June 27, 2015
For companies that operate with a geographically dispersed team, managing secure data flow across multiple platforms and locations typically is a major challenge. As reported by esna last year, as much as 77% of companies with over 2,500 employees allow remote working, while 10% of the global workforce commutes full time.
This shows the scope of employee mobility that is now a pillar of success for most modern companies. However, 37% of employees in America feel that working remotely reduces their access to company information and involvement in team activities. This is why it is important to establish rules for accessing company network and provide all employees with necessary resources in a safe ecosystem.
For companies that count dozens of branch offices, telecommuters, or just regular mobile employees, this can be a highly complex task. Yet this is one of the steps that helps ensuring maximum security is employee efficiency.
Recognizing the risks
Remote network access can be enabled through a IPSec or SSL VPN server, or simply via a cloud computing service. Regardless of the method you choose for your organization, you need to set specific security parameters to ensure no unknown devices or suspicious IP addresses are able to access it.
Even though this is commonly seen as a great practice, none of these solutions is flawless. As shown on this infographic by SecureLink, VPN and shared desktop are highly vulnerable to data breaches that mostly happen by exploiting privileged accounts. The cloud, on the other hand, carries a whole new degree or risk depending on the applications you choose to move to it.
Evidently, all this may represent a risk for business continuity and this is why it is important to implement some rules regarding network access management.
Setting the security rules
- Safe configuration of SSL ports and connections. This is one of the first and most important steps in securing network access, representing a basic rule you need to follow. Without secure SSL, all the communications on your network are an easy target for hackers.
- Firewall setup. Firewalls help you ensure only specific protocols or applications are able to access the network and you definitely want to keep your database server behind them.
- Use standardized remote support across multiple platforms. In more complex enterprise settings, it can get quite difficult to monitor and manage all the security deployments, which is where a remote support solution can come in handy.
- Network monitoring. Proactive monitoring is one of the key activities that needs to be included in the process because it can help you prevent a breach by identifying suspicious activities on time.
- Find the tools you need. Much like all the other business processes, network access can be better managed using tools specifically designed for it. Some of the most popular ones are Network Access Control tools, popularly known as NAC tools, which help you cope with some of the exhaustive monitoring processes.
Although generally seen as a way to reinvent business processes, mass mobility brings a plethora of security challenges for organizations of different sizes. With network access management rules, a portion of these problems can be solved and this is why it is so important for organizations to consider such strategies.
Image Credit: Flickr/Kevin Harber
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