Industry Trends

Amid Times of Rapid Change, Security Functions Must be Nimble

By Fortinet | June 23, 2020

Fortinet Executive Perspectives 

This is a summary of an article written for Security Week by John Maddison, EVP of products and CMO at Fortinet. The entire article can be accessed here

Constant, rapid change is a part of current business culture. And now, in light of the current global pandemic, businesses are finding that staying agile is more important than ever. In the rush to quickly deploy remote work, however, both networks and those who manage them are facing new pressures.

Fixed-in-place security solutions are anything but agile, so when a rapid transition takes place they struggle to keep up. Their policies and configurations are not dynamic, requiring time-consuming, resource-heavy attention to update them for new conditions. When network connections change rapidly as a response to a dynamic business environment, security solutions need to change as part of a single, unified system. Otherwise, when there is too much lag time between new connections being made on one end and security configurations being updated on the other end, there is room for exploitation. 

How to Achieve an Agile Security Response 

Closing the gap between rapid network connection changes and new security configurations requires more than a one-off solution. Security administrators need to take a multi-pronged approach that integrates security concerns into their overall networking strategy. This way, the agile solutions they deploy will be suitable not just for the matters at hand, but for future protection against digital transformation efforts and new vulnerabilities and cyberattacks as well. 

Now that many organizations have transitioned to support remote work locations, enhancing their security will need to be the next step. Below are six factors that will help ensure you have an integrated set of security functions and solutions that work dynamically with the rapid changes taking place in the network.

  1. Endpoint Controls: When users access the network with their personal devices – using a home network being shared with other members of the family, and possibly other teleworkers – security is at risk. In this case, VPN software, which provides a secure connection back to the core network, will not be enough. Users will require an added layer that ensures updates and security and access policies can be pushed quickly and automatically to these endpoint devices

    Additionally, new endpoint detection and response solutions, like FortiEDR, will provide real-time threat protection both pre- and post-infection. These tools build on antivirus and detection capabilities by detecting live threats in real-time and defusing them before they can reach their goal. This ensures that endpoint devices can continue to function securely without the need for extended reimaging or other measures from the remote helpdesk.

  2. Dynamic Cloud Access: In addition to leveraging EDR solutions, automated security and access controls must also be applied to remote users and devices seeking access to cloud-based resources. With fewer users accessing cloud services, including SaaS, from directly inside the network perimeter, organizations are losing visibility and control both over who has access to these resources and how they are being used. Additionally, remote workers who access the internet via a split tunnel model are being exposed to online threats that security solutions within the core network once protected them against. 

    Fortinet offers a variety of cloud-based controls designed to address these security gaps, including FortiCASB, which protects access to SaaS applications, and FortiMail, which features integrated robust data protection capabilities to help organizations avoid data loss and to mitigate the recent increase in phishing attacks related to COVID-19.

  3. Network Access Control (NAC): Controlling access to the network recently became increasingly difficult for security admins who are dealing with a sudden upsurge in teleworkers. By leveraging Network Access Control (NAC) solutions, security teams can identify everything that is seeking access to the network, while tracking devices already connected, providing a level of control over users and devices that was not possible with a VPN and multifactor authentication alone.  

    With FortiNAC in place, IT teams can achieve the visibility that is required to control devices and users and launch dynamic, automated responses when a device falls out of policy or demonstrates anomalous behavior. This offering also enables the ability to restrict where devices can go on the network, including older devices that may require patching and system upgrades.  

  4. Network Segmentation: Once proper access has been established and granted (or restricted, in some cases), those devices, apps, and workflows must be separated and isolated so that if a piece of malware does manage to infiltrate, it will not affect the entire network. 

  5. AI-based Threat Intelligence: As cybercriminals continue to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to execute successful attacks, security teams must likewise use this technology to their advantage. Being able to respond to threats in real-time is crucial, and by utilizing AI-driven intelligence systems can rapidly weed out attacks before security analysts even know they were at risk. With Fortinet’s AI-driven security offerings, including FortiAI, the massive amount of data being generated by remote workers and networked devices can be correlated and analyzed to identify both known and unknown threats to stop them in their tracks. 

  6. Integrated Security Management: Being able to efficiently manage security operations from a central dashboard has always been important. Now, with more remote workers on the network than ever before, it is even more critical. When everyone else is focused on managing rapid change in their individual departments due to the global pandemic, security teams need all the help they can get from their security solutions. With the Fortinet Security Fabric in place, these teams can rest assured knowing that they can achieve zero-trust access, security-driven networking, dynamic cloud security, and AI-driven security operations with a suite of broad, integrated, and automated solutions. 

Managing Rapid Change is Better with the Right Tools

Having a unified and integrated Security Fabric in place, equipped with the right tools, means that even the most dynamic environment can be properly secured. During these times of rapid change, especially over the coming months, deploying fully integrated security protections will need to be a top priority. But with the right combination of solutions in place, your remote worker strategy can be managed efficiently, securely, and cost-effectively.

Discover how Fortinet Teleworker Solutions enable secure remote access at scale to support employees with a wide array of access requirements.