Network Security Risks to Watch for When People Work Remotely

Since the World changed given COVID19 it’s likely that your business has had to migrate your workforce to an online environment. As much as it is a challenge to find the right collaboration tools to get your team to work together. It’s important to sort out security for the apps and data your team uses as well. While you may have some security measures in place for your business, it’s important to consider whether they are adequate. You may need to consider making some network upgrades in order to fully accommodate this sudden shift.

Security Risks You Need to Be Aware of When People Work Remotely

When mobilising your workforce to work remotely it introduces many challenges relating to security on your network.
Having people work remotely changes many things about our approach to work. Assumptions about how your people get to apps either on the cloud or on-site and how you protect them often can be turned inside out.

Using good firewalls equipped with decent security tools can help your enterprise stay safe and your people productive as they:

  • Use business email (including clicking on links)
  • Access websites from home or public WiFi networks
  • Log in to and store data in your cloud-based business apps
  • Connect back into your enterprise network for internal apps and data

It’s been the trend for businesses to implement a lot of cloud-based apps for their workforce. They’re a great way to allow people to work remotely or on the road. The chances are that your business has already implemented a number of cloud based apps. In order to secure your employees whilst they’re working from home/remotely it’s probably best to implement a few basic security measures on your network. Here’s a few points you need to be thinking about addressing:

Extend Email Phishing Protection Outside the Office

Many organisations have some form of email security in place. Most network administrators have configured this to cover remote access, email from mobile or managed devices.
The number of people working remotely has increased significantly in recent months. Since COVID19 this has increased exponentially. The key to protecting your network/systems in this instance is that you want to ensure that email protection is operating in both directions.

  • Inbound – Messages and attachments sent to your users should be inspected for phishing, ransomware, malware, spam, and other undesirable content.
  • Outbound – Messages and attachments that your users send should be scanned to make sure that sensitive data, intellectual property, and other business information is not being transmitted inappropriately (this is often referred to as Data Loss Prevention or DLP).

Inspecting outbound traffic is absolutely critical when making sure that the emails their computers are sending are legitimate. Phishing messages are common form of attack. Phishing is when users are enticed to click on a seemingly benign link on the web or an email. These continue to be the one of the leading sources of attacks. Whilst most email security systems will flag or block links to web sites that are known to be bad, previously unseen sites may not be blocked. Workers who are not based in the office or are working remotely need a web security system that will detect this kind of activity.

Safeguarding People as They Browse and Use the Web Differently

Your employees work in different ways, and these differences increase the possibility of potential security risks as the threat landscape rapidly evolves. Additionally it is important to consider the merging of work and home environments and the impact this has on a person’s day-to-day activity and how to maintain flexibility.

2 things to consider:

  • How protected are employees when they are working away from the corporate network? How secure is your organisation and its data?
    Increased web usage, including personal browsing and the increased potential for users to be subject to phishing or trojan attacks
  • Safeguarding People as They Browse and Use the Web in Different Ways

With the advent of COVID19 your organisation went from operating in an office environment to operating from the homes of your employees. Unfortunately, traditional on-premise solutions, such as an appliance-based secure web gateway, only protect users when they’re physically on the network. Moving to the cloud has been a concern for some, particularly due to rapid SaaS adoption (both of sanctioned and unsanctioned cloud apps). The reality is that the cloud is largely a friend not a foe. This is especially true concerning Web Security. Your corporate network needs to provide users with the same level of protection at home as they would have in the office. By using a web security system that is cloud-based you can ensure that your work-from-home workforce is able to safely access web content.

Ensuring Data Security in a Multi-Cloud Environment

It’s important to remember that cloud security is often a shared responsibility. The cloud provider ensures that their infrastructure is secure. However, organisations and users need to secure their data on top of that infrastructure.
This means your organisation is responsible for managing elements such as user behaviour, access, data/usage policies and compliance. This remains true for both managed and unmanaged devices in a remote working model.

Connecting Remote Workers to Internal Apps and Data

Many of the applications and data your workforce will require are likely cloud-based already. However, there might be some applications that are only available from within your enterprise network. Your network is most likely to allow remote workers access via a virtual private network (VPN). This allows your users to securely connect their devices into via the internet through your firewalls into your enterprise network.