researchHQ’s Key Takeaways:
- Over the coming months, remote access trends will evolve to focus on ensuring employee wellbeing while keeping them secure, connected and productive.
- As companies rush to adopt the cloud, they will require new systems and strategies to secure access across cloud deployments.
- The growth of remote works will raise the demand to secure an expanding number of portable devices.
- Demand for contextual authentication will grow in response to the need to secure distributed endpoints.
- While 5G will enable remote work, it will also introduce new security considerations for organisations to address.
Remote Access trends
This time last year, we didn’t see widespread, mandated ‘work from home’ in the tea leaves. But we have always been focused on keeping employees protected, connected, and productive outside the office. Now, we can only predict how the remote access trends that emerged in 2020 will evolve over time as businesses place more emphasis on looking after their employees’ health while keeping them securely connected and productive.
1. Organizations will face the security implications of cloud adoption
COVID-19 forced companies to accelerate digital transformation efforts and cloud adoption. According to Gartner, by 2022, up to 60% of organizations will use an external service provider’s cloud-managed service offering, which is double the percentage of organizations from 2018.
Decentralized IT is becoming the norm with data and services now being spread across a hybrid environment consisting of on-premises infrastructure, private and public cloud software deployments, and SaaS applications.
However, this hybrid multi-cloud environment is placing strain on security teams that have to deal with the repercussions of having data in so many different places. Legacy access and security tools are not built for the cloud; and many organizations are starting to recognize the security risks of having data and applications directly accessible to anyone on the Internet. Research found that 27% of the US FT 500 companies have at least one external cloud storage accessible without any authentication from the Internet.
We predict companies might pump the breaks a little on cloud migration projects as they refocus on refining their end-to-end security strategies. Connecting workers to distributed workloads is the easy part; protecting business applications and intellectual property in a decentralized, hybrid, and multi-cloud environment is where we expect to see security leaders focused in the coming year.
Every company has its own considerations and constraints when it comes to the cloud. IT will need to consider the implications for security, latency, availability, data location, etc.
2. Remote work will increase the number of portable devices that need to be protected
Over the past decade, people began consuming more and more internet data on their smartphones. The same applies to work-related data, with the rise of mobile SaaS applications, including productivity suites like Microsoft Office 365 and CRM tools like Salesforce. In a typical organization today, 60% of devices containing or accessing enterprise data are mobile.
The productivity benefits of smartphones and tablets have been widely embraced by the enterprise. Sometimes they are often provisioned and managed by the organization but often, personal unmanaged devices are used.
Before 2020, mobile work was largely about people on the road staying connected from a smartphone, now it’s about people who are working out of their house or vacation home.
So we expect to see a shift towards small, ultra-portable form factors with people increasingly working on a convertible device with a full keyboard, or a large screen tablet they already owned at home. We also expect people will rely on a cellular signal to connect when home Wi-Fi bandwidth is stretched thin. They’ll lean on Jetpacks, mobile hotspots, and MiFis so they have multiple network options to support their multiple device options. This means more mobile endpoints for IT to protect.
According to Verizon, 87% of enterprises are seeing mobile threats growing the fastest this year, outpacing other threat types. While the majority of organizations have embraced BYOD policies, the vast majority (94%) said BYOD has increased mobile security risks.
The remote working trend is likely to extend well beyond a successful COVID-19 vaccine. So IT needs to establish modern security that fits the needs of a broad array of managed and unmanaged devices and networks. Be sure to look for a security solution that has capability both on the device and in the network and can provide flexible security policies that suit every use case.
3. Legacy security technology like VPN will make way for cloud-based secure access
When COVID-19 forced employees out of the office and into their homes, there simply was not the supply chain in place for IT teams to get secure devices and connectivity to people in their homes. In an effort to stand-up remote operations quickly, organizations looked to legacy security architectures like VPNs and VDIs as the silver bullet for secure remote access. However, the reality of VPN has got IT looking back to the drawing board.
Not only do VPNs introduce latency, break native application experiences, and generally kill productivity, they add management overhead and grant excessive access to sensitive resources.