Managing a remote workforce or user base comes with more than a few inherent risks and security concerns, especially when it comes to organizations’ core IT infrastructure. Over time, on-site hardware has given way to fully distributed, cloud-based systems, a trend that has helped improve the scalability, availability and efficiency of modern computing environments. Moving to the cloud also offers significant cost savings and a reduction in unplanned downtime, leading to better outcomes and more reliable IT frameworks. While this transition has been a net positive for most companies, protecting critical tech assets has never been more important.
The role of remote management and cybersecurity tools
In the current climate, uncertainty has led many organizations to ramp up their investments in remote management tools, teleworking systems and other cutting-edge technologies. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced millions of workers to transition to a remote capacity, at least temporarily. While many look forward to an eventual return to normalcy, business leaders remain cautious about allowing employees to return to the office. The same is true for college campuses — an influx of students in physical spaces poses a heightened risk for COVID-19 transmission, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is why many universities have embraced virtual-only learning options for the upcoming semester.
To stay adaptable, organizations of all sizes and in every industry must take steps to secure their IT infrastructure from a wide range of cyberthreats. During a virtual hearing before the Subcommittee on National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy, House Representative Emanuel Cleaver remarked that “we are seeing a 75% spike in daily cybercrimes… since the start of the pandemic.” Cybercriminals are leveraging the global health emergency to launch new phishing scams, conduct targeted operations against telecommunication systems and take advantage of unpatched operating systems and applications. Considering it takes the average business around 197 days to identify a security breach and 69 days to contain it, according to research from IBM, it’s never been more crucial for organizations to keep their systems and workstations up to date.
Cloud patch management
One of the best ways to keep vulnerable IT infrastructure secure is through a reliable remote patch management solution, which enables tech administrators to monitor the granular details of devices in their network. This functionality is particularly crucial for organizations that allow employees to use their personal devices to complete work tasks. Generally, users are less vigilant about software and OS updates for their personal devices than they are with company-issued computers. While cybersecurity training can help bridge the gap, IT staff must be able to exert some control over these devices to ensure best practices are upheld.
Unpatched computers, software and applications can introduce a variety of security risks into an organization’s IT environment. Software companies are constantly releasing new security patches to address zero-day exploits and other vulnerabilities that hackers can leverage to steal sensitive information, distribute malware and more. In fact, research from Edgescan discovered that 20% of all vulnerabilities related to unpatched software are classified as “high risk” or “critical.” What’s more, close to 18% of all network-level vulnerabilities are caused by outdated applications, such as Apache, Microsoft Office, PHP and others. Despite these threats, a shocking 37% of organizations admit they don’t scan for vulnerabilities at all, according to a 2018 Ponemon Institute report. Given the high cost of many data breaches, organizations must find ways to enhance their oversight of in-network devices to create a truly secure IT posture.
Protecting remote infrastructure with Faronics’ Deploy
Faronics’ Deploy application is a cloud-based management platform that empowers IT administrators to protect vulnerable end points from a wide range of cybersecurity threats. Using Deploy, organizations can maintain complete visibility and control over employees’ devices, ensuring all OS and software patches are applied as soon as they are released. This functionality is a boon for employers struggling to adapt to the current business climate, and those looking to make remote work a core part of their operations moving forward.
Deploy can also be used to quickly add new Windows and Mac devices to private networks, offering one-click implementation through a centralized dashboard. This enables IT administrators to manage a large fleet of remote computers, send out company-wide software and OS updates, install advanced settings like disk partitions or express OOBE, and more. When new patches are made available, companies can either immediately push them to all devices or pause the update to test how the changes will impact key workflows. Armed with patch scanning tools, Deploy can provide real-time progress reports that keep IT administrators informed about outdated applications and OS versions.
Thanks to Deploys’ cloud-based architecture, network administrators can oversee device patches from any workstations with an internet connection. With millions of workers telecommuting for the foreseeable future, it’s crucial to integrate remote management tools that can monitor both company-issued and personal computers. What’s more, Deploy’s data analysis features enable organizations to keep track of device and application usage in real time, which may help identify out-of-date or unused programs.