IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

A Partner’s Role in Helping Customers with Secure Remote Access

Now is the time to offer a full security stack of cost-effective remedies designed to mitigate risk even as your business models shifts. By Jon Bove

The recent, rapid transition to telecommuting impacted organizational operations, network management, and the way in which service providers manage security for their customers. As networks continue to experience an influx of end-user devices and more teleworkers connect from remote locations, threat actors have adapted their strategies and deployed new sophisticated attacks to take advantage of this new attack surface. 

Amidst this change, many customers have realized that they do not have the tools necessary to provide scalable visibility and control across their expanding remote networks. For managed security partners, this presents an opportunity to leverage security as a service (SECaaS), cloud offerings, and SD-WAN to help enable a reliable and secure remote access strategy. 

Customer Challenges with Remote Work Environments

The newly expanded remote workforce has generated a significant spike in traffic across both global networks and virtual private networks (VPNs), leaving security teams—especially those that were already understaffed—overburdened. The economic impact of this recent shift has left many customers unwilling or unable to allocate portions of their business-critical budgets toward new security solutions, with most looking to get more out of the solutions they already possess. 

Different traffic patterns coupled with emerging customer needs have made it nearly impossible for service providers to leverage their usual go-to security strategies to secure their customers’ networks. To address these challenges, security providers must present their customers with cost-effective remedies designed to mitigate risk even as their business models shift. This starts with laying the foundation of a secure remote access strategy that is equipped with SD-WAN and cloud capabilities, in addition to intraday SECaaS offerings. 

How Partners Can Provide Secure Remote Access

Secure remote access requires partners to enact security policies and solutions that prevent unauthorized access to a customer’s network or business-critical data. Service providers should leverage the following tools to enable secure remote access for their customers:

Security as a Service

Security as a service extends security solutions to customers with a highly distributed remote workforce that requires access to critical resources. For partners, SECaaS helps deliver additional value by offering security solutions on a subscription basis, thereby reducing CapEx while providing tailored security services for customers. The key to a successful SECaaS model is to acquire a full catalog of security solutions. These solutions should be easy to implement, manage, and scale to help both customers and service providers achieve their end goals.

SD-WAN for Teleworkers

Partners can leverage SD-WAN to ensure reliable connectivity, especially for customer super-users who need fast, reliable, and secure access to a wide variety of bandwidth-hungry business applications. SD-WAN enables individual teleworkers to enjoy on-demand remote access and dynamically scalable performance regardless of their local network availability. In addition to connectivity, SD-WAN allows organizations to balance and manage traffic, prioritizing the most business-critical applications super-users rely on for productivity, and to maintain business continuity. VPN connections between remote workers and the core network—whether hosted on the local network or in the cloud—need to be prioritized. This is precisely the challenge that partners can help organizations address through SD-WAN.

Cloud Security for Remote Work

With the right solution in place, the cloud can provide scalable, manageable, and secure remote access with minimal IT overhead and no need to deploy additional devices. This enables customer organizations to rapidly address new security and connectivity requirements exacerbated by the sudden boom in remote work. Further, cloud security promotes business continuity and flexibility while scaling VPN and back-end VPN tunnels for remote access, mitigating web browsing risks, maintaining visibility and control over SaaS and shadow IT, and securing web applications. As an added benefit, partners can immediately provision necessary cloud capabilities for customers that can then be retired immediately should the need for enhanced cloud capacity or capability no longer exist.

Managed Security as a Service Requires Providing a Full Stack of Security Solutions

To assist customers and promote business continuity amidst the recent, rapid shift to remote work, partners must equip customers with the tools and services they need to enable a successful secure remote access strategy. With SECaaS, SD-WAN, and cloud security solutions and expertise in hand, partners will be well prepared to provide customers with an effective and scalable secure remote access solution that enables ongoing organizational success. 

JON BOVE is vice president of channel sales at Fortinet.

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