Remote Work Security

By the end of 2022, 1 out of 4 professional jobs in Nortסh America will be remote. Are you taking the appropriate remote work security measures to protect your employees post-pandemic and beyond? Find out. 

What is Remote Work Security?

While most employees nowadays work in a hybrid environment, the possibility to work remotely has presented luxuries opportunities in the past, such as working from abroad for extended periods. 

80% of security and business leaders say their organizations are more exposed to risk as a result of remote work and cloud adoption.

 Employees that WFH require higher levels of remote work security because of different risk scenarios, such as:

  • Connecting to an unsecure Wi-Fi from a public hotspot (e.g from a cafe or airport)
  • Using personal BYOD devices for work
  • Using weak passwords and not updating them often 
  • Accessing company resources without permissions or a secure agent
  • Inadvertently downloading malicious applications on work devices

Any of these critical missteps can lead to a major security breach. 

For IT teams, this new reality brings more threats to be tackled. As a result, they must make sure their security strategies change and adapt to the threat landscape.

Security Risks of Remote Working

As traditional IT security approaches have long been perimeter-based, organizations today are growing more concerned about what happens outside the physical office, when employees connect remotely from unsafe locations. 

There are several risk factors which plague IT teams when attempting to secure remote access outside of the corporate network.

Previous perimeter-based measures just aren’t enough to secure against such dynamics. Let’s consider a few remote work security risk factors and how you can prevent them.

  • Network risk
  • User risk
  • Device risk

Network Risk

The new WFH model gives employees a lot more flexibility, but at the same time, it presents network security risks that can have major consequences for any organization.  

Employees connecting to the corporate cloud using an unsecured home Wi-Fi network can inadvertently open the door to a man-in-the-middle attack, where malicious actors intercept and harvest confidential information. MitM attacks accounted for 35% of exploitations within organizations prior to the pandemic.  

With the new Work from Home movement in place, organizations are going to have to step up their remote security strategy in order to defend their network from emerging cyber threats. 

Traditional VPN technology falls short in securing today’s evolving WFH landscape, where an unsecured Wi-Fi connection can lead to a massive breach and shut down a business for days or longer. 

VPNs aren’t scalable and simply cannot keep pace with the needs of today’s digital and agile environment, which require reliable access anywhere. There are many security gaps that can be exploited if a threat actor gains user credential access since VPNs lack the extra security measures to protect a network. 

The solution? To segment the network with ZTNA and assign least privileged remote access to corporate resources. 

Device Risk

A majority of remote employees are using their personal devices for two-factor authentication (2FA), and they may well have mobile app versions of video conferencing software such as Zoom. This creates confusion between personal and professional life balance and increases the risk of sensitive information falling into the wrong hands. 

Cloud documents, emails, and third-party services are all vulnerable. And without proper digital asset management tools available for remote work, your attack surface has grown much broader.

Remote work also enables a trend of allowing employees to use their devices at work, commonly referred to as “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD). BYOD brings a new security concern as 80% of all devices are completely unmanaged and even worse is that only 64% of companies currently have a BYOD policy in place. 

Organizations might want to consider implementing BYOD policies that provide employees with a strict set of guidelines that separate professional from personal use of devices, similar to how ZTNA works in regards to assigning least privilege access across the network. 

Remote Work Security Best Practice: Dos and Don’ts

Trust no one by default. Always think twice before clicking on a suspicious link or downloading a file, especially when you are unsure of the sender as it could lead to a phishing attack.Don’t forward work-related emails to personal accounts to prevent credential theft or other forms of brute force attacks.
Store work-related content on company-approved cloud services to reduce the risk of data exposure.Don’t store work-related content on your BYOD to prevent accidental data loss.
Implement Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to reduce the risk of attack from credential theft and to assign secure access to third-parties.Don’t use your company-owned desktop session for non-work-related activities such as social networking, video streaming, or personal shopping.
Use updated software to reduce the attack surface on the device.Don’t click on an unknown email attachment as 90% of data breaches occur from phishing attacks.

6 Security Tips For Creating Safer Remote Work Policies

Your remote work security policy doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are 6 security tips every IT should be implementing immediately to provide more secure remote access to employees, partners, contractors, and other third-party providers. 

1. Stay Atop Regulatory Compliance Processes

Every organization should maintain regulatory compliance to safeguard user data and prevent costly breaches. Each business is different so the requirements will vary per industry and need. For example, cloud-service providers will need to be SOC 2 Type 2 Compliant and adhere to AICPA’s Trust Services Principles. An auditor should be specifically assigned to ensure that all policies are being followed and to test security controls. 

2. Tighten Remote Security Access with ZTNA

Remote work security policies should specify clear roles for defined personnel and their access to defined applications and data. This also applies to partners and contractors in order to minimize the threat surface. ZTNA helps prevent unauthorized user access to company resources which is crucial in securing remote activity. 

Admins are able to assign granular access across all cloud resources via identity-based authentication. ZTNA gives IT the upper hand when it comes to securing remote devices which were not possible with legacy VPN solutions.

3. Update Your Data Security Plan

Sensitive data (data-at-rest and data-in-motion) should be encrypted as it traverses the cloud and internet. Many cloud providers open APIs to their services that third parties can take advantage of without the proper security policies set in place. 

Specific security measures should be enforced to prevent unauthorized third-party access, such as data loss prevention (DLP) policies, updating all security patches, strong password policy requirements, and Multifactor Authentication (MFA). 

Document security requirements for internal and external data stores. Remote work policies should state distinctly how remote employees handle data on the cloud services and the devices.Do not overlook data security to and from the cloud. Set clear policies on connectivity security, including secure sockets layer (SSL) and Cloud VPN requirements, such as data-in-transit encryption, and network traffic scanning and monitoring.

4. Integrated Security Controls – It Begins with the Endpoint

A single infected endpoint can cause a data breach in multiple clouds. In fact, 68% of organizations have experienced several endpoint attacks that severely compromised data. Protect your endpoints by developing policies for remote device access to cloud resources.

No single security solution is enough. However, too many security solutions without integration may create gaps or vulnerabilities that could lead to breaches. Therefore, it is important to check all devices and verify endpoint posture for every user.

5. Conduct Frequent Security Audits

Review all remote work security policies to make sure each employee understands all best practices before an audit is conducted. During these audits, ensure cloud services are configured as expected, evaluate your current security plan, and upgrade components to remain ahead of the latest threats and business needs. Review any threats or vulnerabilities detected and develop a security plan accordingly.

 6. Security Awareness Training for All Employees

Ensure employees comprehend how the security risks change when they are working outside the office perimeter with security awareness training. Once again, this involves updating and enforcing security policies throughout your organization. Keep them simple in a way that everyone can understand. 

Use this opportunity to go over remote security best practices against phishing and social engineering attacks using the latest real-world examples from threat actors. The company should encourage good behavior like identifying and reporting suspicious emails and reward employees through incentives. These incentives could be something as simple and effective as a company leaderboard or a gift certificate. 

 Remote Worker Security Checklist Overview

☐ Enable security protection on all company-owned devices

☐ Regularly backup data on all company-owned devices

☐ Make sure that all company-owned devices are encrypted

☐ Check that OS/ Software Versions are up-to-date

☐ Ensure that each login password is complex and meets company policy

☐ Require the enablement of two-factor authentication 

☐ Use secure WiFi in public and at homes

☐ Log out of the devices immediately when not in use

☐ Enforce security awareness training and best practices for all employees

Thinking Remote Security Post-Pandemic and Beyond in Today’s Evolving WFH Landscape with Perimeter 81

The new WFH reality is upon us and with it comes added security threats not seen in traditional office settings. Perimeter 81 specializes in securing remote access in today’s evolving cyber landscape.  

Discover the 10 keys to securing remote access that every business can and should be implementing with Perimeter 81’s WFH Cybersecurity Checklist. Find out why traditional VPNs are being replaced by a Zero Trust security model. Transform your remote work security plan with Perimeter 81. 

Going Beyond Traditional Access Controls with Perimeter 81’s Zero Trust Approach

Zero trust security is a new approach to access control that goes beyond the traditional models of DAC, MAC, and RBAC. Zero trust security is based on the principle that users should not be granted access to resources until they have been authenticated and verified. This means that there is no trust hierarchy, and all users are treated as equal. Perimeter 81’s award-winning ZTNA solution redefines network security and traditional access controls in today’s hybrid working landscape. Find out why organizations are leaving their legacy VPNs far behind. Learn how to radically simplify your cloud and network security with ZTNA post-pandemic and beyond. Evolve your network security today. 

Access Control Models FAQ

What are access controls?
Access controls are measures that are put into place to restrict access to resources. 
What is Mandatory Access Control (MAC)?
Mandatory Access Control (MAC) is a type of access control that relies on security labels to restrict access. The labels are assigned by the system administrator and determine the level of access that a user has.
What is Discretionary Access Control (DAC)?
Discretionary access control (DAC) is a type of access control that allows users to grant access to resources based on their own discretion.
What is Privileged Access Management (PAM)?
 Privileged Access Management is a type of access control that allows administrators to manage access to resources that are typically only available to them. This includes administrator privileges and access to sensitive data.
What is Role-Based Access Control (RBAC)?
Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) is a type of access control that allows administrators to assign specific permissions to users or groups.
What are the seven main categories of access control?
The seven main categories of access control are directive, deterrent, compensating, detective, corrective, and recovery.

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