Amidst the chaos of today’s economy, businesses are adjusting to a changing landscape. With the near-ubiquitous adoption of endpoints such as laptops, servers, tablets, smartphones, etc., demanding access to corporate networks, the circumference of potential cyber attacks has widened considerably.
Securing access to remote endpoint devices, wheth or a Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy, has become more critical than ever. This mandates the organizations and the employees equally to practice good security hygiene to safeguard corporate assets and data.
Moreover, companies are adopting remote workforce models at a rapid pace. This demands the bolstering of cybersecurity policies and best practices to tackle new cyber risks and vulnerabilities.
A secure remote access solution lets the organization verify that anyone connecting to their network uses a reliable connection and authenticates them to allow accessibility. Therefore, secure remote work is an essential component of any cybersecurity strategy to establish guarded remote access in today’s enterprise.
What is secure remote access?
A secure remote access policy encompasses the amalgamation of solutions, strategies, or processes that keeps your organizational network, its resources, and data braced from unauthorized intrusion. Frequently, security strategies involve one or two single solutions, such as incorporating a VPN, but there can also be integrations of several solutions working in tandem.
Importance of Secure remote access
With more businesses embracing remote working environments, logins from remote computers have increased tremendously. Thus, corporate networks are being accessed from multiple locations. At present, home networks are often used as a point of origin for network connections, increasing the cybersecurity risk to both home and corporate networks. To meet the requirements for safe and secure access from any device – regardless of location, time, or source of connection, it is necessary to replace obsolete security measures with firm solutions.
What practices can be implemented to secure remote access in enterprises?
Accessing applications, resources such as corporate data and content, and servers by the organizational users in a centralized environment, whether in the cloud or on-premises, is possible via remote access technology – regardless of geographical boundaries. To ensure secure remote access to networks and systems, implement these best practices:
1. Virtual private network (VPN)
VPNs mask your IP address by rerouting it through a specially configured remote server run by the VPN host. In other words, if you use a VPN to browse online, the VPN servers become the source of your data.
Rather than connecting to a private network through the public Internet, VPNs use an encrypted tunnel to connect to a private network resource. VPNs are one of the most common and well-known practices to secure remote access.
There are two types of VPN tunnels
- Remote, in which the end-users connect directly to a private network over the Internet.
- Site-to-site, which connects entire networks via the Internet.
Network connections can be established with a VPN using different protocols. Among the most common are OpenVPN (Open-Source Virtual Private Network), PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol), L2TP (Layer 2 Tunnelling Protocol), and IKEv2 (Internet Key Exchange version 2).
2. Zero-trust network access
Zero-trust network access (ZTNA) is a software-defined perimeter approach wherein applications and contents can be accessed over the Internet by the organizational workforce, according to the predetermined policies set by the company.
VPNs grant broad access to a private network, whereas ZTNA determines which resources are accessible to specific individuals based on their identity and context. Businesses can achieve remote access restrictions based on where or what devices are being used, thus enabling them to restrict access from unfamiliar networks.
3. Endpoint security
A company’s endpoint security system protects the numerous endpoint devices deployed by the organization carrying the organizational assets on a centralized network, such as mobile devices, laptops, desktop computers, and servers. An essential function of endpoint security is scanning antivirus and firewall programs, making sure patches are up to date, and preventing dangerous processes from running. It also maintains data integrity by preventing confidential information from being cached.
4. A policy of Least Privilege
According to the Principle of Least Privilege policies, an end-user is granted access to only those resources (application, content, and data) necessary to execute their task. Users from both within and outside the company should be subjected to these guidelines. This principle ensures that vendors, technicians, and organizational workforces are not enabled full access to the organizational network as a precaution.
5. Single sign-on (SSO)
Single sign-on is a process of authorizing multiple devices such as computers, mobile devices, and any other system by a single set of credentials. The single sign-on method simplifies and centralizes the authentication process for employees or third-party users within or associated with the organization. User authentication via SSO speeds up their device’s logins while allowing organizations to manage their end-users and access.
Benefits of secure remote access solutions to enterprises
Secure remote access software with enterprise-level features can provide a variety of benefits, including:
1. Highly secure access from any device
A robust and secure remote access solution should be designed to ensure that the remote workforces can access and receive the mission-centric applications, data, and content that they require to be productive. Furthermore, by granting granular access to specific applications depending on the end-user organizations’ role and user type, risks associated with traditional VPN can also be reduced for unrestricted network access that may typically accompany.
2. Provides security to ensure safe Internet browsing
In today’s modern world, it is mandated to ensure that the remote workforce is protected from cyber threats such as phishing attacks, ransomware, and malware, when connected to the Internet, regardless of whether it is a corporate server or home of geographical boundaries. In addition, administrators should have enforceable policies that can be customized for individual departments to ensure the safety, security, and appropriateness of web browsing in the workplace.
3. Protects endpoints
A secure remote access solution should support robust endpoint management features to protect, manage, and safeguard remote endpoint endpoints such as laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc. In both the corporate-owned devices deployment and the BYOD environment, endpoints should be properly onboarded, deployed, configured, and enrolled to ensure efficient and streamlined protection.
4. Maximizes security awareness
Work from home (WFH) mindsets is on the rise. Cybersecurity hygiene must be practiced. For organizations to succeed during this transition at present and into the future, they must invest in training solutions that are engaging, educational, and impactful to reinforce cybersecurity policies and best practices. An organization’s cyber risk posture is strengthened when all employees – including the C-suite – are held accountable.
Choosing a secure remote access software
Your business requirements will determine the appropriate secure remote access solution, as with most technologies. Whatever your company’s size is, there is always a reliable, effective, and affordable solution catering to your business needs.
Most companies believe that they protect their end user’s remote access and can extend support to their IT infrastructure by implementing a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or desktop sharing tools. However, the security level provided by VPNs and desktop sharing tools is not adequate for corporate users using your company’s network and applications.
With the adoption of secure remote access software, all the corporate applications and sensitive data will be centralized. It will thereby mitigate the circumference of cyberattacks while you enforce organization-based stringent policies and advanced capabilities to attain the levels of performance and availability.
Ayush Maskara is a Content Writer at Scalefusion MDM Solution. A media science graduate, a photographer, a fiction author, a storyteller, a fiction manuscript editor, and an avid self-help reader, Ayush has been penning the creative wisdom for six years and have stepped into the IT domain for further exploration and staying awake with technological trends across the globe.