Remote work has become an excellent option for organizations due to the widespread adoption of cloud technology. Most people have access to high-speed internet. Thus, they can do remote work from anywhere in the world. The productivity and flexibility benefits of remote work are a big win for companies. Remote work looks like a win-win situation for both organizations and employees. However, this is not true for IT professionals.
Remote work comes with a lot of challenges. Your IT team needs to handle these challenges for allowing smooth remote work. Security is the biggest challenge of remote work. The benefits of remote work won’t help you if your data gets leaked. Companies are busy setting up and upgrading their infrastructure for allowing remote workers. However, attackers are also looking for new tactics. They know that remote work will increase the attack surface of businesses. Thus, they are looking for new methods to attack businesses.
It doesn’t matter how much developed your systems are. Security should be the topmost priority for your business. If your data gets leaked, then your business will be in big trouble. Sometimes entire business can get wiped out due to a security breach. In this article, we are going to share the best practices for remote access security.
Encryption can help you in protecting your data from attackers. If you are storing all the data in plain format, then anyone can access it. Encryption will help you in ensuring the privacy and confidentiality of the data that is present in your devices. If some attacker gets access to your device, then they can’t steal your data as it will be encrypted. Encryption will help you in protecting your data from unauthorized access. You can easily enable encryption in your systems.
Install anti-malware and antivirus
Anti-malware and antivirus software can help you in protecting your systems from viruses and ransomware. They are also required for regulatory compliance. However, these tools are not limited to regulatory compliance only. Anti-malware and antivirus solutions will provide an extra layer of security protection to your business. It will help you in protecting your users from attackers. Make sure that you are choosing the best antivirus and anti-malware software available in the market. This will help you in protecting your devices and users.
Use a strong password policy
If your users are using weak passwords, then you are inviting attackers. Attackers can use simple attacks like brute force attacks for gaining access to your network. Thus, you should ensure that your employees are using a strong password. You need to create a strong password policy for ensuring that your employees are using strong passwords. This policy will help you in creating good password hygiene. Make sure that your policy checks for the complexity and length of the password. It should also enable automatic lock and disable automatic login.
The main problem with complex passwords is that they are too difficult to remember. Thus, your employees will generally use simple passwords. There are various applications that your employees are using. They need to remember unique passwords for all these applications. This is generally a very difficult task. You shouldn’t burden your users. Thus, you should use a password manager for enforcing your password policy. A password manager will help you in creating strong passwords. It will remember all the passwords for you. All you need to do is login into your password manager and check the password.
Use Mobile Device Management
This is another key challenge that companies are facing. You need to provide secure remote access to your employees. The personal devices of your employees won’t have the same security. Your office devices are already configured properly. You can solve this problem by using a Mobile Device management solution. MDM solutions will help you in managing and monitoring your devices. This will ensure that you can remotely monitor your employee devices.
MDM solutions will help you in easily installing and configuring applications. Your IT team can push updates to all the remote devices. You can also manage mobile devices like mobile phones, tablets, and laptops from a centralized location. This will help you in simplifying the security of mobile devices. It will also enhance the security of mobile devices.
If your employees are working remotely, then they might use public Wi-Fi at hotels, airports, or other public areas. Thus, you should ensure that attackers can’t snoop or intercept their connections. Most public WI-Fi networks are not secure. Attackers can easily spoof connections if your employees are not taking strict measures.
A Virtual Private Network or VPN can help you in solving this problem. It will ensure that your employees can securely connect with the office network. VPN will help you in enhancing the security of your network. It will allow your employees to access your company resources from anywhere in the world. They can use any high-speed internet connection for doing your work. This will remove the restrictions that they always need access to their private network. VPN is very important for every organization. If you want to enable remote work, then you should start by buying a VPN suite for your entire enterprise. This is especially important for organizations that depend on services and sales teams that work in the field.
Avoid using RDP
RDP or Remote desktop protocol is used for creating remote desktop sessions. Your employees can use RDP for accessing their office desktops from their personal devices. This RDP is present in Windows by default. Even mac users can use this protocol for accessing other desktops. RDP is very popular and it is used by many businesses.
However, RDP is prone to cyber-attacks and vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities can compromise your entire network. RDP sessions are known to be vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks. These RDP sessions are also vulnerable to remote code execution and credential harvesting. Attackers can even directly drop malware or ransomware by exploiting RDP connections. Thus, you should avoid using RDP or Remote desktop protocol.
2FA or Two-factor authentication will provide great security to your business. The best thing about 2FA is that you can easily implement it. You don’t need to worry about investing anything in implementing it. 2FA is a type of MFA or Multi-factor authentication. In this, first, you need to provide your normal username and password. After that, you need to provide an OTP or one-time password. This OTP will be sent to your mobile devices generally. Thus, it is very difficult to steal it.
This additional step can stop most attacks. Now attackers can’t access your employee accounts even if they have access to their passwords. This step will add a security layer. Thus, attackers need to do more work for stealing your account. They need to hack the mobile devices of your employees. However, mobile devices are generally very secure. Thus, 2FA can stop most of the cyber attacks.
IAM or Identity and Access Management solutions will help you in securing enterprise resources. These solutions will help you in managing access privileges, rights, and digital identities. This will help you in managing how employees gain digital permissions and identities. IAM will help you in validating the software and hardware that are requesting access.
Identity and Access management will help you in solving the problem of ensuring that the correct devices have the correct level of IT access. Access management is difficult in a complex business environment. Thus, you should ensure that you are using IAM solutions. IAM solutions are using AI, ML, and risk-based authentication for protecting your network. You can apply for role-based access by using IAM. It will help you in controlling access to your IT devices. Also, IAM will help you in regulating access to networks, applications, and systems from a single centralized platform.
Usernames and passwords can’t help you in protecting your business from attackers. If you want to maintain good security standards or keep up with compliance requirements, then IAM solutions are very important for you.
Conduct security audits
Regular risk assessments and security audits will help you in identifying, analyzing, and evaluating vulnerabilities. You can include remote work and remote services as a part of your IT security audit. Some companies are going for a separate audit for remote services specifically.
Make sure that your remote services audit should focus on VPN logins and logins to both on-premises and cloud services. Make sure that you are checking the RDP sessions and checking the configurations of all your important resources. User activity on cloud solutions should be checked. Failed login attempts and port scans can help you in gathering important data.
All this data will help you in creating a benchmark or baseline for normal use. This will help you in flagging suspicious activity in your network. If there are spikes or anomalies in network traffic or user activity, then you can easily detect them. Make sure that you are documenting the results of all your IT audits. Also, you should make changes that will help you in protecting your network.
- Ensure all applications and OS are up to date
Software patches and updates are very important for your business. They will help you in improving the performance, usability, and functionality of your systems. If you are not updating your software, then you are giving attackers time to attack your business. They can use unpatched known vulnerabilities for attacking your network. Your vendor has already released a security patch for the vulnerability. Thus, you should quickly install the security patches. The WannaCry ransomware is the best example of this. If you don’t update your system, then your business can become a target of attack.
Train your staff
You can’t protect your business by upgrading your technology only. There is no security system that can provide 100% IT security to your business. Most security breaches actually occur due to human errors and social attacks. Attackers will use simple attacks like social engineering and phishing attacks for attacking your business. If you want to protect your business, then you should start by focusing on the weakest link i.e your employees.
Every good IT security strategy will focus on creating a security-conscious culture. Good security-conscious culture and the right tools can help you in mitigating security risks. If you want to create a security-conscious culture, then you need to provide regular training to your employees. You should keep your employees engaged by providing security awareness training to your employees. Creating a culture is a difficult and long process. However, it is worth the resources that you need to invest in creating a culture. A security-conscious culture will help you in creating a sustainable security system. This will help you in contributing a strong overall defense.
Most organizations are moving towards remote work. If you are moving towards remote work, then you should be ready for the unique cybersecurity challenges. Remote work is offering various advantages to companies. However, it will add new security challenges to the old office environments. Most companies don’t have experience with this.
You can follow the practices mentioned in this article for protecting your remote devices. These practices will help you in creating a secure remote working environment. You don’t need to worry about compromising your mobility, flexibility, and security. However, it is difficult to keep up with the pace of the IT security industry. This is especially true for SMBs as they don’t have access to a good IT security team.
SMBs should consider working with a good MSP for solving this problem. Experienced MSPs like Bleuwire can help you in protecting your remote workers from attackers. They will help you in enabling remote work by moving your data to the cloud. Thus, they will help you in digital transformation. At the same time, they will help you in ensuring that your IT infrastructure is secure. If you need more information regarding IT services, then you can contact Bleuwire.