Here’s why businesses on the cloud need edge services with zero-trust security
The Covid-19 pandemic has undoubtedly forced businesses to digitalize rapidly in order to continue operations amidst movement restrictions.
Today, most workers have begun to comfortably adapt to remote working. A poll by McKinsey showed that 63% of workers in major countries across the world prefer some degree of flexibility between working remotely and working in an office — even post-pandemic. Clearly, the need for remote work has accelerated the move to the cloud as it optimizes and enables remote collaboration, communication, and work delivery.
Whilst remote working comes with its benefits, many businesses still underestimate the importance of cybersecurity for their remote working staff. It is thus important for businesses to re-evaluate their security and networking strategies to cater to the “new work normal.”
Why traditional security and networking approaches still aren’t enough
The security of workplaces of yore was not designed with the cloud in mind. Whilst they were effective on-premise, their security and networking approaches were disjointed, in silos, and limited by hardware and location (they are usually on-site).
Traditional security and networking methods tend to be complex to manage, they’re less flexible and inefficient. They also hamper disaster recovery and resilience capabilities. As such, enterprises frequently miss out on opportunities available from cloud-based solutions, losing to more tech-savvy competitors. Most importantly, their difficulty in securely integrating with the cloud meant that it would be a challenge to support remote working.
To address this, businesses can consider changing core architectures to integrate security and networking in a more unified manner. With remote work increasing, companies need to improve their security posturing to integrate with the cloud so both the company’s network and workers’ devices are protected. This will improve network performance and close security gaps for a more secured remote workforce.
Zero-trust: A superior cybersecurity approach
The internet was not designed to prioritize security, especially for businesses. As workers increasingly move online, cybercriminals have taken advantage of this mass influx of workers in unsecured networks to prey on unsuspecting victims. According to the Asia-Pacific Risk Centre, APAC is 80% more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Almost 90% of APAC companies came under some form of cyberattack in 2016. Business revenues lost to cyberattacks in APAC amounted to $81.3 billion in 2017. As such, companies should approach their security strategies with a zero-trust approach instead.
Cloud-based IT architectures with Edge capabilities may be more vulnerable to attacks from hackers, especially since IoT devices, often with low security, are increasingly used.
A zero-trust security architecture assumes that authenticated identities or the network itself may already be compromised — even if they aren’t. This approach treats every user, device, and interaction as a potential threat. As such, every single connection or condition will be continuously validated to ensure that it is legitimate.
The adoption of zero-trust architectures is expected to grow. According to research by the Ponemon Institute, the majority of organizations (62%) are familiar or very familiar with zero-trust. It also found that nearly half of high-performing organizations (48%) have deployed or will deploy zero-trust security.
Enter Zero Trust Edge (ZTE)
ZTE is a virtual networking model developed by Forrester that provides secure access to corporate services and applications to remote workers whilst prioritizing business application traffic that dominates the branch-wide area network (WAN).
ZTE securely connects and transports traffic through the Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), using zero-trust access principles, in and out of remote sites leveraging mostly on cloud-based security and networking services. ZTE also allows for central management, monitoring, and analysis of security and networking services.
Zero Trust Edge benefits both physical and remote working and is directly accessible from almost every major city in the world. Additionally, it secures IoT (internet of things) and edge devices, as well as business partners. Businesses can be protected from customers, employees, contractors, and devices connecting through WAN fabrics or a higher-risk environment.
A Secure Access Services Edge (SASE) is part of the ZTE model. A SASE network architecture integrates VPN and SD-WAN capabilities with zero-trust principles at the “services edge”, where devices and networks are connected, using a cloud software model.
What’s great with ZTE? Wi-Fi 6E.
Increased cloud usage and demand for internet connectivity leads to heavier loads on wireless networks, throttling application performance. This negatively impacts user experience, reduces productivity, puts digital initiatives at risk, and stifles innovation.
The radio frequency (RF) spectrum is doubled with the 6 GHz band, resulting in lesser congestion on airwaves, broader channels, and higher-speed connections. Consequently, Wi-Fi 6E can support multigigabit traffic, as well as high-definition video and AR/VR (Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality).
According to IDC Research Director Phil Solis, Wi-Fi 6E will be rapidly adopted this year, with over 338 million devices entering the market. By 2022, he expects that nearly 20% of all Wi-Fi 6 devices will be able to support the 6 GHz bandwidth.
Aruba brings businesses closer to the Edge
Devices and infrastructures with edge as well as Wi-Fi 6E devices and infrastructures are optimized through platforms such as the Aruba ESP (Edge Services Platform).
Built on AIOps, zero-trust network security, and a unified campus to branch infrastructures, the Aruba ESP can predict and resolve problems at the network edge before they happen. This capability also encompasses the SASE infrastructure that integrates VPN and SD-WAN, with zero-trust principles at its core.
The Aruba ESP is an AI-powered, cloud-native, enterprise-grade platform designed to unify, automate, and secure the edge. It is also backward-compatible with existing Wi-Fi spectrums and networking infrastructures such as WLAN, LAN, and SD-WAN.
Aruba ESP delivers an automated, all-in-one platform that continuously analyzes data across domains, tracks SLAs, identifies anomalies, and self-optimizes while seeing and securing unknown devices on the network.
With Aruba ESP, organizations will find it easier to support critical remote-working activities such as video conferencing, unified communications, augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR), IoT, and cloud, amongst others.
Aruba has decades of experience as a leader in Wi-Fi innovations and solutions. Aruba retains the top spot in the Wi-Fi 6 solutions market for the fourth time in a row among the South East Asia, Taiwan and Hong Kong regions, according to the IDC Quarterly Wireless Lan Tracker for Q1 2021.
For businesses looking towards a Wi-Fi 6E-ready future, Aruba also provides a range of modular and flexible Wi-Fi 6E access switches.
Learn more about Aruba’s Edge Services Platform here.
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