Starting with the COVID-19 pandemic and then getting popular because of the advantages it provides to both employees and employers, remote work seems to be here to stay. However, security is a great challenge in remote work. If your IT staff is unable to provide easy access to services, apps, and resources, the advantages of remote work fade away. Additionally, while you are busy building up or updating your infrastructure to allow remote work, cyber criminals are stepping up their attacks and searching for new attack surfaces and channels.
Maintaining security in your organization is crucial no matter how advanced your solutions are for facilitating remote work. The following recommendations will help you make remote access as secure as possible:
- Encrypt your data
Encryption is a great practice in terms of security. However, it becomes increasingly more important when employees work remotely because of the possibility that devices may be stolen when utilized outside of a business environment or that private information could be accessed while being transmitted over the internet.
Encryption is the process of transforming data into code or ciphertext, to put it simply. Only those who have the cipher or key are able to decode the data and utilize it. Software encryption adds an additional degree of security for companies and remote workers. For instance, encryption software is the first line of defense in preventing unauthorized access if a remote employee’s computer is lost or misplaced and is found by a bad actor.
- Don’t neglect using antimalware and antivirus software
As they tend to keep harmful files and possible infections at bay, anti-malware solutions and antivirus software integrate an additional layer of safety for remote access. Additionally, installing such programs and solutions is now required to maintain regulatory compliance. You can make it mandatory for employees to install the necessary software to their devices if you use a BYOD strategy, or you can ask your IT team to download the software to all company devices.
- Update your operating systems and applications regularly
Software vendors regularly update their products to fix security flaws and check their systems for vulnerabilities. However, if you, the end user, choose not to let those fixes take effect, frequently out of the annoyance of a brief interruption of service, your hardware is more likely to be penetrated by a known exploit.
You should incorporate planned downtime for major operating system updates for your organization’s infrastructure into your security strategy. Additionally, it’s important to keep remote PCs, laptops, and other devices’ operating systems updated.
- Implement password best practices
Creating solid passwords is generally taken for granted. However, it is one of the best security precautions you can take. You should have your employees follow all general guidelines when establishing password regulations for your company. This entails creating passwords that are at least eight characters long but preferably closer to 15, using a variety of characters (uppercase, lowercase, symbols, etc.), and never including any portion of the username/login, personal information, or service name. You can also utilize a password management system with a vault to store and send all client and business credentials with compliance-level protection.
- Use multi-factor authentication (MFA)
Even when passwords are strong, it’s sometimes insufficient. For example, 87,000 VPN credentials were exposed by hackers, most of which came from businesses that hadn’t yet set up a more layered authentication system.
By requiring extra elements of authentication, MFA reduces the risks associated with passwords. One of the greatest methods to stop unauthorized people from accessing company data is through MFA.
- Perform regular security audits
Internal network audits and penetration testing done by secure remote access solutions will help find security holes that could have gone unnoticed normally. The key to responding to unanticipated situations quickly is the prompt investigation of odd behaviors or movements of your staff, privileged users, or third-party providers.
You can get information from thorough security logs regarding end user and privileged user activities, including activity metadata, screenshots, and other specifics. You can use this information to conduct a root cause analysis for a security issue and locate cybersecurity weak spots.
- Educate your staff on cybersecurity
The majority of cybersecurity instances can be attributed to negligence, and the only method to eradicate negligence is to educate your employees on cybersecurity. An intense program for security training is crucial because it will assist in providing your employees with the finest precautions needed to guard against security flaws in their remote job. A good employee cybersecurity training and awareness program creates a culture of security for your remote employees and contributes to the overall security of your environment.
Due to emerging technology and the pandemic, safe remote access has undergone significant development over the past several years. What has not changed is its importance and the growing popularity and need behind it. Secure remote access, at its most basic, is the ability for corporate users to connect to centralized applications, resources, and systems regardless of their physical location. If you don’t want your organization to be a victim of the latest cyberattack, securing remote access is a must.
The procedures, methods, and tools involved in providing safe remote access are often led and managed by cybersecurity teams. Their duties include reducing the top cybersecurity threats by enhancing and evaluating the efficacy of access restrictions, monitoring and managing remote access activities, maintaining the most recent versions of remote access rules, and testing remote access operations.