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What is the Next Battlefield for Zero Trust After its First Win in Remote Working?

Zero Trust strategy has never been more valued in the massive remote working in 2020, but its value lies more in the novel office mode and pervasive secured office experience from the digital world. We all hope the whole world could return to normal office mode as soon as possible; however, it can be forecast that the sweeping of Zero Trust strategy won’t come to a stop in the business world.

As expected by Gartner, people who choose remote working will rise from 30% to 60% by 2023 and at a much wider scope of jobs involved.

Although some companies have initialized remote working even a decade ago, the coverage in this year is really unprecedented. Moreover, many of them are just taken aback by the abrupt outbreak of the pandemic.

We cannot help thinking about how businesses cope with such unexpected massive remote working demand in an elegant way should. Does it mean we have to return to the conventional way of connection by offering users hidden trust or confiding the employees again within a narrow workplace after the pandemic gets under control?

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The sudden outbreak of the pandemic pushes all the businesses to the entrance to a completely new world.

We are seeking to find a brand-new normalized working pattern that is not invoked only amid an accident but comes to deal with unforeseen circumstances at ease.

To this end, we have interviewed a great number of business clients in order to understand their experience and appeals over the past year. It is found out those cutting-edge tech companies have roughly experienced four stages and expressed highly consistent appeals in each of those stages.

Surprisingly, many findings coincide with the suggestions offered by Gartner in their report Best Network Practices to Support Work-From-Home Initiatives1.

Stage 1: Quickly restore the business continuity

In this stage, one core appeal is “all-hands-on-desk” or “just make it work”. It means companies must determine their priority within a short period of time, which makes expansion speed a critical issue. As we all know, once being given a deadline, even a normal task will become much harder.

The VPN solutions based on traditional hardware have limited emergency expansion capacity. Affected by the complexity of the supply chain and deployment process, the business may be affected for several days or even weeks. Even if based on cloud, the VPN solutions are still beset by the emergency expansion of businesses’ portal flow. However, this is just a beginning, because complicated initialization of strategies and configurations are expected to ensue, which would further prolong the whole response cycle.

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What businesses really need is some solutions that can cope with unprecedented accidents with great ease. Such solutions should meet the following three conditions at least, namely dynamic expansion, software-defined strategy, and automated operation. More specifically, system capacity must be expanded or compressed in a dynamic way as necessary, and the capacity is put under orderly and scientific management; all the configurations and strategies within the system should be disconnected from the physical layer but defined completely by software and linked to the application layer (through identity, app., data, etc.), and system robustness is free from the effect of physical topology; and all the entities within the system are monitored on a real-time basis and can self-adapt to reverse control as per local or overall tendency.

Stage 2: Optimize user experience

After basic survival issues are solved, businesses begin paying attention to user experience. VPN puts forward higher requirements on network quality, so network suspension and repeated reconnection could substantially undermine employees’ working efficiency. It is recommended by Gartner in their report that businesses must devote themselves to optimizing network performance and establishing network connection criteria for remote working in terms of bandwidth and upload/download speed.

The best user experience is undoubtedly feeling nothing. It means users can access the network just like within the company, no matter at home or in a coffeehouse at a remote corner of the world. The users must be able to access the intranet resources of their companies and start working whenever and wherever they like.

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This ideal working mode is of course dependent on products and solutions that feature high performance but low network expense. The products from DATACLOAK are representative in this respect. The high-performance network tunnel technology employed in Zero Trust products of the company can achieve magnificent throughput that is accompanied by millisecond-level low latency, high concurrency with millions of terminals connected, and almost-zero expense compared to the theoretical bandwidth. In the meanwhile, such capacities as stratified net flow, mutual invisibility, and hierarchical QoS in the same channel can also be achieved.

Stage 3: Guarantee security of enterprise assets

Having their business continuity and working efficiency be warranted, many businesses usually set out to handle assets security issues. In recent years, data leakage events arising from VPN loopholes are nothing uncommon. With the universal application of cloud computing and 5G technology and the higher demands on compliance, physical and isolated infrastructure have already become outdated. How to guarantee data security against the new situation has become an issue that business executives must face.

The risks here include data leakage at terminal devices, excessively authorized access to internal business, misstep by internal staff, and intentional data theft. They may bring great harm to the finance and reputation of businesses if not effectively improved and solved. Though there are quite a number of technical solutions targeting data security available in the market, such as VDI and DLP, they are either too heavy (with expensive construction cost from devices to network) or ineffective in practice (with unrecognizable encrypted text and specific format).

New issues should be solved with new approaches. For instance, the virtual safe workplace created by DATACLOAK is an innovative thought of this kind. Its fundamental idea is to form a virtually safe computing environment above the physical infrastructure (incl. all terminals, servers, IaaS and PaaS) to cover both data and application. If we image data as electric wire, this virtual workplace would be the insulation layer outside the wire. An excellent solution could not only exert control distinctively as per intensity of power but also provide more refined control by classifying the actual demand.

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Stage 4: Develop future-oriented solutions

Looking forward, the continued expansion of remote working is an inevitable trend. A business of foresight will definitely be not content with simply copying the provisional solution during the pandemic but set out to make overall planning and upgrading of its IT infrastructure.

The rapid development of information technology offers us a theoretical basis and practicing techniques, whereas the future vision of the digital world where all things are interconnected clearly prescribes both goal and direction for technical planning. Global giants represented by Google’s BeyondCorp have finished the transition to the global zero-difference office. Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) is expected to completely replace the traditional VPN in the future.

ZTNA has effectively improved the security, flexibility, agility and scalability of remote access. It can even achieve delivery in a consumption-based pricing way, significantly improving businesses’ operational efficiency. In addition to meeting remote working demands, the value of Zero Trust strategy matches with the higher requirements in the cloud era and digital transformation in order to adapt to the stricter security and efficiency requirements from novel working patterns and data circulation. The product innovation accomplished by DATACLOAK based on Zero Trust idea and light-weight reliable computing technology can help the businesses in stably updating themselves to the highest level of Zero Trust architecture—data security architecture.

As a form of energy, electricity lightens up countless households and empowers the industrial revolutions. By contrast, data, as a new production material, will ascend to be the source of power behind the prosperity of future enterprises. DATACLOAK is committed to producing the best security infrastructure so as to escort data to each stop.

1. Best Network Practices to Support Work-From-Home Initiatives, Published 23 September 2020 - ID G00729822

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