As businesses around the world prepare to transition from work from home (opens in new tab) policies put in place during the pandemic to hybrid working (opens in new tab), Microsoft is urging organizations to adopt a zero trust security approach which covers the entire technology ecosystem.
Even as many employees are getting ready to return to the office, the software giant believes that hybrid work will be the norm going forward. In fact, a recent blog post (opens in new tab) from Forrester predicts that there will be a 300 percent increase in employees working remotely when compared to pre-pandemic levels once Covid has been eradicated.
As more people are working on corporate networks and home networks while moving fluidly between business and personal activities online, the idea of an enterprise network itself is changing with employees' home networks and devices now being part of the corporate network. As a result, organization's corporate networks no longer have firm borders.
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In a new blog post (opens in new tab), corporate vice president of security, compliance and identity Vasu Jakkal has provided insight on how Microsoft is preparing its networks and employees for hybrid work.
Securing hybrid work
Back in March of 2020, Microsoft CISO Bret Arsenault was tasked with transitioning the software giant and its more than 160,000 employees to remote work. Now though, Arsenault has created the software giant's technology plan to transition to hybrid work with a focus on fostering a culture where security is everyone's job (opens in new tab).
Arsenault recommends keeping all devices that need access to corporate resources healthy and managed by protecting them from phishing (opens in new tab) and malicious websites (opens in new tab). Microsoft also plans to offer new training to ensure its employees are empowered and equipped to be more secure both at home and in the office. Finally the company is encouraging its developers to build with a zero trust (opens in new tab) mentality.
Identity is another important aspect of securing hybrid working environments and Jakkal recommends that organizations invest in identity management software (opens in new tab) to provide their employees with single-sign-on (SSO (opens in new tab)) capabilities. At the same time, they should also employ multi-factor authentication (MFA) to secure both their work and personal devices.
Adopting a zero trust strategy is no longer an option for organizations as doing so has now become a business imperative. As part of its zero trust efforts, Microsoft is working towards a passwordless future (opens in new tab) and Jakkal believes we will start to see this transition this year.
Whether you're still working remotely or have already returned to the office, security is now more important than ever and without it, hybrid work won't be practical for organizations.
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