Being SASE-y at work can’t hurt


Hana Raja: Security, networking and collaboration can no longer be seen in silos.

PETALING JAYA: Working from home or hybrid work arrangements were rare, predominantly reserved for entrepreneurs or trendy startups – that is until Covid-19 hit.

Since then, these workplace experiments that had struggled to gain traction pre-pandemic have cemented their position in work culture across the globe.

With these arrangements in place, it is crucial for cybersecurity to meet the needs of a distributed workforce amid an increasingly dynamic workplace.

According to Cisco’s “Future of Secure Remote Work Report”, 63% of Asia Pacific organisations said secure access was the top cybersecurity challenge when supporting remote workers.

Other concerns raised in the same report included data privacy (59%), and maintaining control and enforcing policies (53%).

Noting that cybersecurity is foundational to any digitalisation effort, Cisco Malaysia managing director Hana Raja said policies and controls which once resided within the corporate perimeter when employees connect from the headquarters or branch offices must now follow the user wherever and whenever they require access.

She also pointed out that network and security teams need to work together to provide seamless and secure access to applications and services, anywhere and anytime in a hybrid work environment which is becoming a mainstay.

“Security, networking and collaboration can no longer be seen in silos, they must work hand in hand. Businesses must create a flexible, safe, and secure hybrid work environment with employees moving on and off the network through the cloud with similar levels of protection to fuel productivity.

“This can be achieved by adopting a Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) architecture.”

She noted that SASE integrates multiple security and networking functions into one single enhanced architecture and is designed to provide secure access from edge to edge – including the data centre, remote offices, employees, and beyond.

Given that more companies are adopting a multi-cloud strategy – whereby applications are no longer solely hosted on premises – she said SASE’s key advantage is in streamlining and simplifying security infrastructure, and making businesses more agile.

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“SASE optimises business performance to deliver the best app experience for users by ensuring the fastest, most reliable, and secure path to the cloud. It also enables businesses to resolve any issues or anomalies users may face when accessing applications and services they need, regardless of the location or device they connect from.

“Cisco combines the best-in-class networking, connectivity, security, and observability capabilities into a single subscription service. We help businesses enable 3Cs (connect, control, and converge).

“This means establishing zero trust access and protecting users from cyber threats regardless of the location or device, as well as bringing together networking and security functions to deliver secure connectivity in a more integrated fashion,” said Hana Raja.

Pointing out that SASE and Zero Trust vary, she explained that Zero Trust is a security framework that helps businesses connect users to networks and applications securely from any device and location.

“A zero-trust model considers all resources to be external and continuously verifies trust before granting only the required access and looks at security in three key areas – workforce, workload and workplace.”

“SASE is a convergence of networking and security designed to simplify Zero Trust network access and deliver a consistent end user experience for organisations. However, ​​SASE is a journey and there is no one-size-fits-all approach.”

Hana Raja advised businesses to work with a technology partner that has a strong heritage around networking and a thorough end-to-end security portfolio when embarking on their SASE journey.

Join the free live webinar “Embark on a ‘SASSY’ Journey To Protect Your Cloud” on Thursday (January 20) from 2pm-3pm to learn how you can enhance your cloud security to ensure business continuity without affecting employees’ productivity. This webinar is organised by Star Media Group in partnership with Cisco.

To register for the webinar, visit bit.ly/starcisco20jan (or scan the QR code), and for any queries, contact events@thestar.com.my.

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