How to secure remote access for the hybrid work model

The reason why top organizations are planning to implement the hybrid model is that it combines the best of both the physical workplace and remote workforce.

Jul 19, 2021 08:07 IST India Infoline News Service

The hybrid model is poised to be the dominant model for the workplace in the coming years. The reason why top organizations are planning to implement the hybrid model is that it combines the best of both the physical workplace and remote workforce. It will benefit the remote workers by enabling them to strike a better work-life balance, avoid costs related to commute, and allow employees to work in aan environment most conducive to productivity. The upshot is that employees will have the option of switching between the two settings in sync with the organizational policy. Onsite workers, on the other hand, will enjoy a more seamless collaboration wrapped in the warmth of social interactions which is missing in virtual settings.

However, to maximize these benefits, enterprises will need to minimize the security issues that may arise with the hybrid model. For example, remote workers will be more susceptible to attacks from malicious threat actors seeking to exploit vulnerabilities in the system to gain access to sensitive, business-critical information. How can, then, new-age organizations ensure a strong security posture that can deliver a safe, seamless, and efficient hybrid work experience to all the stakeholders involved?

The answer lies in enabling secure remote access to enterprise applications and data.

How can remote access deliver a secure hybrid work experience?

The following are some of the ways enterprises can establish an optimal hybrid workplace by facilitating secure remote access for their remote workforce:

1. Implementation of cybersecurity policies for employees

Enterprises will need to enact strict and uniform policies delineating the responsibilities on both individual and organizational levels. These include the measures concerning cybersecurity hygiene that every worker (remote as well as onsite) must follow, enabling only the minimum level of access that a professional will require to perform their role, and guidelines for the appropriate documentation and storage of confidential information.

There must also be guidelines regarding apps to be used, how to create backups, and collaboration with third-party vendors. The security policies will enable enterprises to keep remote workers engaged in productive work while preventing a possible data breach.

2. Permissioned VPNs for employee devices

The implementation of a VPN across various platforms such as smartphones, tablet PCs, and stand-alone workstations is necessary to ensure secure access to enterprise apps and data. VPNs are ideal for connecting employees to enterprise applications and data over a secure channel using an encrypted tunnel.

3. Integrating advanced connectivity and profile management software

The connectivity and collaboration tools used by remote workers to communicate with their colleagues must be equipped with security features that protect both the workers and the enterprise against malicious campaigns. For example, the use of two-factor authentication combined with strong encryption measures can provide a robust layer of cybersecurity.

At the same time, remote workers are required to manage multiple platforms and accounts. For the ease of remembering, employees may repeat passwords across work and personal accounts. If their devices are running outdated software and virus protection, they will be doubly vulnerable to cyberattacks. This is where modern password protection and management platforms like LastPass can help by allowing users to securely log into multiple accounts.

4. Instituting a robust cybersecurity framework

Enterprises will need to deploy enterprise-grade endpoint identification and protection software that can alert the organization if any suspicious activity is detected. This includes malicious files containing viruses, malware, spyware, or Trojans. The software should also be able to perform system integrity checks and identify systems that are potentially at risk of getting compromised.

5. Remote access software

Innovative enterprise solution providers are enabling ‘over the air’ remote patching, repairing, and diagnostics. Tools such as LogMeIn’s Rescue allow internal IT teams to take complete control of the endpoint, remotely troubleshoot, and fix security issues before they become a threat to the business continuity.

These measures will ensure that remote workers enjoy a seamless experience while performing their duties from remote locations. At the same time, enterprises will be able to protect sensitive, business-critical information and prevent data breaches that can otherwise lead them to incur not just financial losses but also damage to the brand value and reputation. The era of hybrid work culture is imminent and enterprises will need to put a strong IT security framework in place in compliance with data and privacy protection guidelines such as EU-GDPR to not just survive but also thrive in it.

The author of this article is Mr. Rahul Sharma, MD-India, LogMeIn.

The views and opinions expressed are not of IIFL Securities, indiainfoline.com

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