Organizations across the world are migrating to new IT environments to offset the impact of COVID-19 and empower their remote workers to complete critical tasks outside the office. This digital transformation, fueled in large part by the cloud, is allowing employees to access key business applications and data stores from their home computers, or from loaned laptops set up by internal IT teams. Despite the benefits, this new computing landscape comes with a high degree of risk for companies that are new to web-based solutions and remote device management.
Managing remote devices
Effectively managing a remote workforce requires the right set of monitoring tools, access controls, patching protocols and network protections. Without a robust defense plan, organizations can leave themselves open to hacking and exploitation, especially if end users are solely responsible for maintaining the integrity and security of their devices. One study from Kaspersky Lab found that 52% of businesses believe that employees are their biggest IT security weakness, which is why many organizations integrate remote access solutions into their environments. Using these web-based platforms, IT administrators can monitor every workstation in their network, identify suspicious behavior and send out critical updates as soon as they’re available.
Unfortunately, the same remote access pathways used to manage off-site devices can be hijacked by malicious actors to aid in their hacking campaigns. The Federal Bureau of Investigations warned businesses and consumers about this issue back in 2018, after hackers began exploiting Remote Desktop Protocol sessions to infiltrate private networks. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, RDP hacks have become even more common, according to research from Kaspersky Lab, raising questions about how organizations safeguard remote workstations and the web-based solutions used to support them.
Remote access security
Although RDP is one of the most popular remote access technologies, the IT market is saturated with web-based solutions designed to enhance visibility and control over off-site computers. Each platform comes with its own cybersecurity features, and some face more risk than others. To ensure sensitive workstations and data are kept secure, organizations must understand how to leverage in-platform security controls and other IT policies to create a strong, defensive posture. The Federal Trade Commission offers the following recommendations for securing remote access technologies:
- Enable full-disk encryption for laptops and mobile devices
- Keep all antivirus software up to date on every workstation
- Train all staff on basic cybersecurity and remote access risks
- Ensure all devices meet network security requirements
- Require all employees to use complex passwords
- Consider integrating a VPN network
- Incorporate multi-factor authentication to protect sensitive information
The above measures can help make any web-based remote access platform more secure from a user standpoint, but some threats require the direct involvement of IT experts. This is where each solution’s built-in features can make a significant difference. For example, Faronics’ Deep Freeze application allows IT administrators to create a Customization Code that encrypts all traffic between in-network devices and the platform’s main console. This enables organizations to prevent unauthorized users from tampering with security settings on Deep Freeze computers.
Before investing in a new web-based solution, business leaders should carefully consider the needs of their end users, along with any imminent cybersecurity threats. This can help narrow down the list of available remote access platforms and ensure organizations’ are prepared for brute-force attacks, phishing scams and other common hacking techniques.
Enhance remote access security with Faronics
Faronics’ Deep Freeze application empowers workers to solve their own IT problems with a simple restart of their computers, whether they’re working in the office or at home. This reboot-to-restore functionality can instantly remove malware from in-network devices, reverse configuration drift and eliminate zero-day threats caused by unpatched vulnerabilities. When paired with Faronics’ Deploy, organizations can maintain complete visibility and control over computers in their network, regardless of if they’re owned by the company or the end user.
Faronics’ Deploy enables lightning-fast deployment for business apps, Windows updates and operating systems, ensuring all devices adhere to minimum security standards. Using the Remote Control feature, IT administrators can remote into devices over the internet via RDP or VNC, making it easier to perform critical maintenance and reconfigurations. And thanks to Deploy’s centralized management console, IT staff can quickly pull up detailed computer and application usage stats that can help guide future innovations.
Organizations looking for maximum security can also benefit from Faronics’ Anti-Virus application, which provides advanced virus, spyware and rootkit detection. This web-based solution empowers IT administrators to create a security barrier around their core IT systems and remote workstations, blocking any unauthorized programs from being installed. Faronics’ Anti-Virus can manage endpoints across multiple locations from a single cloud-based console, ensuring all remote devices are protected from external threats.
As remote access becomes more common, business leaders will need to take steps to insulate their users, data and infrastructure from exploitation. By partnering with Faronics, your organization can proactively identify and remedy remote access vulnerabilities that could lead to data theft, unplanned downtime and dropped productivity.
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