A digital revolution brings about benefits, but also new vulnerabilities. Telecom Review Asia interviews Sylvain Lejeune, sales leader, Asia Pacific, WatchGuard to find out about the current threatscape and how organizations can build cyber resilience to support growth and transformation.
Cyber threats have consistently been on the rise. What are some of the cyber threats trends in the Asia-Pacific region? Are there industries and countries that are more vulnerable to these threats?
Primary cyberattack vectors in the Asia-Pacific region are identity theft and advanced malware. The former is performed by threat actors who use phishing techniques or simply steal one’s user name and passwords. The latter is executed through malicious links or attachments which will trigger a malicious piece of code to disable one’s endpoint or network with the aim of stealing sensitive data, intellectual property or cash.
Generally, smaller organizations represent low-lying fruits for threat actors to infiltrate and exploit IT vulnerabilities. While increased threat levels are prevalent across all industries, one of the hardest hit is the healthcare industry, where data is of high value to threat actors. Australia’s healthcare, for instance, has been in the spotlight for incessant ransomware attacks in the last two years. Other prime targets include critical industries such as logistics, utilities, and oil and gas as malicious actors have a high probability of securing revenues due to the strategic, critical nature of the company’s assets.
Given that managed service providers (MSPs) are gateways to vital clients’ resources, MSPs attacks are also gaining traction as an indirect way for threat actors to breach into hundreds of end-clients’ networks.
Remote working has exposed organizations to pervasive threat levels during this pandemic. How is a zero-trust approach important in addressing new and more sophisticated threats?
With remote work, the security perimeter has extended beyond the office to employees’ homes. Increased users’ endpoints and connections from homes to the office’s central location or branch office, unfortunately, offers multiple entry points for attackers. As such, organizations must assume that nothing is to be trusted by adopting a zero-trust approach founded on two key tenets paramount to security.
Firstly, a zero-trust framework performs continuous monitoring and classification of endpoints, identities, and networks in real-time to provide authentication and access. Enablers of zero-trust capabilities include a strong identity framework to ensure the user is who he or she claims to be, equipped with powerful AI to detect never-seen-before malicious code and evasion techniques, and finally a team of IT security experts. This greatly enhances an organization’s IT security posture.
Secondly, zero-trust cannot exist as just architecture, but as a culture to be embraced organization-wide. With users being the first and last line of defence, organizations must adopt a top-down approach in raising user awareness, with emphasis placed on educating all users so that they essentially become “human firewalls”.
As critical communications providers, the telecommunications industry is susceptible to increased cyberattacks. How can telecoms safeguard their networks, clients, and customers?
Cybersecurity is paramount to gaining and maintaining trust, and telcos and MSPs have a key role to play in this regard. No single defence will protect telcos and their clients completely given multiple points of weaknesses. The recent Kaseya ransomware attack underscores the importance of a multi-layered security framework for telecom providers to protect both their critical infrastructure and their end-clients. In terms of infrastructure, for instance, they need to deploy capabilities to mitigate risks of service disruption such as DNS attacks and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.
With respect to end-clients, telcos and MSPs can embed security at the core of their products and services to offer differentiated solutions to retail and business clients, and by doing so, seek new revenue streams. These capabilities include multi-factor authentication (MFA), secure remote access points, evasive malware and phishing detection, prevention and remediation, endpoint detection and response, patch management, and threat hunting.
Cloud is becoming a new hotspot for cyberattacks. How does this shift to the cloud challenge cybersecurity and what can be done to counter this?
IT managers have to navigate added complexities as workloads are now present in various locations including on-premise, and public and private clouds. Furthermore, workloads are accessed by employees from various locations such as corporate premises and homes, making it critical for telcos and MSPs to access real-time telemetry data coming from all users, endpoints, and networks. Leveraging that data, a single, cloud-based security platform purpose-built from the ground up simplifies every aspect of service delivery for MSPs to counter these challenges and provide organizations the bandwidth to achieve a unified and secured view.
How do automation and analytics boost cybersecurity management?
Automation is critical to delivering IT security solutions that are simple to deploy, maintain, and manage. For instance, automation makes it possible for a large retail client to deploy a firewall in multiple branches and store locations with an IT team of less than 10. Except for banks and large enterprise clients, most end-clients have limited IT staff, let alone IT security experts. Therefore, automation is key to the adoption of robust cybersecurity capabilities. In terms of building cybersecurity resilience, analytics is critical to correlate data from endpoints, users, and network appliances to detect and remediate malicious activities.
How does WatchGuard partner telecoms in delivering cybersecurity solutions to enterprises?
When it comes to security, the deployment of point solutions is a dying strategy. Solution providers and the end-users they protect need access to a robust stack of security solutions to provide on-going protection of information and people.
MSP enablement is a key focus for WatchGuard and its partners, because now more than ever, organizations are relying on trusted service providers to help manage security and fill resource and expertise gaps. As a result, partners are increasingly adding high-value managed security services to their offerings while transitioning their business models.
The WatchGuardONE program makes it easy for partners to transition to an “as-a-service” model, while adopting WatchGuard’s expanding product portfolio. WatchGuard’s strategy is centered around helping these partners deliver better security services to customers through its flexible partner program, tailored billing options, excellent support, security-as-a-service solutions, simplified education and training program, and streamlined platform for security management, intelligent protection, and actionable visibility.
This represents a tremendous business opportunity for channel partners to expand their portfolios and adopt a services model. But to do this successfully, MSPs need a platform that offers greater coordination across critical security services. We are delivering next-generation antivirus, AI-enabled endpoint detection and response, network security and authentication services as a unified security platform that enables MSPs to provide complete protection for customers today, and we are making it simpler and more streamlined than ever to manage.
We have a long history of working with telcos and MSPs. Some recent use cases include our partnership with Deutsche Telekom to bundle our purpose-built tabletop appliances to secure corporate networks. We are also providing advanced endpoint security for use on Windows-based 5G- and 4G LTE-enabled PCs powered by Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ to enable sophisticated protection for data and devices from chip to cloud.
2021 marks WatchGuard’s 25 years of business and a huge milestone for the company. During this span of over two decades, how did WatchGuard evolve from a firewall company to selling end-to-end cybersecurity solutions now?
WatchGuard Technologies has always been innovating to make IT security accessible to organizations of all sizes. We started with a focus on firewalls, and over time, expanded our product portfolio to include a range of easy-to-deploy and consume secure Wifi, multi-factor authentication, and endpoint security. This gives us the opportunity to support our partner community in building a comprehensive IT security practice, and better protect their end-clients’ users, networks, and endpoints.
How does WatchGuard differentiate itself from other security vendors?
We differentiate ourselves in three ways. Firstly, simplicity is at the core of every single one of our services and products. Since many organizations have neither the necessary skills nor the financial resources to purchase, deploy, and maintain robust IT security, we focus on simplicity to ensure that organizations of all sizes can readily adopt enterprise-grade cybersecurity solutions.
Secondly, our business model is founded on collaborations with MSPs to deliver best-in-class IT security. Working through partners such as MSPs has been in our DNA since our inception. By joining forces with MSPs, we deliver capabilities and expertise to better protect end-clients regardless of their IT skill levels at an affordable cost point.
Finally, we offer flexibility in the way end-clients procure our solutions through our partners: be it through Capex budget or a Opex pay-as-you-go basis. Over the years, we have been innovating with billing and purchasing to ensure that we provide both MSPs and end-clients maximum flexibility to reap unlimited benefits.
Sylvain Lejeune is a business leader in Cloud, Cyber Security, Hybrid IT and Telecom technologies. He resides in Singapore since 2005 and leads WatchGuard's sales organization in the APJ Region.
About WatchGuard Technologies, Inc.
WatchGuard® Technologies, Inc. is a global leader in network security, secure Wi-Fi, multi-factor authentication, advanced endpoint protection, and network intelligence. The company’s award-winning products and services are trusted around the world by nearly 18,000 security resellers and service providers to protect more than 250,000 customers. WatchGuard’s mission is to make enterprise-grade security accessible to companies of all types and sizes through simplicity, making WatchGuard an ideal solution for midmarket businesses and distributed enterprises. The company is headquartered in Seattle, Washington, with offices throughout North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Latin America. To learn more, visit WatchGuard.com.
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