strategy.
- 2) Rapidly implement consistent, centralized network security policy across the private network, and to and from cloud and Internet access points. (Network security from the cloud enables organizations to quickly deploy router, firewalls and VPN functionality where needed across hybrid, distributed environments.)
- 3) Bolster vulnerable endpoints, particularly those endpoint devices in motion… which often expose themselves to untrusted hosted networks. Embrace identity as the new perimeter via strong identity and access management and always-on workstation protection.
- 4) Extend your security perimeter out to the WAN without boundaries, and orchestrate security and network segmentation rapidly through high-performant zero-trust network- and security-as-a-service.
Whether your IT organization is cloud-friendly or not, consumption of services from the cloud is happening, and private network administrators are being tested to provide access while ensuring security on those and budding Web connection points.
OPAQ provides the encryption, authentication, segmentation, and always-on end-user protection growing companies need out at the edges of the network.
Learn more about OPAQ networking and security from the cloud.