The Covid-19 pandemic has completely changed the work environment of organizations. Physical office space has taken a back seat, and virtual office has taken over. Work from home is the new normal. A slight dip in Covid cases did bring a small workforce back to offices, but the future remains uncertain. Most organizations are opting for remote working to ensure the safety of their employees. But, work from home brings up many challenges for the security of information and data shared.
With the office security layers not applicable for the workstations located at different geographical locations, it becomes essential to pay due attention to remote working security practices for you as a part of an organization. In turn, it is the organization’s prime responsibility to put together a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy for protecting remote workers. Security and IT departments have taken upon the challenge of providing cybersecurity for remote workers and have accelerated their efforts by adopting many new technologies.
With increased awareness and cyber threats becoming more complex and damaging, companies pay prime importance to security investments and have increased their cybersecurity budgets. According to the survey, Cybersecurity at a Crossroads: The Insight 2021 Report, 96% of companies increased their cybersecurity budgets in 2020, and 91% plan to do so again in 2021.
Key Security Challenges Arising from Remote Working
Endpoint protection poses the biggest challenge for the IT departments as these are the most vulnerable points of cyberattacks. Securing endpoints not just only concerns the employee’s systems but also the systems owned by the organizations.
The next security challenge arises from customer-sensitive information security and cloud system security, especially for organizations that have cloud-based services.
Providing secure access to organization networks remotely is one of the biggest challenges that security departments face today.
Now that you are aware of remote working’s main challenges let us explore some critical security hacks essential to safeguard your remote workforce.
Ensure Endpoint Protection
Endpoint protection refers to securing all the points of entry of end-user devices like in the case of remote workers, their personal laptops, desktops, mobile phones, and even company-owned devices. These endpoints have seen most vulnerabilities and have become the soft targets for cyber attacks, as they are the direct access to a company’s networks.
So, make sure all these endpoints are well protected with an updated version of Antivirus software to close any vulnerable patches and protect them from malware attacks which can cause havoc if it gets access to system files of the organization.
Ensure all the software used, including applications(Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc.), operating systems, are updated to eradicate any vulnerabilities to cyber threats.
Apart from this, it is advisable to use a complete endpoint monitoring Security Information and Event Management solution (SIEM) that gives real-time protection from malware, provides windows log analysis, application whitelisting through administrators. This will protect endpoints against a variety of cyber threats.
Provide SSL Certificate Protection
As remote working culture has been accepted as the most accepted work environment for organizations, users have become more skeptical about the safety of shared sensitive information. So, it becomes very crucial to instill that trust in you as an organization. And what better way to do this is by providing SSL Certificate security to your customers. SSL certificate encrypts all the communication between the user’s browser and the web browser and protects sensitive information from hackers trying to steal crucial data like in the man-in-the-middle cyber attacks.
Many reputed SSL Certificate providers offer an array of SSL protection choices, which you can choose from based on your security needs and budgets. If you want to secure a website with multiple subdomains, then selecting a Cheap Wildcard SSL for securing your website would give you the most balanced deal between cost and security requirements. An investment in a Wildcard SSL Certificate will protect your main domain and all the first-level subdomains with a single certificate, thus cutting down on cost.
Installing a Wildcard SSL Certificate on your website changes the protocol from HTTP to secured HTTPS. It adds a visual symbol of trust, a padlock before the URL of the website that can win your customers’ trust and take your business on to the path of growth.
Ensure robust password implementation by employees
Set strict password rules and ensure that your remote employees and customers follow them. Let the password be long and generated randomly and be a mix of upper and lower case alphabets, special characters, and numbers. An extra layer of security can be added by introducing a two-factor(2F) authentication to your remote security solution. This will ensure that only your employees and admins are given access to the firm’s resources.
Implement Least Privilege Policy and Review Firewall settings
Care should be taken while setting up remote access servers. Hackers use brute force against open Remote Desktop Protocol(RDP) servers over the internet to infiltrate into organization network systems. Therefore port 3389, which is used for Windows Remote Desktop Protocol, should be opened. The firewall is configured for only restricted static IP addresses from which your admins will be accessed remotely. Role-specific restricted access to host servers should be encouraged.
Also, firewall settings of employees’ remote workstations will have to be reviewed to allow access to the organization’s remote access servers.
Use Virtual Private Network(VPN)
Remote Workers should be educated not to access an organization’s host server from unprotected public WiFi, as the absence of a firewall makes their workstation vulnerable to cyber-attacks, which will put the entire host network system under threat. Instead, the use of Virtual Private networks should be encouraged. VPN access when you are working online creates an encrypted, secure, private virtual network for exchanging data. It makes you invisible to other users by hiding your IP address. Thus it protects you from any potential cyber-attacks even when in a public WiFi system.
In conclusion, we can say that despite the security challenges posed due to the remote working environment, it is the best time to raise your security bars and be ready for the future. Incorporating the pointers discussed above and imbibing a healthy security culture within your organization is the only way to fight against cyber threats. Train your employees to implement best cybersecurity practices, like phishing attempts awareness. Also, develop well-rounded security policies and strategies that can make organizations react rapidly to all types of cyberattacks and bounce back to running their business. Creating security solutions that are future-ready to cater to a hybrid work environment will take your organization to greater success levels.