Remote Work Security
The Covid pandemic has compelled companies all around the world to embrace a work-from-home culture. While there are many advantages to this change in work dynamics, it has also highlighted security issues related to remote work.
Why Is Remote Work Security Important & What Does It Entail?
When employees work remotely, firm data is protected by a crucial area of cybersecurity known as remote work security. A remote employee can access crucial corporate data while working remotely or remotely via telework. Their vulnerability to a security threat or breach is so greatly increased.
According to recent data from Twingate, 59 percent of employees felt more secure online while working in the office than while doing so from home. Additionally, 58 percent of workers said they had sensitive information spoken on business video calls. To further understand why remote work security is crucial, let’s now examine the many security issues remote working organizations must deal with.
Security Risks of Remote Work
In a business environment, remote workers are frequently the first to experience security issues. They might unintentionally become involved in a network security incident that quickly spreads to the rest of your business. A personal device, such as a laptop or mobile device, might potentially be a security concern in addition to remote workers.
Here are the main remote work security concerns that companies should take into account:
Managing Remote Devices and Employees:
It might be difficult to keep track of the equipment that remote employees are using and whether or not they are adhering to security procedures on their home networks.
Companies might fail to recognize the importance of a strong password and fail to adopt password managers or rules to make sure remote workers have strong passwords.
Remote workers could fall victim to a phishing scheme. They may be tricked into divulging private information, including banking, credit card, and password details, via a phishing attack.
Unsecured Personal Device:
Freelancers and remote workers may use an unprotected personal device, such as a laptop or a mobile phone. The security of the company’s data may be at risk as a result.
Hackers and other threat actors can use video conferences as a platform for information gathering and the distribution of malicious materials.
Weak Backup Systems:
After a security breach, a lack of proactive maintenance schedules by your IT security team and a trustworthy backup system might result in monetary and intellectual losses.
Let’s quickly examine how IT executives and cyber security leaders can improve remote work security and remote access security in light of this knowledge.
Remote Work Security for Employers
Utilize Advanced Security Measures
While creating security controls is crucial, managers and IT teams should eventually think about more effective strategies. Additional levels of protection must be implemented for each remote worker in order to address the security issues associated with distant work. These layers could consist of:
- A subtype of multi factor authentication used in electronic systems is often implementing 2FA for all distant users. Typically, two-factor authentication or multi-factor authentication only requires a password or other login information. Nevertheless, it might also include other pieces of information or proof, such as PINs, secret questions, or other data to boost the security of remote access.
- You can also encrypt database files using Transparent Data Encryption, or TDE, which is actively used by IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle. TDE can be used to stop potential thieves from getting around the data bank and reading sensitive information as soon as it is stored.
These are just a few strategies that your company can use to increase the security levels of remote access for remote workers. Managers and the IT security team can look at a number of other ways, nevertheless.
These methods consist of:
- Remote users’ signing out when their browsers are closed
- Preventing automatic password completion for a distant employee
- Limiting usage of local networks
Conduct Risk Analyses
Conducting a cyber-security risk evaluation is another procedure you may use to bolster your remote job security. Here is a quick tip to help you minimize your exposure to cyber security risks:
- Determine your company’s essential information technology assets and the effect they have on daily operations.
- The top five business processes that demand or use information should be included.
- Identify and shut down any security threats that have a negative impact on those business functions.
- Prioritize the risk that poses the greatest danger in order to address it first. Data, functional needs, hardware, information storage, interfaces, software, distant users, and other assets can all be prioritized.
- Be ready for dangers like unintentional human intervention, intentional interception (classical hacking), natural calamities, social engineering attacks or impersonation by a malevolent actor, system failure, and more.
- Audits, automated vulnerability scanning tools, information ST&E (security tests and evaluation) procedures, penetration testing methods, and system software security analysis can all be used to identify vulnerabilities.
- Examine and assess security controls, classifying them as either detective or preventive depending on their technological or non-technical nature.
- Regulate the likelihood of an incident to determine the possibility of an exploitable vulnerability.
- Consider the sensitivity of the system and any relevant data when estimating the impact of a security threat.
- Make recommendations regarding the viability, dependability, and overall safety of the relevant organizational policies and regulations.
- To make educated decisions about the budget and other policies, keep track of all outcomes in a cyber-security risk assessment report.
Incorporate better device security measures
Companies may need to implement work device security measures or deal with other security challenges for workers who conduct remote work.
Because of this, a BYOD (bring your own device) policy utilising a personal device can frequently provide some major risks.
So what else can you do?
You can implement security measures as a business by giving your staff members encrypted devices. Remote working poses no security concern because these devices may be protected and maintained by the business.
To keep your staff informed about the software they can use, you can also maintain a blacklist and allow list of programs. Second, your IT department needs to regularly update and check all of your devices.
Additionally, you may make it mandatory for remote workers to only use private, secure Wi-Fi networks rather than open ones. You can reduce the risk of data loss from a corporate network attack by allowing your remote employees to save their files on the cloud with the help of a DMS (Document Management System). Although your IT staff can further identify, there is still a lot of room for keeping devices secure in a telework culture.
Utilize asset management tools
Asset management tools, in general, are programs that can assist you in keeping track of an asset during its full existence, from initial acquisition through eventual disposal. As a result, organizations are able to locate assets, identify who is using them right now, how they are being used, and learn more information about the asset.
When it comes to remote work security, your business needs to deploy an asset management platform because it allows for efficient asset tracking and increases management and supervisor visibility.
Several tools used for asset management are:
- ITAM (IT Asset Management) software is available online through Manage Engine’s Asset Explorer.
- More than a CMMS, IBM Maximo EAM (Enterprise Asset Management) (Computerized maintenance management system)
- A modern response to issues unique to a certain industry is Infor EAM.
- Oracle’s E-Business Suite includes Oracle EAM.
For a business to get the most out of its physical assets, use SAP EAM.
In reality, your security personnel would be able to map software assets, find company-owned devices, and even track down conventional and unconventional IoT (Internet of Things) devices with the use of asset management technologies.
IoT & Remote Work Security Investment
You must concentrate on IoT if you want to develop sound remote work security. These connected gadgets and the Internet of Things need to be protected.
For a device to be able to connect to and transfer data over a secure corporate network, it must be given a unique identifier.
Numerous IoT devices aren’t designed to handle or manage new security features, which is one of their fundamental problems. Additionally, the adoption of IoT is concerning due to the absence of industry-accepted standards.
Numerous services exist that provide you with ways to increase the security of your IoT to combat this. Thales, Kaspersky, among others, is some instances.
Ensure endpoint and remote network security
If you provide your staff remote access, they can connect to a company network from anywhere in the world.
Your managers and IT specialists must, however, make sure that such remote access is approved and 100 percent secure at this point.
Although it is advised to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network), there have been cases where a hostile actor was able to access a VPN. This is especially a worry for VPNs that employ traditional firewalls.
Then, what can you do?
To prevent exploitation attempts, you can turn on network segmentation, Layer 7 access control, patch internal servers, and use advanced threat prevention tools like antivirus.
Here are a few additional pointers for you to remember:
- Secure the entry points of end-user devices, such as desktops, laptops, and mobile devices, by performing endpoint device protection.
- Utilize cloud solutions for an ever-expanding library of threat information, and use EPP (Endpoint Protection Platforms) to scan each file that enters the network.
- EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response) must be deployed. These provide heightened defence against cutting-edge dangers like polymorphic attacks, zero-day attacks, and ransomware attacks (malware).
- Put XDR (Extended Detection and Response) to use so you can apply analytics to all of your data in addition to protecting endpoints.
Key elements of your endpoint security software should secure your networks and devices. These can include antivirus software to find and shield an endpoint device and operating system from malware as well as machine learning categorization to detect zero-day threats in close to real-time and sophisticated protection from a ransomware attack.
Additionally, it must to provide proactive web security, data classification, and data breach prevention in order to guarantee safe browsing.
To avoid data exfiltration, it should additionally include email and disc encryption. Your endpoint security software is crucial since it provides a mail channel for your remote staff to stop phishing attacks.
Here are a few of the top hosted endpoint security options that might be of interest to you:
- Bitdefender GravityZone Ultra
- ESET Endpoint Protection Standard
- F-Secure Protection Service for Business
- Sophos Intercept X Endpoint Protection
Verify All Vendor
Vendor screening is a crucial procedure that allows a company to assess the security of vendors it may work with to conduct commercial activities.
For this, you may:
- Hire vendors with the same care you would an employee.
- Think about the repercussions on law and regulations.
- Request signed agreements in writing from vendors.
- Check the analytics right away to check if their performance is consistent with their claims.
Provide Regular Cyber security Training to Employees
Only 31% of employees receive yearly company-wide cyber security training or upgrades, according to a recent Small Biz Trends research.
Since your remote labor is an undeniable advantage for your business, you should invest in their training because the system will never be completely secure without it.
To assist staff members in identifying phishing and social engineering attempts by bad actors, you should give priority to cyber security training.
Initially, consider these suggestions:
- Employees should be trained to verify the email address and sender’s name whenever a sender makes an odd or unexpected request.
- Verify that the email is formatted correctly and look for any errors.
- If anybody requests important information, such as logins or credentials, immediately alert managers and IT specialists.
- Before opening attachments, always scan them.
It would be preferable to take cyber security into account when developing your onboarding procedure.
They will be better trained and your remote work security will be significantly increased if you carry out a “Live Fire” practice attack.
You can carry out this activity once every three months. It will aid staff in comprehending the significance of cyber security and maintain them alert to fresh attacks.
Additionally, you should teach your staff how to create strong passwords, what a data breach might cost, and how to spot a phishing scam.
Make a security response strategy.
An incident response strategy is crucial. It increases the readiness of your workforce in the event of a virus breakout or cyber-attack.
Included in your security response plan should be:
- Review and codification of the underlying security policy that guides your incidents response plan are currently being prepared.
- Identification of organizational system deviations from usual operations
- Keeping the situation from causing more harm is the immediate purpose of containment.
- Eradication, in which your group must find the source of the problem and get rid of dangers
- Recovery is the process through which your team carefully reactivates the production systems.
- The team should be reminded of the situation and encouraged to remember as much information as they can to better prepare for the future.
Formulate an All-Encompassing Data Security Policy
Data protection rules make sure that concerns about the privacy of a company’s information are significant, and they even provide for the possibility of termination if one violates compliance standards.
You must therefore develop an exhaustive and all-inclusive data security policy that remote employees must abide by.
It ought to contain:
- Acceptable application of IT tools and systems
- Duty and accountability for maintaining the privacy of and protecting sensitive information
- Methods, guidelines, and laws generally preserving information security
- Retention, records management, and risk management.
- Reviewing each employee’s responsibility and data processing procedures
- Staff monitoring and training regarding the handling of personal data
Focus on Data-Centric Security
Rather than focusing on the security of servers, networks, or apps, data-centric security places more of an emphasis on the data itself.
Data-centric security enables you to close security holes and safeguard confidential data wherever it is shared among your remote workforce.
In order to establish a thorough data security strategy, you should think about utilizing:
- Tools for data discovery to access sensitive data both on-premises and in the cloud. Through applied and guided analytics, it is a business user-oriented approach for finding patterns and outliers.
- Data governance to keep an eye on unstructured and structured data access from a distance. Monitoring access enables a corporation to confirm its regulatory compliance and find instances of policy infractions.
- Tools and regulations that make it easier to classify data and distinguish between important and less value information.
- Data tagging and watermarking for security categorization and the protection of the company’s intellectual property.
- systems for preventing data loss to implement your data security policy.
- techniques for encryption that, in the event of a data breach, render protected data worthless.
- enhanced gateway security measures to prevent unauthorised data leakage.
- IAM (Identity & Access Management) is used to make sure that only the appropriate individuals have access to the proper data.
- CASBs (Cloud Access Security Brokers) are cloud-based systems that improve access control and multifactor authentication.
Employees can adhere to the following best security measures to protect the safety of their remote work:
Keep Systems Updated
Numerous destructive attacks frequently try to take advantage of flaws in popular software, such as operating systems and browsers.
System updates enable fixing these gaps and bridging the gap, making systems less vulnerable. Because of this, businesses must train staff on appropriate practices for updating their software.
Additional features that have been improved from the previous edition are also included in software updates. It can increase productivity and enhance the working environment for your remote workers.
Look Beyond the Firewall
A firewall is a network security device created to stop unwanted access since it enables you to watch and manage incoming and outgoing traffic.
Although we don’t advocate against businesses using firewalls, we believe it’s time for businesses to start thinking outside of the box.
Because firewalls are not impenetrable, they can be bypassed by hackers, putting businesses at risk of being taken over. Therefore, you must seek out additional protection if you are sincere about enhancing remote job security.
Some of the fundamental issues with heavily depending on straightforward firewall defense include:
- Developing a social engineering vulnerability to phishing assaults, for example
- Encountering rogue websites that use an SSL certificate as a cover
- The possibility of human error and insider threat will never go away.
Your business must take aggressive measures in the wake of these worries.
To access internal corporate resources, you can think about employing an SSL VPN and just opening ports that are really necessary for business.
Network security at the DNS layer is another option. The useful Domain Name System resolution services are provided by the American business OpenDNS.
Beware of Phishing Emails
Employees can be the target of cybercriminals who use email or instant messaging to share data and login passwords.
Employees may fall for phishing emails and divulge private data like passwords, credit card numbers, and banking information.
Employees can benefit from remote security measures in the majority of these situations, but phishing protection only works if staff members are vigilant in keeping an eye out for it.
The Covid epidemic has resulted in several developments, and the future of corporate work will undoubtedly include a large amount of remote work, telework culture, and a hybrid workforce. Because of this, businesses cannot afford to ignore the security of remote work. With the aid of these pointers and recommendations, we hope to assist you and your remote workers in maintaining business continuity as well as a secure and safe work environment.