What You Want to Probably Know About Securing a Remote Workforce
- March 9, 2022
When the pandemic struck in 2020, the workforce of corporations shifted focus into a remote environment. The sudden change in the workforce came with specific issues early on because businesses had to adopt new methods for securing infrastructure against cybercrimes.
Cybercrime has always caused great damage to businesses. In fact, Interpol’s August 2020 report stated that cybercriminals are enforcing their attacks by exploiting security vulnerabilities and cybercrime will “highly likely” increase further with more advanced methods.
Changes in Networking Environment
Previously, a centralized networking environment was used commonly in which data centers of corporations gather most of the applications and trafficking occurs from or to these centralized locations. So, the infrastructure of security and networking was built according to this model. With businesses adapting to the digital workforce, the data flow has changed.
Internet traffic has intensified by using security as a service (SaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS), cloud models, and browsing. The remote workforce is more prone to malicious activity and security breaches through home networks and the internet. Securing remote access has become more vital. Outdated security infrastructures need to be up to date with increasing risks.
Understanding Limitations and Potential Threats
When it comes to securing remote networks, understanding their challenges and potential threats is key. The shift to the new norm of working from home has brought some limitations to the current security infrastructure before the hybrid work model was adopted. Previously, the security of the workforce was built according to centralized networking because most of the data flow was internal while light internet traffic was present. The remote workforce has increased security risks, so corporations had to adopt new security measures.
Potential Threats in Remote Workforce
Remotely working employees access data, share files, connect to cloud and internet services daily and receive technical support when needed. In the remote working network, even the smallest human errors expose companies to malicious threads and cause a sensitive data breach. For instance, unsecured network access and neglected work devices create serious threats and sensitive data theft.
Additionally; ransomware, zero-day attacks, phishing, spyware, distributed denial of service attacks are amongst other potential threats of malicious activity. According to Forbes, ransomware has risen massively which attracts people into downloading malware through various methods. Moreover, outdated operating systems leave an open door for zero-day attacks by cybercriminals.
Current Limitations for Maintaining Cyber Security
Regarding this issue, cybersecurity should be reassessed and enforced to guarantee the protection of millions of endpoints. Therefore, more workload is needed to be put into ensuring secure networking. Moreover, activities of trusted endpoints should be monitored manually once accessed which is time-consuming. The possible personal use of work-related devices, infrequent updates are other possible threats that expose businesses to a data breach.
Remote Work Security
Security measures must be set precisely considering the threats and limitations of the remote workforce. It is important to overview the whole network structure with every connection and endpoint in a centralized location. Traditionally; antivirus programs, VPNs, and encryption are widely used for securing networking and these should be provided to every employee. If possible, providing work devices to employees helps to ensure safety even more.
Implementing Zero Trust Solutions
In a remote workforce, the security of the devices is a necessity since edge endpoints are more prone to threats. However, alternative security methods are implemented with the use of cloud-based services for faster detection and more secure data flow. This security can be implemented by adopting zero-trust solutions. Zero Trust solutions are based upon the “trust-none, verify-all” understanding. It allows securing data, devices, network, and application access to possible cybercrime and threats by offering multi-factor authentication, identification, encryption, and segmenting networks.
Integrating Cloud-Based Solutions: SASE
Integration of cloud-based approaches such as SASE can be implemented since the volume of internet traffic is significant, and direct access and security are more efficient rather than centralized infrastructures. What SASE does is secure access service edge. It enables security as a service (SaaS) for the protection of data and privacy. Zero trust is one of the components of the SASE solution.
Automation in Cyber Security
With ever-growing remote networks, remote monitoring endpoints and detecting anomalies against possible threats can become challenging. When automation and orchestration are accommodated to cybersecurity, monitoring and malware detection become easier.
Educating and Training Employees
Educating employees about security practices and measures are critical as well. Fundamental security practices such as software updates, back-ups, passwords, and authentication protocols should be reminded regularly to avoid cybercrime and threats. Additionally, employee education on cybercrime and secure working practices are viable to reduce risks. Employees should be aware of possible unsecured networks and malicious attacks. For instance, public networks are insecure and a gateway for a data breach.
Setting Policies and Taking Measures
Considering all of these factors and solutions, security protocols are a basis in minimizing imperfections and reducing risks of data loss against cyberthreats. Corporations should have security policies according to predetermined security standards and risk evaluations with improved compliance and security. Besides all, security testing and controls have to be done regularly to find vulnerabilities, penetrability and improve upon that. Building secure and defendable networking prevents most but not all available risks in the fast-growing remote workforce and potential threats.
With the increasing rates of the remote workforce, the last thing corporations want is indefensible network security vulnerable to cybercrime and data breaches. By keeping potential threats and limitations in mind, precautions should be employed. Based on the determined security standards, feasible documentation and policies such as incident response plan and business continuity plan must be built. Security standards are placed to ensure a more secure network environment. These standards are concerning password policies, back-up, updates, security, and guidance on handling when an actual incident or breach happens.
To ensure overall network safety, employees should understand what potential threats look like, their consequences, and how to prevent them also. Building resilient network security is possible through testing and refining security measures. One thing to keep in mind is setting attainable expectations, otherwise, you can face even more risks and incidents.