The demand for remote work has only grown since the serious transition began almost three years ago. Organizations have seen the benefits of working remotely, but have also been transitioning into a hybrid work environment, in which employees are allowed to work both from home and in the office, and can choose the days they want to collaborate in person. Several companies have seen success in this hybrid work environment and have been testing this new way of working since the fall of 2022. The transition to a hybrid workforce has meant that security teams are on high alert since they now have to not only protect the internal office network, but also secure connectivity from the countless locations their users are connecting from. The looming fear of recession and more outbreaks has IT leaders considering robust solutions to protect their hybrid workforce long-term. Here are some predictions about the security of your hybrid workforce in the coming year.
The return to office will demand better access
Hybrid work is here to stay. I know that it’s been said many times, but it's true. While this is the reality of the foreseeable future, employees are demanding a better user experience while doing their work from the office and remote locations. During the sudden switch to remote work, IT leaders turned to VPNs as an easy way to fix the problem short term, but given the current scenario of a long-term hybrid workforce, this strategy needs to be reconsidered, and zero trust is a more reliable and scalable solution. Having tested zero trust for remote employees, we fully expect zero trust to be applicable universally for both remote and in-office users.
Ransomware and multifaceted extortion will continue to grow
With the increase in connectivity, there is a growing attack surface. The number of vulnerabilities exposed has increased, and so has the risk. Hybrid work will increase the adoption of BYOD in 2023, and with added devices, we’ll see the general attack surface expand with the potential for serious impact. Over the last couple of years, we have seen several cases of ransomware being introduced to company networks due to exploited VPN servers. These cases will continue to make headlines in 2023. There needs to be additional emphasis on security in the work-from-anywhere world, and a fundamental change to how security teams look at securing the perimeter and resources.
The final nail in the VPN coffin
VPN is now old news. Traditional networks, VPNs, and DMZs use IP addresses and network locations to establish network connectivity for users. This type of architecture was built more than 30 years ago to provide users access to applications in the data center, not to modern cloud-based applications. In addition, VPNs are being used as a conduit for cyberattacks due to legacy architecture, and there is a need for continuous assessment to manage appliances. Due to their slow connectivity, users are complaining about them hampering their productivity. What users are looking for is seamless, scalable, and secure access to applications in the data center or in a public cloud without needing a VPN.
Security is now a shared responsibility
Networking and IT leaders have had to adopt new technologies and infrastructure to match the modern way of work. News surrounding security exploits in the recent past has forced increased attention to cyber risks. Businesses globally are finding themselves increasingly exposed, placing security teams under immense pressure. Security is now vital and will be a shared responsibility that spans from individuals to IT, supply chains, and the C-suite. 2023 will see an increase in the adoption of zero trust for the hybrid workforce to provide full security from the users to the applications, no matter where they connect.
Cloud security solutions will be at the forefront
Protecting users, data, and applications has become an integral part of providing a secure hybrid work environment. We predict cloud security to be the main solution provider as the appliances business and hardware security solutions slowly fade away. Organizations will also look for platforms that offer a broader solution set to ensure they are secure to rationalize their investment. Security Service Edge (SSE) is quickly becoming a reliable solution relating to remote work, the cloud, secure edge computing, and digital transformation. Delivered as a unified cloud-centric platform, SSE enables organizations to break free from the challenges of traditional network security. Learn more here.
Interested to learn more about securing your organization's hybrid workforce in 2023? Click here for Zscaler’s perspectives. This blog is part of a series of blogs that look ahead to what 2023 will bring for key areas that organizations like yours will face. The next blog in this series covers Zero Trust predictions for 2023.