Enabling remote work: how IT can plan for 2021 and beyond

By William Smith
Kevin Magee of Microsoft Canada and Zscaler’s Lisa Lorenzin, discuss the benefits of a zero trust approach for enabling remote working...

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced a mass uptake in remote working, and it has fallen upon the shoulders of IT professionals to ensure that transition occurs smoothly.

“The initial response to COVID was: ‘we're going to move everything temporarily to the cloud and we're going to get through this, and then we're just going to revert back to how things normally were,’” says Kevin Magee, Chief Security and Compliance Officer at Microsoft Canada. “And this crisis has really made businesses come to the realisation that they have to change what they're doing if they're going to secure their organisations for the future.”

While traditional conceptions of hard perimeter firewalls have their place, an evolution is now required in the new world of work. “If you were starting from scratch today, there's no way that you would do a hard perimeter like that because cloud and mobility have made that hard perimeter, no longer sufficiently agile or sufficiently scalable,” says Lisa Lorenzin, Director, Transformation Strategy at Zscaler. However, Lorenzin explains that you’re not starting from scratch in most cases, so having collaborative partners like Microsoft and Zscaler working together can add value to a company. “Helping organisations transition through a transformation journey is where the guidance of Microsoft and Zscaler working together with a strong connectivity partner like Bell Canada can really make a difference,” adds Lorenzin.

A zero trust approach sidesteps many of the challenges now being presented, as Lorenzin explains. “It's about having a world of context-based trust where the user may be on-premise or-off premise. The application may be in the data center or in the cloud, but the principle of zero trust still applies, which is: I don't implicitly trust anyone to do anything.“

“Zscaler can offer network access that still provides the visibility and security that IT and Security needs to run and secure the business, but vastly increases the user experience. Employees that are happy to use applications are better able to serve their customers,” says Magee. With such a transition taking place, Magee sees benefits across the IT professional landscape. “There's been a positive shift in morale because we are finally delivering on the promise of zero trust, conditional access and a safe user experience that does not compromise security.”

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