Securing the Enterprise Network for the Office Anywhere

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Organizations of all sizes are turning to mobile to drive productivity and to respond to employees’ demand for flexibility. The office is now anywhere and organizations must adopt a new approach towards security at the edge. In this three-part series, we share our thoughts on the future of the office anywhere, and the strategy to succeed in a mobile-first environment.

During the pandemic, it was reassuring to see businesses demonstrating resilience and enabling remote working for their employees — in some cases, practically overnight. As businesses slowly reopen their doors, it is clear that many things have changed, key amongst them the increasing risks to the enterprise network as more work is carried out from mobile devices. A research study conducted by Deep Instinct revealed that malware in 2020 increased by 358% overall and ransomware increased by 435% as compared with 2019. Malware threats attacking Android phones alone increased by 263%.1

Old technology stands in the way of successful remote working

VPNs are the legacy of a time when remote connectivity — and remote working — were the exception and not the norm. As such, VPN solutions are not designed to support an office-anywhere model where most of the employees are connecting to a multi-cloud environment from outside the perimeter. They are cumbersome to set up and maintain, and a reliable connection is often a problem.

In addition to that, many of the existing network solutions are not capable of dealing with the security risks posed by a mobile-first working model and do not leverage the ubiquitous coverage and usability of cellular connections and smart devices effectively.

The resiliency of mobile connectivity for remote working

One of the major takeaways from 2020 was the ubiquity and resiliency of mobile connectivity. Many of us experienced the frustration of freezing or dropping out of video calls while working remotely as the rest of the family was online at the same time. Rather than risking a service degradation while communicating with customers, it was easier to swap over to our corporate mobile device and use it as a hotspot. The question is, why aren’t more enterprises encouraging greater use of the mobile device, especially with 5G and all-you-can-eat data plans to enable the office anywhere?

We have been thinking a lot about the “new normal” and what that may mean for businesses who wish to keep employees productively engaged and stress-free while working remotely. In the future, the office can be anywhere, and employers should consider how they can maximize the potential of their mobile estate to help their employees to remain connected and secure.

How to secure the enterprise network in a mobile-first environment

The “new normal” means employees have the flexibility to choose where they want to work. There is a consensus amongst business leaders and analysts that the future of the workplace is a hybrid model, and businesses need the ability to provide a reliable network and secure application access to their employees, wherever they may be. Securing mobile data and devices is a key enabler to delivering the office anywhere. A private mobile network slice, with safe and secure access to the internet and private corporate network, offers employers the peace of mind that both employees and their corporate devices are safe from cyberthreats.

  1. https://www.helpnetsecurity.com/2021/02/17/malware-2020

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This post was originally published on the Akamai blog.

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