Many businesses seek out ways to modernize their IT operations and improve their efficiency while adapting to new distributed ways of working. In doing so, they must be aware that threat actors have also evolved significantly over the past few years, just as our work practices have. Given this, organizations must adopt a security-first mindset when modernizing their IT operations. Here's why you should, along with some best practices to follow in your changing environment.
It’s apparent that traditional IT practices—both in an operations and security sense—are not keeping pace with modern business needs or threat actors. A majority of IT resources now reside in the cloud, and distributed workforces have replaced physical offices for many organizations. Traditional, perimeter-centric approaches are inadequate for containing and securing these dispersed users and resources.
To meet the demands of modern work environments, businesses are turning to the cloud to maintain agility and ensure business continuity that would be otherwise unattainable with traditional methods. Cloud-driven IT enables organizations to facilitate effective communication, collaboration, and access to necessary work resources for all employees, whether they are in the office or working remotely. It also provides significant elasticity to scale up or down with the changing macroeconomic environment.
While distributed IT offers increased extensibility, allowing businesses to operate from anywhere and at any time, it also expands the attack surface, necessitating heightened security measures.
Today’s attackers constantly seek ways to exploit businesses and those with unsecured, disparate resources are easier to target. Daily news reports highlight businesses of all sizes with legacy infrastructure and outdated IT practices as the latest victims of attacks. These organizations, constrained by their on-premises investments, struggle to integrate old methods with newer technologies, resulting in inevitable gaps in their security measures.
Specifically, concepts such as the network perimeter and implicit trust enable threat actors to move laterally and persistently within an organization once they have gained initial access. Moreover, the presence of unsecured hybrid resources allows threat actors to target unsuspecting users through techniques like business email compromise, exploiting the gaps between the cloud and on-premises environments to gain access to the entire IT landscape.
As organizations transition towards the cloud, it becomes crucial to prioritize security and incorporate it into their operations from the very beginning. This requires letting go of outdated security techniques and embracing newer, more adaptive approaches.
When building security into your IT modernization efforts, here are a few techniques to consider:
Of course, these are only a few of the considerations you need in mind as you modernize your environment. To learn more about how to go about it in practice, check out this webinar featuring Ernest Murry, CTO of Genuine Technology Group. In it, we discuss real-world applications of the security-first mindset in action leveraging Intune and other key equipment in the MSP toolbelt.
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