Discover how a business VPN can limit your exposure to cybersecurity threats and ensure better security when using remote access.
Even without the COVID-19 pandemic, the past few years have seen an explosion in the number of people working from home. In the case of workers grounded by COVID-19, remote access was rather forced on them, but many employers and employees have now experienced first-hand the undeniable benefits of working at home: improved productivity, less time commuting, financial savings, a better work/life balance and so on.
To make the most of working from home, a fast, safe, and secure internet connection is paramount. Most homes now have access to decent broadband, but away from the safe and clearly delineated boundaries of the office LAN or WAN, cybersecurity takes on a completely different aspect. With remote access, there are many new challenges and threats to overcome.
What Are The Most Common Threats To Your Security?
By its inherent off-site nature, telecommuting increases the risk of data leaks, data breaches, account/identity theft, and phishing. It should also be noted that remote access software can be extremely damaging if it falls into the wrong hands, or if it’s used by a disgruntled employee. In such a scenario, you could lose business-critical data, or find yourself threatened by ransomware.
- There are a number of other security risks posed by remote access working:
- Home Wi-Fi networks tend to be less secure and easier to hack
- Employees may be using personal devices that are already infected and that lack appropriate firewall and antivirus protection
- Away from the formal environment of the office, staff may take a lax approach to security, like using the same password for business and lesser-protected personal accounts, and using unsafe public connections like at a cafe or library.
How To Ensure Better Security
As ever with all aspects of cybersecurity, prevention is better than the cure. In the first instance, there are a few simple, common-sense rules to help ensure better security. You should have a robust IT security policy in place, and review and update it regularly. Staff should only be given access to the relevant system areas for their job, and they shouldn’t be able to download third-party software or copy files from untrusted, external sources.
Proper training and proactive communication are vital for security. Employees must be made aware of any potential risks, and fully understand best practices for security. That includes simple measures like changing passwords regularly, not clicking on suspect emails, making sure their laptop is stored securely, and so on.
There is also an onus on the IT department to ensure that firewall and antivirus software is up to date, that network usage is monitored, and that any anomalies are responded to promptly and efficiently. Standard IT protection measures should include an IDS (intrusion detection system), IPS (intrusion prevention system), and a timed auto log-out. You should also consider using multi-factor authentication for users to gain access, like having to answer a personal security question as well as typing in a password.
If the company can afford it, it’s far safer for employees to use company-owned equipment rather than their own personal devices. It can also be beneficial to ask a dedicated IT security firm to perform an audit on your remote access protocols, as hackers are constantly developing new methods and techniques to attack unsuspecting users.
Above and beyond these common-sense measures, one of the simplest and most effective ways to ensure the security of your company, its data, and employees is to use a dedicated business VPN (virtual private network).
The Benefits of Using A Business VPN
A business VPN provides a secure, end to end, encrypted link between the remote employee and the company servers, even when that connection is made via a private or public Wi-Fi network. It also greatly facilitates system access and network monitoring, thus helping to keep company data safe and private.
Business VPNs ensure better security by allowing you to manage staff access and permissions via a single portal. They also monitor network performance to detect abnormal activity, enabling you to recognize and resolve issues before they escalate.