As companies continue to make the permanent switch to a flexible work structure, remote access technology has gone from a nice-to-have feature to a must-have tool.
Remote machine management solutions allow IT administrators to monitor devices logging on to corporate networks from remote locations and, when necessary, take control as if they were sitting at the computer themselves. These tools give administrators the access they need to not only support end users when it comes to responding to tickets, but see whether systems need updates, patches or any additional maintenance.
Despite the many pros, remote access tools can also expose businesses to risk by creating new vulnerabilities for hackers to take advantage of. With the right approach to cybersecurity, your organization can continue to enjoy all of the benefits of a flexible work structure — including enhanced productivity, boosted morale and reduced turnover — while minimizing the potential of a breach.
Defending against a “man-in-the-middle” attack
A man-in-the-middle (MitM) attack is when a hacker intercepts communications between two devices, either to secretly eavesdrop or modify the information traveling between the two, explains CSO online. Attackers might use MitM attacks to steal login credentials or personal information, spy on the victim and sabotage or corrupt company data.
If an attacker is able to intercept the connection with an IT administrator and end user device, they can also reroute traffic to their destination of choice, such as a phishing page. A hacker in this situation can simply act as a fly on the wall, making it difficult to ever identify that they even got in.
Encryption protocols and end-user education are essential to preventing MitM attacks. It’s important to remind staff to only use private Wi-Fi connections, as public ones are far more susceptible to this form of hacking.
The danger of weak password protocols
How strong is your company’s policy when it comes to employee login credentials? The Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report found that over 70% of employees reuse their passwords at work — which is likely why 81% of all hacking-related breaches leveraged either stolen or weak passwords.
Brute-force attacks and MiTM hacks are more likely to be successful if your employees aren’t following best practices and regularly changing their passwords to something unique and hard to guess.
Although end user education is an essential component of a strong cybersecurity policy, your organization should also deploy multi-factor authentication. By requiring a second or third form of verification, such as a code sent to user’s phones or emails, you can reduce the likelihood of a hacker gaining access to your network via a weak password.
Combatting a lack of visibility
With remote workers logging on from all over the world and using personal devices and Wi-Fi connections, IT administrators are now monitoring more endpoints than ever. Each user represents a new security vulnerability that is suspective to malware and other forms of attacks.
Although many organizations tend to invest in point solutions as security issues arise, your team should instead look for a security tool that provides maximum visibility across all remote systems. IT should be able to easily view each device coming in contact with company data as well as how that data is being used.
Managing and deploying patches
As your organization grows, so do your security risks. If IT is left manually monitoring and installing patches, necessary upgrades may fall through the cracks, creating an easy entry point for hackers and other malicious third-party actors.
With a remote patch management tool, your IT administrators can install necessary patches and updates on any application, software or device operating on or connected to your company. Look for a solution that not only gives your team visibility into which assets are in need of attention, but also allows you to automate widespread upgrades as needed.
Taking a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity
Proactive policies and ongoing end-user education can help mitigate your risks when it comes to using remote machine management tools. In the event that a hacker does get through to your network, you should have a last line of defense keeping your valuable data safe.
At Faronics, we can help. Our patented reboot-to-restore Deep Freeze Technology allows you to “freeze” your endpoints and easily restore them from unexpected changes with a simple reboot. Users have full autonomy and can instantly restart their device to your IT team’s default configuration, removing any unwanted software or third-party changes. Not only does this reduce the strain on IT, but it also prevents any downtime for end users.
With the right technology on your side, your organization can continue to leverage remote machine management tools without the risk of a hacker getting in.