Survey: COVID-19 Accelerates new Networking, Security Paradigms

The COVID-19 pandemic forced countless enterprises to adopt new ways of doing business, with perhaps the most significant example being support for a remote workforce. Many businesses rushed to implement remote access solutions,  VPNs and new cybersecurity technologies, all while seeking to increase bandwidth and establish control over what had become a decentralized network. Ultimately, the experiment proved both costly and time consuming. However, there were many lessons learned, and now that many businesses have adapted to the “new normal,” those businesses have had time to think about what the immediate future holds for cybersecurity and networking.

A recent survey from CATO Networks reveals that businesses have been thinking long and hard about what challenges remain, and how they may address those challenges in 2021. The survey, which polled 2,376 IT executives and staff, revealed that connecting remote users and securing them dominated IT networking strategies in 2020.

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In fact, 72% of respondents increased investments in VPN resources, 74% increased investment in cybersecurity infrastructure and 57% increased investment in adopting cloud applications. What’s more, 81% of respondents indicated that their enterprises would continue with work from home (WFH) or a hybrid/mixed remote and office-based workforce. Prior to COVID-19, 73% of respondents reported that less than a quarter of their workforce primarily worked remotely. Simply put, COVID-19 has made working remotely the new normal, supported by the fact that only 7% of respondents indicated that, post-pandemic, everyone will move back into the office.

With WFH and remote workers a new business operations standard, businesses are starting to look at newer technologies and approaches to better support and secure those workers. That may be the catalyst for the increased adoption of secure access service edge (SASE), software defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) solutions and zero-trust network access (ZTNA).

“The abrupt surge in remote work has made secure remote access a priority, bringing back to the forefront BYOPC and VPNs for the short term, and emphasizing SASE and ZTNA for the long term,” reports Gartner in their “Hype Cycle for Endpoint Security, 2020” report.

Securely supporting a remote work force has become a common challenge among enterprises, with some 57% of respondents claiming they lacked the time and resources to implement recognized security best practices, such as user and file activity monitoring, analyzing security logs, auditing and training.  However, 58% also said enforcing corporate security policies on remote users remains one of their biggest challenges.

The data in the report bodes well for the purveyors of SASE technology, with 91% of respondents expecting SASE to simplify management and security. Half of respondents (52%) indicated that SASE would be very or extremely important to their businesses post-COVID-19. As more and more vendors – including CATO Networks and vendors such as Akamai, Cloudflare, Forcepoint, Fortinet and many others – offer SASE solutions, there will be plenty of choices available for enterprises looking to adopt SASE.

 

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The COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be a defining moment for cybersecurity. Security perimeters crumbled overnight as entire workforces started working from home, and most gave little thought to the security implications. From a cybersecurity perspective, change reigned. In 2021, many cybersecurity teams are still working to adjust to a new reality. In theory, once ... Read More
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Frank Ohlhorst

Frank is an award-winning technology journalist and IT industry analyst, with extensive experience as a business consultant, editor, author, and blogger. Frank works with both technology startups and established technology ventures, helping them to build channel programs, launch products, validate product quality, create marketing materials, author case studies, eBooks and white papers.

frank-ohlhorst has 40 posts and counting.See all posts by frank-ohlhorst

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