As remote work becomes more and more prevalent in every business industry, considering the covid virus outbreak, it’s the best time for companies to get in on the action and benefit from it.
But as you transition your employees to work remotely, you’ll become aware of the challenges and cybersecurity threats you will have to face.
So although remote work offers immense benefits for your organization, it’s not free from risks. Many of these threats are new to companies, and they’re certainly not equipped to handle them.
Here’s how you can learn to ensure safety for your organization and employees by securing remote work access.
What is Remote Access Technology?
Remote access is the ability to enable an authorized person to access a computer or network from another device at any time and location. It allows remote access to tools or information from a network of IT devices.
When we talk about remote access, there are typically two different types. The first comes in the form of technical support using remote access software by a third-party organization, usually a managed service provider (MSP).
The other is the one we’re discussing in this article; it refers to employees accessing work data and resources from their homes or anywhere outside their usual office.
This technology has become much more common ever since the pandemic because of the increasing number of people working from their homes.
Why Do Companies Need to Secure Remote Access?
The extent of cybersecurity attacks and threats significantly increases when employees start working remotely. Countless types of internet security threats and risks emerge, including:
- Workers’ reliance on personal computers
- Unauthorized access to systems or information
- Lack of physical security control
- Unsolicited monitoring and handling of data
It becomes much more challenging for IT personnel to manage and secure their systems when these threats are involved. Another colossal threat that people tend to forget is the risk of providing access or data to an employee over an unprotected public internet connection.
Secure remote access is also necessary to protect your company and employees from web-based threats, such as ransomware, malware, and phishing attacks. These incidents can lead to cyber attackers accessing your company’s and employees’ personal data.
Best Practices to Ensure Secure Remote Access
Plan for Threats in Any Case
People should realize that even big-named organizations, believed to be the most secure in the industry, have been hacked into. Cases of attackers going as far to target small businesses for ransom are also becoming more common, proving that no one is safe.
No system is perfect, and vulnerabilities certainly exist within them. Accepting that you might experience a system breach is one of the best practices for securing remote access. Many companies fail to acknowledge this mindset, ignoring numerous security risks which could lead to disaster.
Create a Cybersecurity Policy
Once you authorize employees to work remotely, setting rules and basic guidelines that must be followed is the next crucial step. Hackers could easily use your employees to breach the system infrastructure without an adequate strategy.
Every company needs to develop a cybersecurity policy that defines certain aspects, like:
- Which personal devices employees are allowed to use when working remotely if any.
- What data employees can share or download into their personal devices.
- Whether employees are allowed to use their given remote devices for non-work-related activities.
Pick a Remote Access Software
There are primarily three ways companies can secure the work they share online. Each method has its advantages and drawbacks; one might work better for a specific company, while some would work better for others. Here are your options:
Virtual Private Networks
A virtual private network (VPN) extends a private network over a public one and permits users to transfer data across any shared or public network as if it was private. With a VPN, remote employees can protect data transmissions from malicious external parties.
Although VPN software and installation vary across operating systems, it’s pretty simple for anyone to do. The main drawback of a VPN is the possibility of attracting malware to the network it connects to.
Desktop sharing is a standard method of providing remote computer access. It allows a remote computer to connect to the host computer or network of computers from any external location. This means users will also have access to local files on the host computer.
Despite the benefits that remote PC access carries, this kind of software involves high risk since it exposes the computer’s internal network and creates external threats.
Direct Application Access
Direct access through an application, in most cases, carries the lowest risk compared to the other options. It takes attention away from the company’s internal systems and directs it towards an individual application where employees can remotely work.
But even though it limits the risks of cyber threats, it constricts employees to work within the bounds of one single application.
Use Encryption for Sensitive Information
Ensuring data encryption is the best practice from a security standpoint, regardless of whether you’re sharing access. It’s equally important that the access methods you utilize also use encryption to protect remote workers’ connections and data.
To put it simply, encryption is a way to conceal information by altering it and converting data into code or ciphertext, which can only be accessed using a key or cipher. Encryption software is an additional layer of security that is essential for business and remote workers.
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