Cloud Security

Is SSE the right strategy for your organization?

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Take a moment to think about your employees and the information they have access to on a day-to-day basis. When they worked in the office, they were accessing that data using your corporate networks and company-issued computers.

But in a work-from-anywhere environment, that same employee could be connecting to those resources using an unsecured network and a personal device, like their home Wi-Fi and personal smartphone. At the same time, that data that used to reside on premises is probably stored in a number of  cloud services.

This level of sprawl is one of the reasons it’s so difficult to secure a hybrid work environment. There are countless avenues for risk that you need to keep tabs on, and your legacy security tools aren’t equipped to keep up.

You may be able to recreate a perimeter by using a virtual private network (VPN) or asking employees to enroll in device management programs. But these solutions can end up limiting access to necessary resources and require users to adhere to a rigid working style, which can end up undoing the productivity boost that comes along with a hybrid work environment.

To tackle this data sprawl and stay secure in a hybrid work environment, you’re going to have to rethink your approach to security. One framework designed to solve this challenge is security service edge (SSE), which converges a number of your security capabilities into a single, cloud-delivered solution. Let me break down how SSE is built to secure hybrid work, and what functionalities you should look out for.

Establishing trust in a hybrid environment

To take the next step in securing your hybrid environment, you have to acknowledge the fact that trust looks different now than it used to. When users and devices were inside your perimeter, you had more control over the environment and could make some assumption about their trustworthiness.

But now you don’t know for certain if the user on the other end is who they say they are, or if the device or network they are using is secure. Plus, your data is being stored in cloud apps that you have minimal visibility into and control over. When you rely on an allow-or-deny approach to access, you open yourself up to risks like impersonation and data leakage.

In order to establish trust, you need to leave behind your legacy tools. This is where SSE comes in. Because it’s built for the cloud, SSE sets you up for security success in a hybrid work environment. It gives you continuous insight into what’s happening with your users, endpoints, network, and data without having to backhaul traffic to a perimeter, giving you a holistic understanding of what’s happening across your entire infrastructure while enabling seamless access to your employees working from anywhere.

SSE enables data protection everywhere

Data is your organization’s most critical asset, and you need to be able to maintain control over it wherever it goes. In a perimeter-based security environment, if an employee uses a personal device to download a file or they share it with an external party, what happens to the data next is completely out of your control.

A data-centric SSE platform, on the other hand, enables you to classify and protect your data even when it leaves your corporate environment, and you can enforce granular access policies. Built-in data loss prevention (DLP) helps you understand the sensitivity level of the data your users are seeking to access and place common-sense restrictions. If an authenticated user is attempting to access sensitive data from a risky location — like the public network at a coffee shop — you can watermark or redact sensitive content, minimizing the risk while still enabling productivity.

Other critical pieces of the data protection puzzle are encryption, user behavior, and endpoint protection. With the right SSE platform, you should be able to automate encryption so that when sensitive data gets downloaded, only authenticated users are able to decrypt it. And by monitoring user behavior, you can understand how they typically behave and spot when they are doing something unusual that could put your data at risk. The same goes for endpoint device health. Only by continuously monitoring the devices used — even the unmanaged ones —  can you understand the risk levels.

A more complete picture

With hybrid work now the norm, there are more variables than ever. If you rely on legacy security tools, you might have to make a hard decision between granting access to users and keeping your data secure. But by adopting an SSE platform that focuses on data, you can gain visibility and control over your corporate assets while enabling your users to work productively from anywhere.

By Ravi Tanguturi, Cloud Security Architect, Lookout

For more information on the Lookout Cloud Security Platform, visit here.

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