Work-From-Anywhere Cultures Need Work-From-Anywhere Security: The Value of a Managed Mobile Security Offering

As remote work and network access continues to be a staple at modern organizations, MSSPs must provide comprehensive cloud security for their customers. Learn how partners can help secure mobile workforces.

Fortinet Guest Blogger

August 23, 2019

5 Min Read
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The ability to access corporate files, conduct meetings and be in regular contact with coworkers from any location has become a common expectation among today’s workforce. Employees rely on various Wi-Fi-enabled tools to stay in touch and complete tasks whether working from home, traveling, attending a conference or many other situations.

As a result, organizations of all sizes are deploying a host of cloud environments and SaaS applications to improve accessibility while on the go. Additionally, organizations have increased the use of mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, to give employees the freedom to work beyond their desks.

While mobility can offer your customers many benefits, if approached without an eye toward security, the mobile workforce can introduce substantial risk to the network. Unfortunately, this is a likely scenario given the simplicity with which SaaS applications can be procured and the increased strain on IT resources in the wake of the cybersecurity skills gap.

With this in mind, your customers require a hands-on partner to help secure mobile workforces.

The Benefits and Risks of a Mobile Workforce

Work-from-anywhere business cultures have exploded over the past several years, with 40% of global companies reporting a hybrid policy, in which employees split time between working in the office and working remotely. Further, 52% of global employees report working from home at least once a week.

Research shows clear benefits to remote work, with employees who work remotely at least once a month being more likely to be happy and productive in their roles. In addition to increased productivity, organizations that allow employees to work from home see higher employee retention rates.

If your customers don’t consider risk, however, a data breach could outweigh the potential benefits of a mobile workforce. For example, many employees working away from the office are doing so from their own devices–connecting personally owned phones, applications, computers and tablets to the corporate network. As such, IT teams have limited visibility into the security status of those devices.

Additionally, departments are more likely to purchase applications and SaaS subscription tools to enable their remote workforce. Because SaaS tools can be consumed without being installed, these tools are often procured without going through proper IT channels, giving rise to shadow IT. These programs are then operating within corporate networks with limited regulation.

Furthermore, the influx of devices and tools increases network complexity while reducing overall visibility. For already strained IT resources, this can result in reduced breach prevention and detection abilities.

Securing Your Customers with Managed Mobile Security

The popularity of mobile workforces presents an opportunity for cyber criminals, but it also presents an opportunity for managed security service providers (MSSPs). Your customers not only need to deploy mobile security solutions, but they also require the guidance offered by an MSSP to monitor their increasingly complex networks and respond to threats in a timely fashion.

MSSPs can help secure their customers’ mobility while growing their business by offering strategic network security strategies. Effective mobile security management will encompass device management, event monitoring, incident response and compliance considerations.

Integration and Automation

The first step to implementing anywhere security across your customers’ distributed networks is to leverage integration and automation across security controls. For example, Fortinet MSSPs can rely on the Security Fabric to create several positive service outcomes. In the case of securing a mobile workforce, MSSPs would likely advise deploying tools such as:

  • Secure Email Gateways

  • Web Application Security

  • Network Access Controls

  • Cloud Access Security Broker

  • Next-Generation Firewalls

These mobile controls are able to communicate and share threat intelligence, automatically responding to threats. The connection between these tools offers MSSPs enhanced visibility into data movement and use within corporate networks, native multitenancy, scalability and more.

With these abilities, MSSPs can ensure the following results for their customers:

  • Enhanced Breach Prevention: With the visibility offered by these tools, MSSPs can monitor the behavior of devices, applications and users in a centralized way. This enables MSSPs to identify anomalous or malicious behavior.

  • Broad Security Across Distributed Environments: Native multi-tenancy and scalability enable MSSPs to offer broad protection to customers who have employees working on site and remotely, enabling controls and management to spread from public and private clouds, on-prem data centers, IoT devices, applications and beyond,

  • Rapid Response: Integration and automation allow you to detect and respond to attacks faster on the customer’s behalf.

As many organizations do not have the security resources to monitor events full-time, MSSPs can augment integrated tools with managed SOC services.

Managed Multi-Cloud Security 

In addition to these network security measures, modern MSSPs must be able to secure multi-cloud environments. As organizations increase the use of applications to enable a mobile workforce, they create multi-cloud environments within their networks. Each of these SaaS apps is likely hosted on a separate cloud–meaning corporate data is being stored across several providers, each of which has different standards for the level of security included.

MSSPs can offer customers guidance on how to best secure the use of applications across these providers. Additionally, MSSPs should augment protections with cloud-based controls, such as Cloud WAF-as-a-service, secure-web-gateway-as-a-service and centralized cloud hub visibility.

Final Thoughts

Mobility and accessibility are staples of the modern workforce–causing organizations and lines of business within to rely on mobile applications, connected devices and the cloud. Securing this mobility requires a dedicated team with the ability to identify security needs, and to deploy and configure the necessary solutions. Herein lies the opportunity for MSSPs. Offering guidance, solution support, and threat monitoring and management, MSSPs enable customers to create environments that foster a work-from-anywhere culture, without jeopardizing the security of the organization.

This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

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