Securing Access for Hybrid Workers

A lot of us have ended up as hybrid workers, spending some of the working week in the office and the rest of our time split between working from home, a third party’s office or on-the-go. Each day, regardless of where we are, we connect to corporate services to do our jobs. Some of those services will be hosted in data centres, some in clouds and the rest via the internet.  

As we roam across the country, we have forced our organisations to open themselves up so that we can access corporate services from anywhere. This has created two new challenges – how do we protect workers outside of the office environment and how to we protect the organisation from letting bad actors access corporate services. 

The solution to these is to have a Secure Access approach. I’m calling it this because there are multiple terms banded around that can apply here such as Secure Access Service Edge, or SASE (pronounced “sassy”), Secure Service Edge (SSE) and Zero Trust to name a few. These are all various components of the same outcome – making sure hybrid workers and the organisation are protected as we transform our working patterns away from office-based 9-to-5 towards working from the most appropriate location at the appropriate time to perform our roles. 

The basics of Secure Access are pretty straightforward - users will be connecting to a variety of services during their working day, so we need to ensure that they are protected while doing so. These connections could be to: 

  • Access private apps and data in a data centre  
  • Access SaaS and apps and data in a cloud 
  • Access internet and web services  

So what’s wrong with the traditional VPN approach?  

The key issue with using a VPN is that the path for all connections goes via the data centre, typically leading to a poorer experience using SaaS and cloud-based apps or when accessing the internet. VPNs are also one of the most targeted technologies for exploits, requiring in-house or outsource resources to continuously maintain and patch them, which comes at an additional cost. 

What’s different about Secure Access solutions? 

The first difference with Secure Access solutions is that they are cloud-based, so the services are evergreen and maintained by the provider, cutting operational costs and reducing the risk from exploits. 

Second, they contain multiple components, to allow direct connection to all types of services: 

  • Secure access to the data centre via a Zero Trust solution 
  • Secure access to SaaS and cloud-based apps and data via a Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) 
  • Secure access to the internet and web via a Secure Web Gateway (SWG) 

Some other components are commonly included too, such as Cloud Firewall as a service (FWaaS) for cyberthreat prevention and Data Loss Prevention (DLP) to prevent sensitive data leaving the organisation. 

Together these are the components of a Secure Access solution that enables employees to work from anywhere, safe in the knowledge that all their connections are performant, secured and protected in real time. Organisations have the confidence that their policies are letting the right end users in and keeping all others out.  

If you’re looking at how to secure access for your hybrid workforce or how to modernise your current VPN solution, then why not get in touch with us at Logicalis and lets have a chat about it.