Intelligent CIO APAC Issue 16 - Page 33

EDITOR ’ S QUESTION
SUDIP BANERJEE , SENIOR DIRECTOR , TRANSFORMATION
STRATEGY , ZSCALER

Growing use of cloud-based resources is delivering both benefits and challenges to organizations throughout the region . On one hand there is improved flexibility and efficiency , while on the other there ’ s a need for better IT security .

The continuing increase in cloud usage is being driven by a range of factors , but one of the primary ones is a significant change in work patterns . Where traditionally only a small proportion of employees would work outside an organization ’ s premises , doing so has now become the norm .
The change , brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic , appears likely to be permanent . Staff may eventually start to work from offices again , but it ’ s unlikely to be on a five-day-a-week basis .
For this reason , demand for cloud-based resources is going to remain . Staff will continue to rely on productivity platforms such as Microsoft ’ s Office 365 , collaboration services such as Zoom and Teams , and storage resources such as Dropbox and Google Drive .
A changed technology landscape
This new landscape is very different . In the past , an organization would have had the majority of its IT infrastructure located on-premise and connected using local-area and wide-area networks . maintained while unauthorized access and threats such as ransomware can also be prevented .
For this to be achieved , IT teams need to have full visibility of all network traffic . Unless they can see what ’ s going on , they ’ ll be unable to protect their organization . However , while this visibility is critical , it can be frustratingly difficult to attain . The IT team needs to know who their users are , what devices they are using , and how they are connecting to both on-premise and cloud-based resources .
Further challenges are being posed by the continuing growth in network traffic . This growth is being driven both by increasing use of cloud resources and also a rise in multi-media traffic generated by video conferencing and other activities .
A new approach to security
For these reasons , organizations are increasingly needing to take a different approach to IT security . The combination of remote working and growing use of cloud resources means traditional measures are simply no longer effective . In many cases , existing virtual private network ( VPN ) links can ’ t deliver the goods . They were designed to support small numbers of remote users , but are challenging and expensive to scale to meet the demands of larger user numbers .
This has now changed with remote workers accessing resources over the public Internet , via home Wi-Fi networks . They are also going directly to cloud-based resources without the protection afforded by officebased security measures .
For IT teams , the challenge therefore becomes finding a way to protect the overall IT infrastructure while at the same time ensuring staff still have efficient and reliable access . This is critical to ensure productivity can be
Effective cloud security needs to be based on a zero-trust strategy , where all users must prove their identity and authority to connect . Replacing traditional perimeter defenses , zero trust offers effective protection whether resources are located on-premises or in the cloud .
With the growth in cloud usage only likely to climb , adopting zero trust makes increasing sense . It ’ s time to start your journey today .
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