Almost a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations are still challenged with supporting increased bandwidth and a new kind of cyber hygiene.

While there are many enterprises that promote remote working as a legitimate option for employees, never has it been on such a wide or urgent scale since COVID-19 took the world by surprise.

Organizations’ primary requirement is Secure Access to distribute corporate applications and resources – on networks and in the cloud.  Since the beginning of the pandemic, VPN use has increased exponentially and will need to be expanded to provide secure connections between employees and corporate networks.

Almost a year into this pandemic, operations teams are still challenged with supporting increased bandwidth and maintaining performance for the significant number of employees that are now accessing corporate apps and data remotely. As WFH ushers in new digital workforce flexibility, organizations need to reorient employee and corporate safeguards, as well as change their concept of perimeter defenses.

Employees are also required to learn a new kind of cyber hygiene. Remote workers may be using devices, such as home desktops or family tablets, which do not measure up to enterprise security standards, so companies will need to educate their remote workforce on how to mitigate security risks in this new reality.  Employees must have a solid knowledge of the threats that face them — from phishing attacks to the threat actors targeting them — and what they can do to protect themselves.

The need for secure access to empower workforce mobility and productivity goes hand-in-hand with enterprise network trends such as cloud migration, SaaS, BYOD, virtualization, IoT and cybersecurity.

Indeed, Forrester wrote that traditionally “networkers have been more concerned with infrastructure than with data, more with roads than with destinations. Network professionals built yesterday’s networks at the edge, with the Internet connection, and then built inward, without regard to the placement of resources or data.” Zero Trust aims to reverse that, increasing security at the user and device level, where vulnerabilities are most prevalent, and governing application access to only authorized users.

Enterprises are currently managing their workforce’s IT needs remotely and at scale. Those workers may not be used to remote working or may be using and sharing personal devices – many of these access points, public networks and devices may not be compliant with enterprise security requirements – especially when they are accessing sensitive corporate information in the cloud and data center.

Attackers are relying on it. Through various attack methods, from phishing to malicious sites, once that device becomes exploited or credential is successfully obtained, it can lead to unauthorized access to corporate apps, resource and information. Hence the new doctrine to verify before trust; ergo “Zero Trust”.  Zero Trust contends that any entity – wherever, whatever or whoever they are – must authenticate to a specific controller in order to be granted direct access to a specific, authorized application or resource – be it network or cloud.

Prior notions of a perimeter defense, where those within a network were considered trusted and often had broader access to internal resources, are a thing of the past as more organizations are leveraging cloud applications and resources.

Zero Trust changes the trust dynamic. If an entity were to request access to an application or resource within a Zero Trust network, it would be subject to a thorough vetting process: both the user and the device are validated and verified, one or more policies govern the application access, and all data is encrypted for each transaction.

Introducing Pulse Zero Trust Access (PZTA)

Pulse Zero Trust Access (PZTA) is a Zero Trust, cloud-based secure access service that enables organizations to provide users easy, compliant direct access to applications and resources located in the cloud or data center. It works seamlessly with Pulse Secure’s existing remote, mobile, and network access solution portfolio and Pulse Access Suite for operational efficiency, investment protection, and a superior user experience.

PZTA provides increased security protection with automated anomaly monitoring and detection. Organizations gain policy standardization, administrative simplicity, threat surface reduction, and security tool consolidation. They also can leverage Pulse Secure’s unified client to advance user connectivity and operational agility across Pulse Secure’s complete secure access portfolio.

PZTA Architecture
PZTA Architecture

The stress that enterprise networks are experiencing today offers an opportunity to implement Zero Trust.  With PZTA, organizations can reduce the possibility of malware penetrating the network, lessen the chance of credentials being stolen, and ensure that only authorized users access appropriate applications and data.  This leads to an increased security profile, better compliance, and reduced attack surface – all of which are beneficial no matter where your employees work.

To find out how your organization can benefit from a Zero Trust security architecture and deploy PZTA, please contact info_apac@pulsesecure.net.