Rethinking Endpoint Security in a Work-from-Home World
The near-overnight shift to remote work models created a perfect storm of security challenges. Employees were suddenly working outside the secure perimeter, and IT teams were focused on providing connectivity to corporate applications and data. Even organizations that already had a distributed workforce had to quickly scale up their remote access infrastructure.
Security was put on the back burner as IT did whatever was needed to keep the business up and running. IT teams were forced to be flexible and make tradeoffs when security affected productivity.
Freed from the confines of the corporate office, employees also took shortcuts, often sacrificing security best practices just to get the job done. Additionally, many workers began using their personal PCs, laptops and tablets for work. Organizations that normally distributed computing devices to remote workers were unable to do so due to shortages and supply chain disruptions.
As remote work continues, organizations are taking a step back and rethinking their endpoint security strategies. The centralized security model is no longer enough, so organizations must find ways to protect a diverse array of devices across a geographically dispersed workforce.
The VPN Challenge
Traditional perimeter defenses, including firewalls, intrusion prevention systems and web content filtering, remain a vital part of any cybersecurity strategy. However, these controls cannot easily be extended to users working remotely. That’s why many organizations have implemented virtual private networks (VPNs). VPNs route traffic to the corporate data center in an encrypted tunnel that’s protected from the Internet.
This approach has serious downsides. VPNs can be expensive to implement, and configuration, management and support put a strain on in-house IT teams. Some VPNs require the installation of a software agent on end-user devices, which can be difficult when workers are using their personal devices.
The shift to remote work models created a perfect storm of security challenges.
Backhauling traffic to headquarters is inefficient, creating latency that slows application response. Worse, VPNs can actually increase security threats — the National Security Agency has warned that improperly secured VPNs have been the target of cyberattacks.
VPNs also create another headache for remote workers who must log into the VPN before they can access the resources they need. Latency and complexity hinder collaboration and impede workflows. Many workers will simply circumvent VPNs by using free file-sharing platforms and “shadow IT” applications.
What’s more, VPNs are not a complete solution. The personal devices remote workers use to connect to the network frequently lack the most basic security measures. In addition to spreading malware, cybercriminals can steal VPN credentials from improperly secured devices.
GDS End-User Security Service
The GDS End-User Security Service closes these gaps with a three-pronged approach to endpoint security. It starts with prevention — GDS continuously monitors all endpoint devices in your environment to identify patterns and anomalies that could point to malicious behavior. It also blocks malicious content without the complexity of secure web gateways.
If malware is detected, the GDS solution automatically remediates the threat and effectively blocks any connections to the attacker’s command-and-control servers. Rich contextual information enables IT teams to pinpoint the origin of the attack, determine how many devices are infected and prioritize response activities.
All of this takes place in the cloud, so there is no hardware to install or software to update. The solution can be deployed quickly across all devices in your environment, including those that are employee-owned, and integrated with other security tools.
Remote work is likely here to stay, so organizations need to up their game with regard to endpoint security. The GDS End-User Security Service overcomes the limitations of legacy solutions and provides complete protection for remote and mobile users.
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