SecurityBrief New Zealand logo
New Zealand's leading source of cybersecurity and cyber-attack news
Story image

Zero trust is the way to secure the distributed workforce - Empired

By Shannon Williams
Fri 4 Sep 2020
FYI, this story is more than a year old

As the business landscape becomes accustomed to having a higher proportion of people working from home, attention is now turning to how to secure a remote workforce into the future, according to Empired.

Temporary measures and those put in place to respond rapidly to lockdowns and social distancing measures are unlikely to sufficiently protect organisations in the long term, requiring a new approach to cybersecurity.

“Most businesses have gone from a fraction of their workforce working remotely occasionally to the vast majority of the workforce working from home all the time," says Jaen Snyman, practice manager – modern workplace, Empired.

"However, cybersecurity systems, for the most part, were designed around on-premise working. This means existing security solutions need to evolve to accommodate the new remote workforce."

The risks facing businesses aren’t necessarily new, although threats continue to increase in terms of both frequency and sophistication. 

Phishing attacks, ransomware, data exfiltration, and other types of cyberattacks remain key focus areas. The stress, anxiety, and confusion caused by COVID-19 disruptions created an ideal environment for cybercriminals to step up their attacks. This has been manifested in an increase in attacks on virtual private network (VPN) services, for example, which many businesses rely on to provide secure remote access to workers outside the office.

The security control plane was already shifting from the traditional castle-and-moat model to one focused on identity. This has led to increased adoption of a zero trust or lean trust security model.

This is a security approach that assumes every access attempt is potentially originating from an untrusted network. A zero trust approach, therefore, is focused on managing risk. 

There are three pivotal steps on the maturity curve to a true zero trust environment:

1. Strong, multifactor authentication is in place for all users, not just high-risk users.
2. All devices are enrolled and managed according to risk-based policies.
3. Risk-based management occurs across identity, devices, and session.

“It’s important to develop an architecture that’s appropriate for the individual organisation depending on budget, risk appetite, resources, and executive buy-in," says Snyman.

"It’s essential to approach security by assuming there is a pervasive risk.”

There are four teams that need to collaborate to move towards zero trust maturity:

1. Identity teams: connecting all applications for single sign-on reduces complexity and delivers consistency. Using strong authentication such as multifactor and policy-based access can help contain breaches. And, analytics can determine what behaviour is normal for each user so that abnormal behaviour can be quickly and accurately detected and investigated.

2. Device teams: devices should be registered and teams should implement mobile device management (MDM) security baselines and compliance reporting. Control should include configuration and patching both for the operating system and the multitude of applications in use. Endpoint threat detection is essential to monitor device risk.

3. Network and infrastructure teams: cloud workload protection should be enabled across the environment. Just-in-time access can reduce the attack surface by opening access to key servers and systems purely for the amount of time needed to complete the necessary work, then closing them down again, limiting the opportunity for cyberattackers to gain entry.

4. Applications and data security teams: it’s important to agree on a label taxonomy and classify all documents and emails accordingly to minimise the risk of data exfiltration and leakage. If data needs to be shared externally, that can be managed accordingly. It’s important to apply real-time protection to high-risk scenarios and perform shadow IT discovery and a cloud control program.

“IT teams can gain executive buy-in for zero trust programs by laying out the risk and the benefits of zero trust plainly and in business terms," explains Snyman.

"Quantifying the cost is important, as is demonstrating how zero trust can mitigate risk. It’s also useful to provide a concise roadmap that includes short-term goals.

“Organisations that are unsure of where to start or that have limited resources should start with multifactor authentication as an absolute must-have. 

"If multifactor authentication is already in place, it’s probably worth reviewing because it is often possible for people to use legacy authentication. It’s important to close those gaps. If the business is using a VPN, it’s essential to have the latest firewalls and protection in place because of the targeted attacks on VPNs that are occurring right now.

“With these basic steps in place, organisations can secure the remote workforce now and into the future, letting employees get on with growing the business.”

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Cloud Security
Aqua Security createa unified scanner for cloud native security
“By integrating more cloud native scanning targets into Trivy, such as Kubernetes, we are simplifying cloud native security."
Story image
Cybersecurity
Noname Security partners with Netpoleon to target API issues
Specialist API security firm Noname Security has appointed Netpoleon as its distributor in Australia and New Zealand.
Story image
Malware
New vulnerabilities found in Nuspire’s Q1 2022 Threat Report
“Threat actors are quickly adjusting their tactics and these exploits tend to get industry attention, but the threat posed by older and attacks still persists."
Story image
Apricorn
Data backup plans inadequate, data still at risk - study
The Apricorn 2022 Global IT Security Survey revealed that while the majority organisations have data backup plans in place, data for many are at risk.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
ForgeRock releases Autonomous Access solution powered by AI
ForgeRock has officially introduced ForgeRock Autonomous Access, a new solution that uses AI to prevent identity-based cyber attacks and fraud.
Story image
Training
Fortinet training edges toward closing cybersecurity gap
The Fortinet Training Institute has made significant progress in closing the cybersecurity skills gap, on track to train one million people by 2026.
Story image
Cybersecurity
CyberArk launches $30M investment fund to advance security
CyberArk has announced the launch of CyberArk Ventures, a $30 million global investment fund dedicated to advancing the next generation of security disruptors.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Managed service providers: effective scoping to avoid costly vendor pitfalls
Managed security services are outsourced services focusing on the security and resilience of business networks.
Story image
Phishing
KnowBe4 celebrates reaching 50,000 customers worldwide
KnowBe4 has reached the milestone of 50,000 customers, adding nearly 2,500 in the first quarter of 2022 alone.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
How to ensure ethical deployment of AI implementations
The increase in automation and machine technology such as AI and machine learning has unlocked a whole new level of scale and service to organisations. 
Story image
Ransomware
Anniversaries remind us to review identity risks
World Password Day provides a timely reminder for ordinary citizens and organisations to stop and think about the risks associated with digital identities.
Story image
Digital Transformation
How to modernise legacy apps without compromising security
At a time when digital transformation has become central to business, even the most important applications come with a ‘use-by’ date.
Story image
Phishing
Google reveals new safety and security measures for users
Google's new measures include automatic two step verification, virtual cards and making it easier to remove contact information on Google Search results.
Darktrace
Threat actors are exploiting weaknesses in interconnected IT/OT ecosystems. Darktrace illuminates your entire business and takes targeted action to stop emerging attacks.
Link image
Story image
Malware
Use of malware, botnets and exploits expands in Q1 2022
"As zero-day attacks and other vulnerabilities among companies like Google and Microsoft come to light, threat actors are quickly adjusting their tactics."
Story image
Ivanti
Ivanti and Lookout bring zero trust security to hybrid work
Ivanti and Lookout have joined forces to help organisations accelerate cloud adoption and mature their zero trust security posture in the everywhere workplace.
Story image
SaaS
Absolute Software expands Secure Access product offering
Absolute Software is enhancing its Secure Access product portfolio, enabling minimised risk exposure and optimised user experiences in the hybrid working environment.
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft unveils three new security managed services
Security Experts includes three new managed services, Defender Experts for Hunting, Defender Experts for XDR, Security Services for Enterprise.
Story image
Supply chain
Jetstack promotes better security with supply chain toolkit
The web-based resource is designed to help organisations evaluate and plan the crucial steps they need to establish effective software supply chain security.
Story image
SaaS
Rubrik Security Cloud marks 'next frontier' in cybersecurity
"The next frontier in cybersecurity pairs the investments in infrastructure security with data security giving companies security from the point of data."
Story image
Workato
Workato unveils enhancements to enterprise automation platform
"The extra layer of protection with EKM, zero-logging, and hourly key rotation gives customers a lot more visibility and control over more sensitive data."
Story image
VPN
Palo Alto Networks says ZTNA 1.0 not secure enough
Palo Alto Networks is urging the industry to move to Zero Trust Network Access 2.0 because previous versions have major gaps in security protection.
Story image
Remote Working
How zero trust and SD-WANs can support productive remote working
The way people connect with applications and data has changed, users are remotely accessing resources that could be stored anywhere from a corporate data center to the cloud.
Story image
Microsoft
PwC NZ unveils new Cloud Security Operations Center
PwC New Zealand has unveiled its new Cloud Security Operations Center for the entire Microsoft technology stack.
Story image
Qualys
Qualys updates Cloud Platform solution with rapid remediation
The new update is designed to enable organisations to fix asset misconfigurations, patch OS and third-party applications, and deploy custom software.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Companies rushing to secure print infrastructure
As the pandemic prioritised communication channels and the shift to remote work, IT departments fell behind in updating the security of print and IT infrastructure.
Story image
Cybersecurity
BlackBerry offers Kaspersky replacement cybersecurity for the channel
BlackBerry advises that users of Kaspersky software in Australia and New Zealand undertake a rigorous risk analysis of their current security posture.
Story image
Application Security
What are the DDoS attack trend predictions for 2022?
Mitigation and recovery are vital to ensuring brand reputation remains solid in the face of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack and that business growth and innovation can continue.
Story image
BeyondTrust
BeyondTrust integrates Password Safe solution with SailPoint
BeyondTrust has announced the integration of BeyondTrust Password Safe with SailPoint identity security offerings.
Story image
Ransomware
Cybersecurity starts with education
In 2021, 80% of Australian organisations responding to the Sophos State of Ransomware study reported being hit by ransomware. 
Story image
Ransomware
A third of companies paying ransom don’t recover data - report
Veeam's report finds 76% of businesses who are victims of cyberattacks paid the ransom to recover data, but a third were still unable to get their information back.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
AI-based email security platform Abnormal Security valued at $4B
"A new breed of cybersecurity solutions that leverage AI is required to change the game and stop the rising threat of sophisticated and targeted email attacks."
Story image
Cybersecurity
NCSC advisory highlights poor security configurations
The GCSB's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has released a cyber security advisory identifying commonly exploited controls and practices.
Story image
Sift
Sift shares crucial advice for preventing serious ATO breaches
Are you or your business struggling with Account Takeover Fraud (ATO)? One of the latest ebooks from Sift can provide readers with the tools and expertise to help launch them into the new era of account security.
Story image
Cybersecurity
A10 Networks finds over 15 million DDoS weapons in 2021
A10 Networks notes that in the 2H 2021 reporting period, its security research team tracked more than 15.4 million Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) weapons.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Updates from Google Workspace set to ease hybrid working troubles
Google Workspace has announced a variety of new features which will utilise Google AI capabilities to help make hybrid working situations more efficient and effective.
Story image
Malware
Sharp increase in phishing as cybercriminals leverage SEO to lure victims
"Malware lurking everywhere, from cloud apps to search engines, leaving organisations at greater risk than ever before."
Booster
Booster Innovation Fund. A fund of Kiwi ingenuity – for Kiwi investors.
Link image
Story image
Cybersecurity
HackerOne launches Attack Resistance Management solution
HackerOne has launched Attack Resistance Management - a new category of security solution that targets the root causes of the attack resistance gap. 
Story image
Appian
Appian awarded billions in damages against Pegasystems Inc.
Appian has been awarded USD$2.036 billion in damages against Pegasystems Inc as the result of a jury verdict in the Circuit Court for Fairfax County, Virginia.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Physical security systems guide the hybrid workplace to new heights
Organisations are reviewing how data gathered from their physical security systems can optimise, protect and enhance their business operations in unique ways.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Hard numbers: Why ambiguity in cybersecurity no longer adds up
As cybersecurity costs and risks continue to escalate, CEOs continue to struggle with what their investment in cyber protection buys. Getting rid of ambiguity becomes necessary.
Story image
Cybersecurity
The 'A-B-C' of effective application security
Software applications have been a key tool for businesses for decades, but the way they are designed and operated has changed during the past few years.
Story image
Cybersecurity
ThoughtLab reveals 10 best practices for cybersecurity in 2022
The benchmarking study reveals best practices that can reduce the probability of a material breach and the time it takes to find and respond to those that happen.