Apr 01 2021

Cisco Live 2021: Why a Hybrid Workforce Will Demand New Security Measures

As companies shift from all-remote to hybrid workforces, they’ll continue to adjust security protocols to meet the times.

IT leaders spent much of 2020 adjusting to the sudden need turn their workforces remote, making working from home a top issue for IT leaders last year, according to CDW’s Sheena Vojta. But this year and beyond, many workers will split time between home and the office, while others could return to the office full time.

Vojta, a collaboration solutions manager for CDW, spoke at Cisco Live 2021, Cisco Solutions’ annual digital user conference.

Vojta suggested that companies consider how they will be working in the long term. “Is it hybrid work? We need to make sure that we take all the lessons that we learned about work from home and apply them to the idea that some days we’ll be in the office, and some days we’ll be at home.”

She acknowledged that “some organizations are also thinking about taking people all the way back to work — no more work from home,” but most businesses have discovered the advantages of remote work options, both to attract and retain talent and to reduce real estate costs.

Either way, businesses will need to make decisions about security measures to accommodate employees whether they’re at home, in the office or working from both locations.

 

Securing a Hybrid Workplace with Zero Trust

Zero-trust security, which requires strict access control and repeated user authentication, is one of the tools many businesses are implementing to enhance security measures during this time of hybrid work.

Cisco’s Darrin Miller spoke about the ways Cisco solutions can be used to build a security plan to address today’s shifting IT landscape. Miller said the keys to zero-trust security are visibility, segmentation and containment, and that Cisco’s portfolio of zero-trust solutions, which include Cisco Duo Security multifactor authentication, Cisco Tetration’s workload protections and Cisco SD-Access network segmentation, “enables users to securely connect to your network from any device, anywhere, while restricting access from noncompliant devices.”

Miller highlighted the ways Cisco Zero Trust allows users to work from anywhere, while still offering protection with automated threat containment and continuous monitoring and trust analysis.

MORE FROM BIZTECHSecuring the New Remote Workforce.

Placing Network Security in the Cloud

Jeff Fanelli, a Cisco security architect, said the future of network security is in the cloud, pointing to Cisco’s Secure Access Services Edge (SASE). Network perimeters have disappeared in recent years due to multiple factors, including a remote workforce.

“We’ve come to the natural progression of what ‘shifting perimeter’ means, and it’s literally gone. There is no perimeter anymore,” he said. “Not just because almost all of us are working from home, but because of where applications live and the heavy use of internet services and Software as a Service for applications, and so on.”

 Fanelli said realizing SASE architecture is a journey, “whether migrating, transitioning or expanding from an on-prem, network-centric stack to cloud-delivered security services and networking services in the cloud.”

Later this year, Cisco will begin offering VPN as a Service, which will introduce the concept of a backhaul virtual private network tunnel. Where businesses previously would have terminated their connections into their own environments, this new service will allow them to terminate connections via VPN into Cisco’s Umbrella SASE infrastructure.

To keep up with our coverage of Cisco Live 2021, bookmark this page, follow us on Twitter at @BizTechMagazine or the official conference Twitter account, @CiscoLive, and join the conversation using hashtag #CLUS.

Getty Images/ metamorworks