It was pretty evident from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic that many businesses were not prepared to pivot their operations offsite. Many of these company’s leaders spent the past several years convinced that allowing people to work remotely would sap productivity in unsustainable ways. Cybercriminals have taken advantage of many organizations since then. Today, we will talk about what needs to be done to secure your endpoints when supporting a remote workforce.
Some of the tools and strategies needed to keep your business’ data and infrastructure safe could be new to your business, but for the most part many of them are actions that any organization looking to secure their IT would take. Let’s take a look at some of the strategies used to secure remote endpoints.
The Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a tool that you’ve probably heard about that provides an encrypted connection between a computing infrastructure and an endpoint functioning on an outside network. This allows people to send and receive information securely by routing the information through an intermediary network. The configuration of the VPN is where people start to get confused. The IT administrator will have to determine which they prioritize: security or performance.
On one hand the more data flowing from an outside source, with the added encryption, the larger the loads will be. This could be costly in the way of additional bandwidth to support an entire workforce using VPNs to send and receive data from remote locations. On the other hand, diverting some of the data could expose it to interception or theft. It is a constant juggling act.
One of the largest problems that the business using remote workers has to deal with is actually one of the largest problems that they need to deal with if all their people were safe and sound on their local computing network: Phishing. The remote workforce exacerbates this problem for any organization as it has been proven that more phishing opportunities are successful because people are working from home and aren’t always under the protections they would have inside the office.
Today there is the Endpoint Protection and Response (EDR) tool that provides an extra set of protection against malicious intent, but most of the heavy lifting here will have to be done by your staff. Ensuring they are trained in how phishing attacks work can go a long way toward protecting your business from attack. Having clear procedures on what to do in case they come across a possible phishing message is a good strategy as well.
Going a step further, it should be a priority for your organization’s IT department to have a comprehensive threat intelligence system installed. Threats are constantly changing and evolving so your defenses will have to as well. Most threat intelligence systems include a set of detection rules that work to quickly identify threats as they evolve. This will at the very least keep your IT support staff in the know about potential threats to your business’ IT.
When an end user does succumb to phishing tactics there has to be a procedure in place that can quickly mitigate the threat. After all, nobody is perfect. The EDR is a good tool to use to respond to potential breaches in security protocol as it allows you to deploy resources to determine how bad a possible infection is, actively quarantine it, and mitigate the threat completely. The EDR also provides automation options that can aid the campaign against hackers and malware.
Cybersecurity is extremely important for any business that relies on technology. If you would like to learn more about steps you can take and resources you can use to keep threats from negatively affecting your business, call the IT experts at SCW today at (509) 534-1530.
Sam is a network engineer with a broad range of experience spanning more than 35 years. He wrote is first piece of code in 1979 and has been involved with the industry ever since. For the last 20 years, he has worked for SCW Consulting where he has embraced his passion for network technology and security.
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