Protecting Remote Workers

Protecting Remote Workers

Cloud-based security from WatchGuard, combined with end-user training, helps to prevent cyberattacks on devices outside the network perimeter.

Thanks to technology, many workers no longer gather in a specific location to get things done. According to a recent survey by CITE Research, 92 percent of organizations allow employees to work remotely. Remote work enables organizations to save money, increase productivity, and improve talent acquisition and retention. However, increasing numbers of employees operating outside of the corporate network exposes organizations to greater security risks.

The survey found that 90 percent of organizations are currently using endpoint threat detection and response solutions, and 85 percent feel confident in their ability to monitor the activity of off-network employees. Nevertheless, nearly two-thirds of respondents confirmed that at least one remote worker has fallen victim to a cyberattack.

“As remote work becomes prevalent, organizations should take steps to prevent attacks that originate outside the corporate network,” said Don Gulling, CEO, Verteks Consulting. “Organizations need a security solution that provides visibility across all users, devices and locations, and enforces security policies no matter how users connect. Ongoing training in cybersecurity best practices provides another layer of protection against phishing and other threats.”

Threats Outside the Firewall

Modern firewalls and content filtering solutions protect systems inside the network perimeter by applying security policies to traffic from the public Internet. They have no control over remote users and branch offices that connect to the Internet directly. Without the protection of core security solutions, user devices can become infected with malware and introduce it into the corporate network.

Because IT has no visibility into remote devices, it’s difficult to enforce corporate security policies. Users may access malicious sites or inappropriate content, either intentionally or inadvertently. They may open email attachments or click on links that expose the organization to ransomware and other threats.

Traditionally, organizations have used virtual private networks (VPNs) to provide a secure connection for workers accessing the corporate network via the public Internet. However, VPNs are notoriously hard to use and can impact application performance. In a recent IDG study, 82 percent of mobile workers admitted that they don’t always use the VPN. And VPNs aren’t useful anyway if remote users are accessing the cloud.

A Better Approach

DNSWatchGO, from WatchGuard Technologies, offers a better approach. This cloud-based security service automatically detects and blocks attacks both inside and outside the network perimeter. It extends the DNS-level protection and content filtering provided by WatchGuard’s existing DNSWatch service to monitor and correlate outbound DNS requests from off-network users against an aggregated list of malicious domains.

If a remote user attempts to connect with known malicious infrastructure, the user is redirected and the traffic routed to DNSWatch servers for further investigation and malware removal. These capabilities make it easy to block off-network phishing attacks, command and control callbacks, and data exfiltration attempts.

DNSWatchGO automatically prevents users from accessing inappropriate destinations using policies that are easy to establish, adjust and enforce. It eliminates off-network security blind spots by providing consolidated visibility and advanced protection for all on- and off-network devices.

“DNSWatchGO helps to simplify off-network security for organizations with growing numbers of remote users and branch locations,” Gulling said. “It’s 100 percent cloud-based, so it doesn’t require any hardware or manual software updates, and policies can be managed and adjusted for both on- and off-network users through one central interface.”

Training Component

DNSWatchGO also provides automated phishing protection and education to users in real time. When employees click on an attachment or link that has been identified as a phishing attempt, they are immediately redirected to resources that provide education about phishing attacks and best practices for prevention. According to CITE Research, 49 percent of employees receive security awareness training just twice per year or less, so instant education and training can minimize the volume of off-network security incidents.

“It’s difficult to overstate the importance of end-user training in combating cyber threats,” said Gulling. “Studies show that users who receive training are more likely to follow cybersecurity best practices and less likely to fall for phishing and other social engineering attacks. The education process built into DNSWatchGO gives users another tool for recognizing threats and putting what they’ve learned into practice.”

As more and more users operate outside the network perimeter, traditional on-premises security platforms are no longer enough. Organizations need cloud-based solutions that extend visibility and control, along with effective end-user training. Verteks can help organizations take advantage of DNSWatchGO to better protect users no matter where they are.