Rohit Rai - May 27, 2020

Answering the PM’s clarion call for Atmanirbhar Bharat

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus our unpreparedness in tackling global disruptions. One would think globalization and increased connectivity strengthened us. But a connected world brings with it its own set of problems. As the pandemic rages on, bringing life as we know it to a complete standstill, the world is adapting to a new norm of lockdowns and social distancing. Wearing masks, staying at home, avoiding social contact, is the new norm for people. Similarly, businesses are also adapting to this new normal by learning to function with remote teams.

Despite being the second most populated country, India has been comparatively successful in containing the spread of the contagion. It took us 64 days to reach from 100 to 1 lakh Covid-19 cases, one of the highest in the world. The success is primarily because of the stringent lockdown and other timely counter measures implemented by the government and the public’s adherence to safety measures. However, the lockdown extensions has taken a huge toll on the economy of the country. To revive the ailing economy, our Hon. PM, Shri Narendra Modi, announced a Rs. 20 lakh crore economic stimulus package on the 12th of May. While addressing the nation, he said that the novel coronavirus will be a part of our lives for a very long time, but we cannot confine our lives around it. Few days ago, we entered Lockdown 4.0, with new rules and regulations, enforced till the end of this month.

As people are confined to their houses, businesses are migrating to Work-From-Home (WFH) arrangements to ensure viability. Remote workforce was already on the rise in the pre-lockdown era. It benefitted companies and employees alike. For organizations, it resulted in increased employee productivity and reduced cost of operations as fixed costs, like power, got eliminated. It also allowed for greater flexibility & autonomy for employees. In fact, choice of work environment was becoming a key evaluation factor for many job seekers.

But here’s the catch - Large tech enterprises such as Google or Microsoft have had remote teams for years now. Hence, the required infrastructure and security policies are already in place. But switching to a WFH model for smaller companies is easier said than done. Remote work poses the risk of exposing an organization’s sensitive assets to cyber-security attacks and unwarranted threats. Such threats may culminate in huge losses to businesses, not limited to financial. Safety and security was also the core essence of the PM’s message a week ago, where he talked about his vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) and called on the nation to go ‘local’.

To create a self-reliant India, our local businesses need to become self-reliant. Hence for businesses, the first step has to be safeguarding its assets and securing its workforce against disruptions such as the pandemic we are fighting.

How can our businesses do that?

By creating a solid set of policies, frameworks, and technologies that can manage digital identities and accesses. Identity and Access Management (IAM) solutions can protect sensitive company assets from unwarranted access. It also enables remote employees to securely access the information they need to do their day-to-day tasks. IAM modules such as remote solutions go a long way in creating an integrated, secure, and productive workforce, working from the comfort of their own homes.

There are primarily 3 kinds of remote solutions available in the market – Remote Desktop Protocols (RDP), Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), & Zero trust solutions. RDP is the most widely used remote solution in the world. It is also the least secure of the lot. Hackers can use a wide foray of tools, including services used to map assets on the Internet, to look for vulnerable remote access points to attack. Once they get access, they can easily steal sensitive information, passwords, or even deploy ransomware.

VPN is a siloed solution which facilitates remote access for remote users. The criteria for granting access based on IP addresses are too broad or overly restrictive, which hampers productivity. VPN’s Static, perimeter-based security is ineffective when there are multiple devices scattered and access is granted by remote, disparate servers.

Zero trust solutions on the other hand, is scalable. It integrates with cloud-based and on-premises systems, automatically applying security policies to new deployments. It assesses the user’s context, location, permissions, and device security posture before allowing a connection to the network. Fundamentally, Zero trust allows an authorized user to access the pre-authorized assets only. Rest remains safely out of reach. Its adaptive security controls react to real-time changes in user context and adjust access permissions dynamically to mitigate risk.

Being in the business of managing identities, we are fully ready to answer the PM’s clarion call. We want to be a part of our local business’ journey to self-reliance to create Atmanirbhar Bharat. Our zero trust solution, Zero Trust Access Gateway is helping organizations ensure a healthy, secure, & productive posture of its identity & access ecosystem, while enabling safe access for its remote workforce on a flexible & agile platform. Click here to start the journey of a safe and secure WFH experience for your users & your organization.

Written by Rohit Rai