In a recent study by the Ponemon Institute, 54 percent of respondents said the volume of cyberattacks has increased over the past 12 months, with almost half of those reporting a significant increase. Security experts say the surge is due in large part to the transition to a remote workforce. In 2020, organizations were forced to make a series of hurried operational changes that often created gaps in their IT security systems.
As organizations begin setting their IT priorities for 2023, securing remote access should be near the top of the list. Although they may have started as a stopgap measure, remote and hybrid work models have become a permanent feature of the business landscape. In a recent Harris Poll, 82 percent of hiring managers in companies that have allowed remote work said that their organizations are likely to allow staff to continue working remotely in the future.
There’s every reason to believe threat actors will redouble their efforts to exploit this trend. Following a year in which record numbers of ransomware attacks, phishing scams and viruses targeted employees working from home, most analysts expect remote operations will remain a top attack vector in 2023.
Now that organizations have had a chance to adjust to the disruptions created by the shift to remote and hybrid workstyles, here are five technologies that can help improve remote access security going forward:
The zero trust model. Remote network access technologies such as virtual private networks (VPNs) and the remote desktop protocol enable users to access company resources from a home PC using an Internet connection. However, these technologies have known vulnerabilities that hackers exploit to gain network access. A zero-trust model assumes that everyone and everything accessing network resources is a threat until their identity has been verified and validated. It works in concert with least-privilege access, which limits data and application access to only those users who require it.
Endpoint protection. Remote workers can expose sensitive company information by using unsecured PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones. Unified endpoint management (UEM) solutions allow administrators to secure, manage and provision mobile devices, desktops, laptops and tablets through a single interface. When UEM tools detect suspicious activity, such as unusual data download patterns or the unexpected installation of a firmware update, the endpoint can be automatically quarantined, locked or wiped.
Multifactor authentication (MFA). MFA solutions help prevent unauthorized access to applications, systems and services by requiring a combination of verification factors rather than just a password. Best-in-class MFA solutions also provide detailed information about all devices on the network and automatically flags any devices that are out of date, jailbroken or otherwise out of compliance with company security policies.
Content filtering. Email is by far the most common delivery mechanism for ransomware, malicious attachments, malicious URLs, viruses and phishing attacks. Email filtering solutions block malicious incoming content before it reaches end-users. DNS filtering complements email filtering by blocking access to malicious domains, IP addresses or cloud applications before a connection is ever established.
Data loss prevention (DLP). DLP solutions help ensure remote workers comply with company policies about data sharing. They examine outbound communications, such as email and file transfers, as well as host-based activities such as copying files to removable media. DLP scans will generate alerts if any of these activities violate policies.
The security experts at Verteks can help you select and implement the right tools to secure your remote workforce. Our team can then manage and maintain your entire IT infrastructure to maximize protection against the latest threats. Give us a call for help improving remote access security in 2023.