Zero Trust: The Key to a Hybrid Workforce

Jun 21, 2023
4 minutes

To most people, cybersecurity breaches seem like a distant threat. But cybercrime presents real and present danger to individuals and businesses alike. In fact, total losses resulting from internet cybercrime grew approximately 50% from 2021 to 2022 — jumping from $6.9 to $10.3 billion — while the total U.S. reported crime complaints decreased 5%, according to the 2022 FBI Internet Crime Report.

Meanwhile, ransomware gangs increasingly target data theft for extortion and harassment. Vice Society, one such gang, has attacked at least 137 school systems and local governments since 2021. In one school district attack, Vice Society published student mental health records, demonstrating that no one is off limits.

Driving Factors of Cybercrime

Many factors drive the rise in cybercrime. Threat actors are motivated and use new, AI-driven technologies, which are readily available on the internet and make it easy to attack individuals and organizations.

At the same time, interconnectivity and the shift to remote and hybrid work expose individuals and businesses to threats at home, where they might not have adequate protection. As these working models bring an increasing number of cyberthreats to our doorstep, the average American home faces 100+ cybersecurity threats each month.

The Challenge for Business and Government

According to Palo Alto Networks “What’s Next in Cyber” report, almost half of North American C-level executives plan to dedicate a quarter to half of their cybersecurity budget to hybrid workforce security. While the U.S. government makes strides advancing Zero Trust, state and local organizations face unique challenges that make adoption difficult.

Helping the workforce adapt to a work-from-home lifestyle doesn’t just mean daily check-ins. The technology that makes remote work possible must be secured in new ways, requiring a new and modern approach to cybersecurity. While trust among coworkers is vital, effective cybersecurity requires a healthy degree of suspicion. Team building and trust exercises have their place. But when it comes to technology, we must maintain a “trust no one” mentality.

Remote Learning, Diverse Workforce Development Opportunities

Remote work requires a sea change in how we think about education and workforce development. A capable and diverse workforce with problem solving and project management skills will be in demand as Zero Trust security and similar innovations create career roles that didn’t previously exist, such as the Zero Trust architect.

To help states accelerate adoption of Zero Trust practices, our industries must embrace and prepare the new workforce. Federal leaders set examples with Zero Trust that our state, local and business leaders must follow. If successful, they’ll not only keep the economy and people safe but also support the development of a next-generation tech workforce.

In Support of Next-Gen Professionals

We see the ways to qualify for jobs changing, with employers hiring more credential and certificate program graduates and companies tapping into new and diverse talent pools. Palo Alto Networks helps state and local governments and educators develop and train the next generation of cybersecurity professionals for the new Zero Trust workforce.

The Palo Alto Networks Cybersecurity Academy is helping to develop the next generation of cyber-informed educators by assisting schools to deliver modern, real-life education about cybersecurity.

The Cyber A.C.E.S. Program, or Activities in Cybersecurity Education for Students Program, empowers students ages 5-15 to have safe online experiences. Our partnership with Girl Scouts of the USA led to a cybersecurity curriculum and corresponding first-ever Cybersecurity Badge. Together, these programs, among others, set the stage for young adults to move into cyber roles when they graduate.

With other programs, like our SE (Systems Engineering) Academies and Cyber STARS, a collaboration with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, we focus on supporting and guiding college students and recent graduates.

For current cybersecurity professionals, Palo Alto Networks Beacon provides access to on-demand learning about cybersecurity and the Palo Alto Networks portfolio. The Beacon portal provides comprehensive courses on everything from cybersecurity fundamentals to advanced threat hunting and incident response.

Contact your Palo Alto Networks account executive to learn more.

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