Zero trust: A vital component in the strengthening of hybrid-work capabilities
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Zero trust: A vital component in the strengthening of hybrid-work capabilities

Zero trust: A vital component in the strengthening of hybrid-work capabilities

A zero trust defensive strategy aims to make the organisation’s network software-defined, boost resilience and flexibility, and combat modern-day threats

It has been more than a year since most organisations in the Middle East and Africa region fully embraced the hybrid-work model to accommodate the change precipitated by the pandemic. Among the many benefits of a hybrid setting, they observed increased productivity from their staff as they worked from various remote locations. While there has been an improvement in employee performance and comfort, the hybrid model also created challenges, such as the necessity to protect sensitive data from the risks associated with accessing the open public networks in which employees find themselves.

To facilitate a remote workforce in the modern hybrid era, organisations were required to adopt cloud technology to enhance their digital transformation journey. As the migrations to the cloud accelerated, numerous cloud and network vulnerabilities were exposed. Therefore, it is imperative for businesses to be vigilant and use robust security solutions to protect their operations from looming threats.

This need is reflected in the H1 2021 Trend Micro Midyear Cybersecurity report which reveals that, in the Middle East and North Africa region, security solutions detected and blocked over 183.6 million email threats, over 175,000 URL hosts, and more than 32 million URL victim attacks. Additionally, over nine million malware attacks were identified and stopped. And as the region transitioned into remote work, smart home network (SHN) solutions shielded home devices and networks from a total of 11 million (11,400,362) SHN inbound and outbound attacks and prevented more than 29.6 million SHN events.

To safeguard digital activities in today’s world of hybrid operations, IT leaders in the region must adopt a zero trust architecture to combat stealthy bad actors. Zero trust allows organisations to not only ensure that every network access attempt is constantly vetted and monitored in real-time but also measure the level of risk before granting any access to a network. It reduces downtime by adding smaller rule sets that are easier to apply instantly and automatically. A zero trust defensive strategy aims to make the organisation’s network software-defined, boost resilience and flexibility, and combat modern-day threats that focus on stolen identities or credentials, lateral movement, shadow IT, and internet of things (IoT).

Zero trust is going to play a vital role for organisations going forward, as highlighted by the latest report, Trend Micro Security Predictions for 2022:Toward a new momentum. And applying a zero trust strategy will be one of several key components in a stronger defense strategy against today’s evolving threat landscape.

Today’s technological innovations are undoubtedly powerful; they have the capabilities to completely transform the way we work and live. But as we have discovered and discussed, cybercriminals want to play an infamous role in disrupting the aspirations of enterprises exploring opportunities for growth with the help of today’s technologies. However, the right insights and robust security strategies can not only safeguard the digital ambitions of organisations but propel them to fulfill their potential of becoming industry leaders as they accelerate the region’s progress towards digitisation.

Dr Moataz Bin Ali is the area vice president and managing director at Trend Micro MEA

Read: Trend Micro survey forewarns MENA enterprises of customer record breach in 2022

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