As companies increasingly adopt extended or permanent work-from-home (WFH) policies, it’s critical for IT managers to establish long-term security measures that can support the evolving needs of today’s digital workforce.
More employees than ever are relying on their own Wi-Fi networks and personal devices to regularly access company data. And although flexible work policies offer an array of benefits, including increased productivity and boosted morale, they also introduce new and complex network vulnerabilities for businesses to contend with. Without having direct access to employee devices, IT teams lack the visibility they once had with on-premise technology when it comes to managing, monitoring and addressing security threats.
As leaders continue to offer remote work into the foreseeable future, cybersecurity teams need the tools to instantly address risks while continuing to find new ways to support end users.
How are remote security loopholes formed?
Every time a device connects with your organization’s data via a private or public network, a new endpoint vulnerability is formed. Whether it’s a personal laptop, a cellphone or even a printer, each piece of technology represents a potential gateway for hackers to take advantage of.
As opposed to the traditional office environment, where IT managers can control the security of all Wi-Fi networks, employees’ home networks most likely have weaker protocols — for example, WEP instead of WPA-2 — explains Forbes. This allows hackers easy access with far less work on their end. Plus, if patch management is left up to the individual employee, it’s likely that updates addressing major security gaps will be left ignored, creating an entry for malicious third-party actors.
In addition to the devices and software they’re using, employees working from home can put your organization at risk as a result of phishing scams and overly simple passwords. While your technology will do the heavy lifting, it’s important to educate your end users through ongoing security awareness programs and by creating clear policies for a safe remote workplace. This may include restricted remote printing functions and prohibited sharing of company devices with family members or friends.
Most important considerations for remote security solutions
Your team is aware of the threats introduced by remote work policies. The question remains: How can you better use technology to address the issue and minimize your risk?
The global cyber security landscape can prove to be overwhelming to even the most experienced IT teams. Grand View Research estimates that the market is expected to reach a value of $197 billion by 2028 as a result of more frequent enterprise-level cybersecurity breaches and “the subsequent need to address the vulnerabilities in networks, apps and systems.”
As you start to navigate your options to address remote loopholes, McKinsey & Company has outlined some of the characteristics associated with a “dual cybersecurity mindset” that will help your team approach threats through both proactive policies and innovative technology:
- Real-time security: Static, network-based security perimeters are no longer enough to keep organizations and employees safe. Privileged-access management, multi-factor authentication and heuristics based on log-on behavior can help your team to protect endpoints and detect loopholes in real time.
- Cloud-based tools and infrastructure: Cloud-enabled technology offers the agility and flexibility your organization will need in the coming years. Restrict localized data storage for your remote workforce and transform end-user infrastructure through increased adoption of virtual desktop and desktop as a service.
- Remote cybersecurity operating model: Your IT team will need to work with leaders to rethink the cybersecurity operating model as well as continuity plans for operations that are restrained to physical locations, including automation opportunities. Thorough planning can help to minimize by leveraging the principles and capabilities of DevSecOps — the link between development, security and operations.
How Faronics can help
Today’s cybersecurity environment will only continue to grow in complexity as new security loopholes are potentially created every time a remote user logs on to work.
At Faronics, we offer an array of endpoint management solutions to address your organization’s evolving security needs. Our Anti-Virus system provides remote virus, spyware and rootkit detection, and also includes firewall protection for a more comprehensive approach to security. Only approved programs are able to go through, and IT teams can immediately detect any anomalies or potential attacks that get through.
Although proactive policies can help to minimize your risk, in the event of an especially complex attack, our patented reboot-to-restore Deep Freeze technology puts the power in your end users’ hands. By restarting the device, any endpoint can be automatically restored to a desired state created by IT, removing any unwanted software or third-party changes.
By establishing a strong security program and leveraging technology that allows your IT team to instantly detect vulnerabilities, your organization can continue to capture the benefits of offering a WFH policy without the fear of costly cyberattacks.
If you’re ready to take a more comprehensive approach to workforce security, explore our products online.