Being hit by a cyberattack is a universal fear among organizations. Here are the different kinds of threats to look out for, and one cybersecurity solution that is heroically taking them all on.
Charlotte skims through her email after connecting to a coffee shop’s WiFi on her way to the office. At the same time, David opens his laptop in his home office and remotely logs in to a video conference. Similarly, Ted settles into his morning routine at his office branch, checking through the network security notifications that were flagged to his IT department overnight.
Clearly, the ways we work and communicate look a whole lot, depending on one’s industry and organization. Shifts toward mobility and cloud adoption are requiring organizations to reconsider how to better connect and secure their offices, users and resources. An IDC study found that 92% of enterprise businesses’ IT environment—including their infrastructure, applications and data analytics—relies on the cloud. This number is aligned with the growing acceptance and expectation of remote and hybrid work environments across U.S. executive leadership, according to Harvard Business Review.
Evolving world, evolving threats
While workplace flexibility provides new opportunities for organizations and their employees, it also presents heightened security risks with remote workers logging on from home on a mixed bag of personal and company devices. We are constantly hearing about the endless cycle of cyberthreats, ransomware attacks and data breaches wreaking havoc on every type of organization imaginable. But a glimmer of hope exists with a new blend of solutions—a layered, interwoven fabric of network and security technologies called Secure Access Service Edge—SASE, for short.
SASE is a powerful recent development that incorporates SD-WAN with a comprehensive network security model. While SASE has a long list of benefits ranging from simplified WAN deployment and scalability to increased network performance and cost reduction, what we’ll focus on here is its unmatched edge to edge security—particularly how SASE is emerging as a predominant way to combat cybercriminals and their most commonly used methods of cyberattacks that frequently impact organizations.
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When referring to a cyberattack, these are the categories you’re most likely going to find:
- Ransomware: A type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system by encrypting a cyber-victim’s files. Access to data is locked until a sum of money is paid, for example. Ransomware threats are on the rise and do not discriminate—they are quick to target every and any industries. The top ransomware targets in 2023 by sector, based on Sophos research, includes Education, Manufacturing, Local and State Government, Retail and Financial Services. SASE stops ransomware in three areas: First is Secure Web Gateways (SWG) using SSL inspection, browser isolation and zero-day threat protection. Second is Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) using micro segmentation where remote users are directly connected to apps, not networks. Third is Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) utilizing Data Loss Prevention (DLP).
- DDoS: A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is when a cybercriminal attempts to make it impossible for an online service to be delivered by overwhelming it with traffic from multiple sources. Given that DDoS attacks in the first part of 2023 were up 200% from 2022, according to Zayo Group, this is a trend that is rising in frequency and scale, and is becoming easier to carry out with the rise of Internet communications and web applications usage. The firewall and CASB components of SASE help prevent external attacks (like DDoS attacks and vulnerability exploits) from getting in and compromising internal resources. Both on-premises and cloud-based networks can be protected by a SASE framework. The framework includes moving DDoS protection to the edge.
- Malware: A software that is designed to disrupt, damage or gain unauthorized access to a computer system. You might recognize malware as a virus, worm, spyware or adware. SASE helps to prevent malware from accessing networks by fully encrypting all traffic and collapsing the networking and security stack into an easily managed, unified offering, making it much harder for attackers to insert malicious code into a SASE-protected network.
- MitM: A man-in-the-middle (MitM) cyberattack is a general term for when a perpetrator positions themselves in a conversation between a user and an application to either eavesdrop or impersonate one of the parties to intercept data or gain access to funds. SASE can mitigate threats like MitM by encrypting traffic with remote devices, and uses inspection policies on public networks, such as unsecured WiFi.
The SASE Revolution
SASE is emerging as a way to defeat cybercriminals at their own game by preventing ransomware and malware from accessing industry networks. It eliminates the malicious malware from entering the network by combining core technology components, like SD-WAN, ZTNA, CASB, SWG and so much more, to create a secure environment that runs over the widely used public Internet. It prevents malware from spreading across organizations’ cloud and on-premises applications by blocking threats in real time as they are uploaded to applications or downloaded to devices. SASE can even go a step further, by blocking threats if and when an innocent user attempts to click on a malicious link.
Security teams benefit from advanced threat protection solutions that ensure consistent protection for any interaction in the cloud, on the web and in on-premises resources. The fear of cyberattacks is very real. As the threats continue to increase in our highly digital world, implementing SASE as a key line of defense is a decision every business leader should consider.