At the onset of the pandemic, when companies rapidly moved their IT systems to the cloud, many took shortcuts that made these efforts less secure. In response, IT providers have designed new security systems to complement the distributed IT model.
Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) is a new IT framework that enables cloud-hosted networking and security-as-a-service for any IT connectivity. A recent Lumen white paper discusses the details of SASE and explores how the IT framework makes it easier to access resources, improve security, and increase network speed.
Distributed Systems Are Easier to Hack
The recent shift to a more distributed IT model has been driven by many factors, including the increasing availability and affordability of cloud computing services, the rise of remote work, the potential cost savings, and the scalability of distributed systems.
But the distributed IT model comes with a cost: heightened security concerns.
Since the start of the pandemic, ransomware attacks have increased by nearly 500%.
“The average payment to unlock corporate resources climbed an astounding 78% to $541,010,” the white paper states. “With a prosecution rate of just 0.05%, cybercriminals have little incentive to rein in their activity as the risk-reward is overwhelmingly in their favor.”
A large part of this is due to the rapid movement toward distributed IT models. When the pandemic hit, many banks had to quickly figure out how to let their employees work from home. In many cases, they made this happen without any major problems. However, some companies took shortcuts and used simple solutions such as VPNs, or let their employees use their own devices. This left the network even less secure and made it easier for hackers to attack bank branches.
Securing bank branches is an urgent challenge. The average enterprise has more than 400 applications deployed, all of which need to be monitored. According to Lumen, organizations leverage an average of 45 cybersecurity-related tools on their networks today. More than half of IT experts say they’re not quite sure how well these tools work.
Bank branches deploy new technologies all the time yet often don’t have the IT necessary to manage the security on all of them. As a result, many institutions are turning to third parties to manage their general IT and security needs via the SASE paradigm.
Secure Access Service Edge (SASE)—A Better Framework
SASE is a new way of setting up computer networks that makes them secure and easier to manage, especially when more people are working remotely and using different devices. SASE combines various tools and services into one cloud-based system. This makes it easier for bank IT teams to keep everything secure while also making it easier for workers to connect to the network and use the needed resources.
SASE combines several security and network functions into one, with three main features:
- It’s built for the cloud, which makes it faster and more flexible. SASE uses a software-defined perimeter that supports all types of devices and optimizes the quality of service so every application gets the right amount of bandwidth.
- It enforces security policies based on the identity of the user, the device used, and the sensitivity of the resource accessed. Even if users are connecting from different locations or devices, they get the same level of security.
- It has centralized management, which makes it easier for IT teams to set policies and monitor network traffic. It also reduces complexity and cost because IT teams have to deal with fewer vendors and less hardware. Additionally, SASE provides advanced capabilities, including behavior analytics and continuous risk assessments to spot threats that would otherwise be missed.
The Lumen Platform is one example of a system that is designed to work with SASE. It provides a high-performance network that can be adapted to fit the needs of different businesses, making it easier to improve security and manage the network.
Lumen has a large, well-connected network that serves customers in more than 60 countries, with a focus on providing fast and reliable hybrid cloud connectivity and edge computing. What’s more, the Lumen Platform—a cloud-based network and security experience—is designed to simplify network management and enable secure any-to-any connectivity. The platform features integrated, cloud-native architecture, expansive threat intelligence, and flexible management options. By leveraging SASE attributes, the Lumen Platform helps financial institutions achieve their desired business outcomes by providing a high-performance, deeply managed service experience.
IT organizations today are engrossed in keeping their applications and data safe from cyber threats. With new threats appearing all the time and a more complex IT environment, it’s increasingly difficult to manage security effectively. Many companies have hundreds of applications running on different platforms, unmanaged devices, and other vulnerabilities that can be exploited by attackers. To make matters worse, most companies use many different security tools but are not sure how well they actually work. This is especially challenging for financial institutions, which have a distributed business model and need to secure new technologies deployed in branches without adding an unreasonable burden on their IT staff.
To combat this, banks can turn to third-party cloud services and security providers that use the SASE architecture. This will help them keep abreast of the more challenging security environment that comes with decentralized IT and provide security for new applications as they are deployed.