Industry Trends

Designing an Effective Security Strategy to Protect Organizations Across Canada

By Nick Alevetsovitis and Graham Bushkes | September 10, 2021

Regardless of the uncertainties surrounding the pandemic as we near winter months, working remotely, as well as the shift to returning to the office, (along with hybrid learning) means secure remote access is still top of mind for Canadian organizations. With some workers back to the office, organizations are tasked with maintaining their infrastructure to support a hybrid workforce longterm. Some are struggling to support the changing needs as they continue to support their remote employees

So, whereas historically, organizations would only need one plan to move forward in their digital journey, now they need to have two plans running in parallel, because they can’t be sure which way the pandemic will shift their workforce connectivity requirements. With uncertain timing and changing health mandates, organizations need to be prepared for any scenario. And, now more than ever employees and students are looking for more "work from anywhere" scenarios and support from IT teams.

Organizations far and wide have had to adjust and pivot quickly to handle the branch and the home user as the digital workforce went fully remote during the pandemic, and we saw large-scale webification of applications. Yet, Canadian cloud adoption overall continues to be a gradual approach that is purpose driven and only adopted where it makes business sense.

The question now is how to manage the dual parallel strategy, as some workers return to the office and others may remain remote indefinitely. Any organization with even one remote employee will need to adopt a hybrid model. Also, the larger an organization is, the more it centers around a hybrid model, because they have legacy applications that just can’t be migrated to the cloud. 

With the increase in mobile workers, multiple public and private clouds and IoT (Internet-of-Things) devices, network attack surfaces have considerably expanded, creating more blind spots that obscure visibility into threats. This demands the adoption and functions of a hybrid platform approach. 

The platform approach to cybersecurity is becoming very relevant for organizations today. Canadian customers are increasingly turning to vendors that can provide a cybersecurity platform that can secure the entire attack surface without impacting network performance. 

What does the Security Platform Approach Entail?

A platform approach provides organizations with visibility across the network that they require and with the knowledge to effectively manage the system with granular controls.

  • Visibility to detect, protect, and resolve issues inside the network. Isolated tools obscure visibility, and every component in networking and security, must work together as a unified solution to see, share, and respond to threats.
  • Knowledge to gather, analyze, correlate, and make sense of data to accelerate responses to issues and attacks.
  • Controls to distribute policies, federate enforcement, and remain compliant.
  • Consolidation is another important consideration, especially for government customers who require their security to support multiple diverse teams, while providing operational efficiencies. Customers today expect security by design, adopting products, tools, and services that will work across teams and partnerships. With security and networking teams working together, consolidation and collaboration by way of security-driven networking, can help organizations gain operational efficiency and cost savings.

Keeping up with Threat Intelligence Through an Effective Security Strategy

Many customers are feeling overwhelmed by the continual onslaught of ransomware attacks, which have increased in volume and sophistication. According to a recent Global Threat Landscape Report, ransomware attacks increased tenfold in the last year. Tactics from threat actors continue to mature and organizations need to continuously evaluate their security policies, to ensure they provide ample resources to protect against today’s threats. CISOs are faced with the bleak reality that they could be attacked at any moment. 

A good place to start for organizations with limited resources, is to gain greater visibility into the network. But for organizations of all sizes, this can be expensive. In response to this need, our partners are jumping on the bandwagon to offer transparent security solutions to customers in an affordable way. 

SD-WAN will also play a major role in both evolving and securing networks as the edge expands. Real-time endpoint protection, detection, and automated response solutions will be vital to secure environments along with a zero trust access approach.

Creating an Effective Security Strategy

The best way to confront the uncertainties facing the workforce of the future is to be prepared for any scenario. Schools might have to return to virtual learning, offices might once again close and send the workforce back to their homes. Keeping on and offsite network infrastructures functional and secure will take some parallel strategizing, but figuring out the network and security visibility strategy is a good place to start, while planning these dual parallel infrastructure remedies to support the new world of work.

Find out how the Fortinet Security Fabric platform delivers broad, integrated, and automated protection across an organization’s entire digital attack surface to deliver consistent security across all networks, endpoints, and clouds.