Building the Security of Today for Tomorrow’s Workplace

June 23, 2022

By Mike Balestrino, Director, Strategy & Operations, B Capital Group and Angela Yang, Associate, Strategy & Operations, B Capital Group.

The Age-old – Specifically, 2-year-old – Question: What is the Future of Work?

“What is the future of work?” An impossible question to answer with any certainty, but recent speculation suggests a range of models, from fully remote to fully in-office, with many companies straddling the ever-evolving, ‘hybrid’ space. Even intra-company work models stand to vary by function and employee needs, adding ever more complexity to the debate.

While we may not be able to predict the future of work, it’s nearly certain that topical trends like employee mobility, flexibility, and geographic relocation aren’t going away. In an increasingly distributed work environment, how do companies keep their interactions and data secure?

Compounding the challenge is that more companies are moving to cloud infrastructure. According to BCG research, cloud technology is already a $120B industry growing at ~30% annually. Four out of five enterprises are now “multi-cloud,” meaning they use or deploy multiple cloud environments across the organization. “What does this mean for traditional, hardware-based security and networking architectures? It means they won’t work,” notes BCG Partner and Associate Director, Enterprise Software & Cloud, Pranay Ahlawat. If we know the future of work demands flexibility, yet traditional security architectures aren’t built to support distributed workforces, what will companies do?

“What does this mean for traditional, hardware-based security and networking architectures? It means they won’t work,”

Until recently, the enterprise world has relied on on-premises (proximate to offices), server-based security protocols with defined perimeters. COVID stressed that operating model by requiring companies to figure out how to secure borderless work boundaries without inhibiting employee productivity.

Like Thomas Friedman’s thesis that globalization “flattened the world” in his 2001 best-selling novel, The World is Flat, the evolution of working norms has catalyzed the innovation of ‘new-age’ security solutions that provide seamless and dynamic global coverage at a moment’s notice. As businesses deploy new IT architectures like cloud and edge computing, access requirements have become inverted, with more users, devices, applications, services, and data located outside the enterprise. What does this tell us? At a minimum, cloud-based, dynamic software-defined perimeters that can scale up or down across the enterprise will become the de facto corporate standard.

How to secure borderless work boundaries without inhibiting employee productivity in an ever-evolving work environment? 

After months of research, diligence, and conversations with cloud and cybersecurity experts (including industry consulting experts at our strategic partner, BCG), we were fortunate to identify and establish a long-term partnership with our new portfolio company, Perimeter 81. Perimeter 81 is squarely focused on solving the aforementioned cybersecurity challenges that are often manifested in ‘future of work’ environments. The team, led by Co-founders Amit Bareket (CEO) and Sagi Gidali (Chief Growth Officer), has built a best-in-class security platform that accommodates all future of work models through its ‘radically simple’ network security architecture. Perimeter 81’s one-of-a-kind Cybersecurity Experience Platform (CSX) allows companies to secure their hybrid cloud and on-premises networks via critical, cloud-based security services such as Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), Firewall as a Service (FWaaS), Secure Web Gateway (SWG), and more.

Perimeter 81 makes network security intuitively simple and easy-to-manage resulting in over 250 hours of manual configuration time saved when compared with management of legacy hardware solutions (e.g., physical firewalls and VPNs). For example, by adopting zero-trust security principles, the platform can provide dynamic and granular access controls and network configuration by user or group – its distributed network services can scale up or down and be redefined in real-time as directed by the customer. It also offers high-utility features such as real-time network visibility and a host of cloud and device integrations that ensure top-to-bottom coverage across every corner of the network. The output from implementing Perimeter 81 is an efficient security apparatus that can be scaled in minutes across departments and employees regardless of location. As one customer noted, “Perimeter 81 saved the day for remote workers at my company.” ‘With 2,400+ customers, Perimeter 81 is defining the north star for the new network security platform by focusing on simplicity, flexibility, and ease-of-use.’

“Perimeter 81 saved the day for remote workers at my company.”

What does all this mean and how does it tie back to the future of work? For one, as companies shift from on-premises to cloud firewalls, they are effectively leveraging the internet as their new corporate network – this is a significant departure from when intra-company data was secured via VPNs.

With constant flows of information between companies via cloud applications, the risk of a data breach is higher now than ever before. Furthermore, companies that have adopted hybrid or full-remote work environments are growing more reliant on digital infrastructure, which when not secured appropriately, increases exposure risk. However, while this ‘adoption of digital’ isn’t devoid of risk, it’s important to note that it has proven advantageous. A recent study by the Future Forum revealed that companies that invested in digital infrastructure over the last two years experienced a 54% increase in employee productivity gains. Given the fine line between productivity and over-exposure, solutions such as the Perimeter 81 CSX platform will be critical to ensuring companies can reap the productivity benefits while maintaining a proper security posture.

How do we know these solutions will be enough?

While we can’t know exactly what the future of work will look like, network software that’s simple, flexible, and responsive will likely be more sustainable than rigid, hardware-based solutions. Putting on our Nostradamus hat, we believe that the uncertainty around the future of work and the dichotomous certainty in the shift to cloud will necessitate a more dynamic network security infrastructure.

In a world full of rigid, native-on-premises, and niche point solutions, Perimeter 81 stands out with its ‘radical simplicity’ and an eye toward the future. We’re thrilled to start this partnership journey with Perimeter81 and look forward to the impact it will have on the future of work!