Due to Coronavirus more and more employees start working remotely and the face of cybersecurity organizations have changed.
Where remote work offers many benefits to companies, but also rising new security challenges that are not present in traditional office environments. In this article we are going to identify those challenges and give tips on how to secure remote access.
Why do I need secure remote access?
When employees work remotely, the nature and scope of cybersecurity threats change. Some new types of risk can arise, when an employee uses their personal computer, routers and other devices because they could be infected with malware. A corporate IT employee can’t manage and secure his system.
Another novel threat is that while connecting to system resources of the organization, employees need to access and send data over public internet connection.
If that data is not properly secured then it might be possible that third parties could corrupt the connection and steal sensitive information. This type of threat wouldn’t be done easily when all the data remains in corporate networks.
Remote work also forces employees to adapt a broad set of unsecure tools, which can increase the potential attack surface for attackers. Instead of standard applications like RDP and VPN Clients, they have to use other remote tools, which can create new vulnerabilities.
Similarly, malware attacks pose a greater risk when an employee works on his personal computer because their software is less likely to be patched against the most recent security threats. On the other hand, if they work on company owned devices it would be more secure from this type of attacks because the office network is centrally managed and updated by a professional IT team.
Threats will occur :- Accept that threat exists is a most basic practice for securing your remote access. This can be difficult to accept for companies that do a good job of securing their organization.
It can also be possible to ignore the security risks of remote-access setups because there is less visibility into the systems that employees use when they work from home, and therefore less opportunity to identify the risks.
The reality is that vulnerabilities always exist in the infrastructure and applications that employees use to take remote. So, IT teams should consider that risks are present, even if they can’t see them.
Create Policies:- Another basic step to secure remote access is creating rules. These clear setting rules will govern how employees work remotely. Below such items should be included in these policies:
- Whether employees are allowed to use personal computers when working remotely.
- Which data can be downloaded to personal devices and which data need to stay in the office computer.
- Whether employees are allowed to install non-work related software on the devices they use for remote work.
- How employees can report suspected attacks when they are working remotely.
Secure Sensitive Data:- One of the best practices to secure your data is data encryption. But it is even more critical when employees work remotely, because devices could be hacked when being used outside the corporate setting or data could be stolen while traveling over the internet.
To secure that data, be sure that all data exchange over the internet is encrypted. Requiring employees to connect to remote systems using VPNs is a simple way to do this, because they provide built-in encryption. Also ensure that remote access tools like RDP clients are up-to-date because outdated clients may not have the feature to encrypt data by default.
Secure Devices used for Remote access:- Ideally personal computers will not be used for remotely work and policy should dictate as such. Companies should provide employees specific devices to work remotely. Those devices should be managed by the corporate IT team and do not contain any unnecessary software that could pose a security risk.
Set up a VPN:- VPNs provide three main benefits: With VPNs you can access resources remotely that would otherwise be inaccessible from offsite locations, while also encrypting connections and providing access control for cooperative networks. Setting up a VPN and requiring all remote connections to pass through it is a basic best practice for keeping resources secure when employees work properly.