Cybersecurity for Remote Workforces – First Step in 10 Minutes

June 9, 2020

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By Cindy Jiang, Kovarus, Distinguished Solutions Architect

With the COVID-19 pandemic, I see a lot of initiatives suddenly changing among my customers. According to an MIT report dated April 8, 2020, the increase of US workers who began to work from home indicates that it could be the new norm even after this pandemic. IT professionals I work with have had to quickly adapt to this — enabling employees to remain productive while staying safe at home.

I have had many discussions with IT organizations in past two months around remote VPN technologies, about how SD-WAN can help with better connectivity, about how to collaborate among employees using advanced collaboration tools like Zoom/Webex, Slack etc., and most importantly how to better secure remote workers.

Unfortunately, threat actors and criminals will almost certainly (>95% according to the Mimecast report on “The first 100 days of Coronavirus”) seek to exploit the increased numbers of employees working from home and leverage the situation of uncertainty and fear, and use it as an opportunity to profit. Threat intelligence teams from different security companies report significant increases in the volume of all threats. It is not a question of will it happen, but rather when it will happen.

How can we help our customers as IT consultants?

Cybersecurity is always considered as a multi-layer, multi-discipline, collaborative environment. Therefore, there is no a single security product or solution that could solve all security threats. The security landscape is evolving from traditional network security, to endpoint security, to cloud security, to DevSecOps for pipelines. The concept of Zero-trust has been overused, but it is a strong indication on how important it is to improve cybersecurity now. Organizations want to have a comprehensive approach to secure its workloads, its workplaces, and its workforce. A consultative approach to help customers pinpoint the security holes in their environments is the best. For the current situation, securing users working from anywhere, at any time, and on any device becomes a high priority.

I have daily conversations with organizations on security architecture and have found that the easiest security measure to take for protecting users is to help customers get their hands on Cisco Umbrella. This is especially true for customers who have not implemented any remote VPN technology yet, and desperately need some immediate security posture done in a fast and simple way. This is not one solution to solve all security concerns but is definitely the quickest way to provide cloud security as a first line of defense. Most customers report seeing the value in less than one day.

Cisco Umbrella is a cloud-based solution that blocks malicious domains, IPs, and cloud applications before a connection is ever established. It can protect users and devices on or off a corporate network from attacks such as malware, ransomware, phishing, etc. Therefore, it is the perfect first step for all organizations. Cisco Umbrella is a fully functional Secure Internet Gateway (SIG) with DNS-Layer security, secure web gateway, cloud-delivered firewall, CASB, and threat intelligence that can analyze 200 billion internet requests per day.

Seeing is believing!

Kovarus is a Cisco Gold Partner and can set up a free Cisco Umbrella Trial in an Umbrella Partner Proof of Value (PPoV) console. The trial deployment typically takes about 10 minutes to set up and start protecting your traffic within an hour. There is no hardware to deploy. To protect your corporate network, simply point the DNS to the Umbrella global network. If you use Cisco AnyConnect, enable it to the Umbrella roaming security module. Alternatively, individual users and devices can be protected by deploying the Umbrella roaming client without any VPN.

With this trial, you will have full access to the Umbrella dashboard with Investigate, including the ability to customize security policies, generate security reports, understand the risk score, and see the relationships and evolution of domains, IPs, and files to pinpoint attackers and predict future threats.

At the end of the Umbrella trial, with enough security data a security report can be generated — you not only see which threats were blocked and devices infected, but also all the threat intelligence related to unique malicious domains requested by devices.

Want to start your free Cisco Umbrella Trial with Kovarus? Connect with me via Webex Teams or email me at cjiang@kovarus.com.


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