Beyond the new normal: ensuring secure remote working

Monday, January 18, 2021

Remote and hybrid working have become popular over the last few years, but no-one can deny that they’ve been accelerated by COVID-19.

While technology has played an important role in making the shift possible, IT security continues to be a big concern. With hacking on this rise, and another lockdown in place, now is the time for you to ensure your clients have the correct safeguards in place.

Rethinking Security

Your typical SME is based in a single office. Within this office will be both physical records as well as digital records hosted on a local server. Now, while companies may have a lot of physical security protocols in place – such as on-premise firewalls, anti-virus software, and device passwords – these do nothing to secure company data when accessed remotely.

Similarly, many businesses are now migrating their servers to a public or private cloud – which essentially means the server is located off-site. However, while cloud servers have some of the toughest cybersecurity out there, if employees are accessing company information using an unsecured device, that data remains vulnerable.

With more and more companies permitting employees to BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), it’s quickly becoming clear that it’s not just servers that need protecting – the digital environment does too.

Managing The Environment

There are a number of different ways that companies can create a more secure environment. For example, insisting that employees log in using two factor authentication or use a VPN (Virtual Private Network), are pretty standard these days.

However, just as effective is ensuring that staff only have the permissions necessary to carry out their role and nothing more. This will prevent them from accessing non-essential data that could be damaged or lost in a breach. Services like Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop provide this kind of functionality – allowing people to access the data and applications they need through a heavily-managed environment.

While these measures offer excellent software protection, human error is still very much at the heart of most security issues. However, threat modelling tools can monitor common risks, detect suspicious activity, and intervene by prompting users with a warning – effectively training them to avoid mistakes, and teaching them to be cautious.

Being able to help your partners put the right tools in place is critical. As well as offering them software solutions, being able to advise customers and help them better identify risks is a great way of earning their trust.

After all, remote and hybrid working are set to be here for the long term. Aligning with your partners’ needs and helping them manage security now will soon become an even more essential service.

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