7 Best Practices For Securing Remote Access for Employees

Published 2022-10-19

Technology

Best Practices For Securing Remote Access for Employees

The cyber security vulnerabilities that their firms confront have altered as more and more employees have made the switch to remote work. While remote work has many advantages for businesses, it also poses unique security risks that are not present in conventional office settings.

This blog analyses those difficulties and discusses how they alter cyber security standards and provides advice on how to safeguard remote access.

Why is remote access security necessary?

When employees operate remotely, cyber security dangers take on new forms and dimensions. It becomes more difficult for corporate IT staff to manage and secure some emerging sorts of hazards, such as workers' reliance on personal computers, routers, and other devices that could be infected with malware.

When connecting to systems or storage resources that are present in the offices of their employers, employees may be required to access or send data using open internet connections. When all data is kept inside company networks, it is far more difficult for outside parties to eavesdrop on connections and steal important information. If that data is not properly secured, however, this could happen.

Additionally, using a wider range of tools due to remote work increases the attack surface that could be used by attackers. Remote workers use additional apps like RDP and VPN clients in addition to the common ones they use in the office, potentially opening up new security concerns.

Most firms still don't have a secure remote access solution in place

The majority of companies today are making every effort to enable as many of their workers to work from home. Security is still a significant barrier, though.

The major barrier to digital transformation is still thought to be security, which has gotten worse this year. Most of the time, businesses are concerned about their own lack of experience and the apparent difficulty of the tasks that lie ahead.

Remote work v/s In-office work 

In work-from-home situations, threats that exist in conventional work contexts may be utilized in novel ways or on a bigger scale. Phishing attacks, for instance, are not just a problem for workers who work from home, but they may be simpler to carry out when staff members are away from the office, less aware of hazards, and use personal devices to access business resources.

Working remotely and in an office is obviously not the same. When employees are far apart from one another, interactions between them are less natural than when they are nearby. Contracts and paperwork cannot be shared. Some software programs might only be accessible locally.

So what exactly must you do before allowing your staff to work remotely to ensure their productivity and the smooth operation of your business?

Here are the 7 best practices for securing remote access for employees

  1. Protection of Data Off-Site
  2. Make Telework Policies
  3. Enabling off-site file access with security
  4. Tools for Video Communication
  5. Set guidelines for remote work for employees
  6. User Authentication of Employees
  7. Work Together with various Partners and Vendors

Let’s know about these 7 practices one by one

  1. Protection of Data Off-Site

Choose which staff are allowed to work remotely and what tools and systems you'll give them access to. Most staff are devoted to your company, work hard to conduct themselves professionally, and would never intentionally compromise customer data. Despite having the best intentions, research reveals that employees are the main cause of data security breaches.

Your local area network in the office can have multiple layers of firewall security and data security monitoring. You have a variety of options for implementing security measures offsite. It will take time to set up, though, if the technology isn't already there.

5  easier methods for enforcing data security standards

You should take extra care when setting up remote access if your business handles sensitive data.

You should restrict access to, or the printing or downloading of, records like:

  • A patient's medical history
  • Business secrets
  • Secure or confidential financial information
  • Legal or compliance data
  1. Make Telework Policies

Another fundamental step toward managing hazards from remote access is the establishment of explicit standards to guide how employees operate from home.

Businesses should create telework rules that outline details like:

  • Whether or not remote workers are permitted to utilize personal devices.

  • Which information can be downloaded to personal devices by employees and which must remain in the workplace?
  • Whether or not users of remote access devices are permitted to install software that is not connected to their jobs.
  • How staff members who operate remotely and are unable to speak with the IT team in person should report suspected assaults. This kind of advice greatly reduces the security concerns connected with remote access systems.
  1. Enabling off-site file access with security

What about access to files? How can employees access company files if they aren't in the office working? A VPN or the cloud are your two major choices in this situation.

You can limit access so that workers can only connect through a VPN, which offers a direct, encrypted link between their remote device and the main office server. VPN stands for virtual private network. This is a method of giving remote workers complete, secure access. Be strict about the VPN software that staff must use. Free consumer-grade VPN programs could expose your business to viruses or adware. Our earlier article on setting up a small business VPN has further information.

The utilization of cloud applications like G-Suite or Office 365 is the alternative method for gaining access to files. You're ready to proceed if you already have cloud software installed! If not, moving to the cloud is a terrific method to ensure the safety of your information while enabling your staff access to your data from anywhere.

  1. Tools for Video Communication

You presumably already communicate primarily via email. That probably won't ever alter. With remote work, you should think about incorporating a video communication solution so that you can share desktop apps and meet familiar faces through the camera.

Tools for video communication to keep everyone in the loop and focused

  1. Set guidelines for remote work for employees

Make sure everyone is aware of your desired office hours, availability, and output. Make sure staff understand how to log in, how to communicate, and who to call if they run into technological difficulties, especially if remote work is new to them.

Working remotely might be difficult at first for everyone. Although, remember that not all staff will be able to work remotely. Children or other family members can be yelling for their attention. They might not feel at ease using video chat and will require more time to become tech-savvy and adapt their working methods in order to find new ways to collaborate. Maintain tight communication while being patient. It will greatly improve how smoothly the entire procedure goes.

  1. User Authentication of Employees

Employees should be subject to tight access controls, including multifactor authentication, when accessing company resources remotely. In order to ease access, it may be tempting to open up services like file servers to anyone, but doing so poses a serious security risk.

The principle of least privilege, which states that access for all users should be prohibited by default and enabled only for the specific accounts that need it, is a better practice to follow. More settings will be needed, but the increased security benefits are well worth it.

  1. Work Together with various Partners and Vendors

Remote-access circumstances demand careful engagement with third-party partners and providers much more than in conventional settings. The capacity to keep systems and data as secure as feasible when employees are working from outside the office depends on the organizations that, for example, administer file servers that can be accessed over the network or provide remote desktop instances for employees who work remotely.

Choose vendors and partners who share your commitment to remote security and who are equipped to assist you in addressing dangers as they materialize. Choosing security solutions that are as automated as feasible is crucial for managing security risks in the face of existential problems including alarm overload, an overreliance on manual processes, and a lack of skilled workers.

FAQS - 

1. What potential security risks exist when working remotely?

Ans. Unprotected and exposed networks

Employees who work remotely are more likely to use insecure networks like free Wi-Fi. Even private networks are frequently targets of assaults. People are assigned to work from home in environments that they lack the technological know-how to safeguard. 

2. What constitutes a safe and efficient remote working arrangement?

Ans. Standard Secure Remote Worker Requirements

Internet connectivity that is secure. Secure customer and business data access. access to communication technologies that are secure. Tools for collaboration and conferencing can be accessed safely. secure application access for work.

3. How ought employers safeguard the information on employees' devices?

Ans. Encrypt sensitive data that is stored on your computer network, employees' laptops, and other portable storage devices, as well as sensitive data that you communicate to third parties through open networks (like the internet). Think about encrypting internal email communications as well.

 

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Final Thoughts

In the modern workplace, where teams from many industries work remotely, strict remote workforce security is a necessity. A remote workforce presents new opportunities and capabilities, but it also exposes workers to more cyber-related dangers and new threats. Because of this, a robust and stringent remote access security framework is necessary.

Securing remote access can be overwhelming, but doing it little by little should assist to guarantee a calm workplace. You will continually discover new ways to make the process easier as the demand for remote work increases. The best course of action is to always look for more unusual alternatives for securing remote access while maintaining simplicity and practicality.

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