We are fortunate to have today’s advanced technologies that allow so many of businesses to offer remote work with little disruption from the standard business day-to-day. The large availability of internet access, cloud services, and relatively low-cost computing power makes remote work a viable alternative for many industries. But as more people enter the cyber workforce, it is wise to be aware that this increases our risks for cyberattack. Work networks are now connected to home networks and many times employees can become more relaxed with security protocols when not working in a more standard work environment.
As with most things, there are two main vantage points from which cybersecurity needs to be looked at: the employer’s perspective and the employee’s perspective.
What security flaws are exposed when a user moves from a secure corporate office network to their home?
Employees in the office are protected by the company network’s firewall; employees working from home typically rely on weak or non-existent ISP network protection. As a result, employee devices can become infected, moving laterally and potentially infecting corporate devices on the network. Require VPN access back to the corporate network for internet traffic, helping security and bandwidth. All employees should change home networking equipment’s default passwords.
Employees using personal equipment such as PCs, tablets, phones, etc., can quickly become an attack target and security risk. Without the security software issued on corporate devices such as endpoint protection, VPN, DNS filtering, etc., all sensitive company data passing through that device is at risk. Mobile Device Management (MDM) allows IT to remotely control, update, or wipe devices. MDM solutions can be used on company issued devices (helping with management and billing) or for BYOD.
Most breaches come from an end user clicking on something they shouldn’t. Being out of the office, IT is not just a few steps away to quickly quarantine a compromised device.
Proper training and awareness are now even more important in a work from home environment. Employees need to know what to do should they suspect a device has been infected or when a device is lost or stolen.
In the same vein of protecting users from themselves, employees can easily fall prey to phishing scams or impersonating emails. Email security solutions integrate with SaaS mail services such as Office365 or G-Suite to safeguard email attacks.
Today’s houses are filled with smart devices – light bulbs, fridges, personal assistants like Alexa, TVs - all connected to the internet. IoT devices have a long way to catch up with necessary security and introducing a corporate device onto a network shared with IoT devices can be dangerous. This is where network segmentation through two connections, VLANs, VRFs, etc. can ensure the traffic stays separate.
To maximize cyber safety in a work from home environment, you need to look at the infrastructure in both the home and office environments.
UCaaS/CCaaS eliminates equipment requirements and the need to update configurations. UCaaS and CCaaS functionality is one of the easiest ways to transition employees to WFH. Desk phones can be used at home or employees can opt for softphone functionality directly off of their computers.
During times of crises, hardware like PCs and laptops can be hard to obtain and distribute. Desktop-as-a-service (DaaS), Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solve this by enabling WFH employees to use their own equipment to connect and access all their business apps. Spinning up virtual machines and virtual servers is significantly faster and more scalable than any physical hardware-based solution, and especially useful as headcount increases or decreases.
Making sure that you have a proactive managed services provider (MSP) that is well versed with the risks that a work from home environment poses can set your organization up for success, no matter if your work from home policy is temporary or longstanding.