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October 19, 2021

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Remote working

75% of organisations re-evaluate security strategy as remote and hybrid working continues, research shows

A report launched by Menlo Security, has highlighted growing concerns about securing users as the trend for hybrid and remote working is set to remain.

The new report which surveyed over 500 IT decision makers in the US and the UK, including a third at C-level, looks at attitudes to securing remote access to applications and resources and the adoption of zero trust solutions.

While most respondents (83%) said they are confident in their strategy for controlling access to applications for remote users, three-quarters are re-evaluating theirs in the wake of new ways of working and the growth in cloud application use. While half of employees are currently working remotely or adopting a hybrid approach, around two-fifths (42%) are expected to continue in 12 months’ time.

According to the findings, three-quarters (75%) of organisations continue to rely on VPNs (virtual private networks) for controlling remote access to applications, which rises to 81% for organisations of over 10,000 employees. For around a third (36%) of organisations a zero trust approach also forms part of their remote access strategy.

Mark Guntrip, Senior Director of Cybersecurity Strategy at Menlo Security says: “It seems that most businesses are confident in their remote access security, yet are still relying on a traditional and inherently insecure way of doing things using VPNs, which give access to everything on a network.

“With only a third currently using zero trust network access, there’s a real opportunity to provide users with access to only those applications and resources needed to do their job. When you start to adopt this approach across everything you do then your whole security mindset changes.”

The top reason for implementing a zero trust solution is improved security, according to 60% of respondents, regardless of whether they are using it or not. One third (32%) point to ease of use, while speed of access and scalability are both more widely recognised among those already adopting a zero trust approach. Significantly, 40% of respondents believe that implementing a zero trust solution places less pressure on IT.

Despite overall confidence by global IT decision makers in the robustness of their strategy for controlling application access for remote users.

Menlo Security’s research also shows that:

  • Three-quarters of respondents believe that hybrid and remote workers accessing applications on unmanaged devices poses a significant threat to their organisation’s security. Despite this, around a fifth still allow unmanaged devices – laptops, desktops and mobile devices – to connect to corporate applications and resources.
  • While the majority (79%) of respondents have a security strategy in place for remote access by third parties and contractors, there are growing concerns about the risks they present, with just over half (53%) planning to reduce or limit third party/contractor access to systems and resources over the next 12­–18 months.

Mark adds: “As the internet becomes the new corporate network, controlling user access to private applications has become more important than ever. Organisations need to evolve their thinking from providing connectivity to the entire network to segmenting access by each individual application. The right zero trust approach will ensure seamless access between users and the applications they are authorised to use, while all other applications are invisible, preventing lateral discovery across the network.”

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