How can businesses protect sensitive data outside the corporate firewall?

Cybercriminals are looking for new ways to exploit insecure remote working capabilities. How can you protect your critical data and support staff with flexible working at the same time?

3rd September 2020BlogRob Batters

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Remote working doesn’t have to compromise the security of your data

 Evolution of work

Increasingly, businesses and their employees are choosing to leave behind traditional office-based working in favour of more flexible arrangements, such as working from home. While the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has created a surge in remote working, telecommuting has been steadily increasing over recent years.

In its 2019 survey on the state of remote working, Buffer found that 99 percent of survey respondents would like to work remotely for at least some of the week for the rest of their careers. And with remote working helping to boost productivity and efficiency for many organisations, its no surprise that employers are happy to let their employees telecommute.

Beyond the corporate firewall

Before companies can reap the rewards of a remote working culture, they must first address the complex security challenges posed by this new way of working, especially when it comes to providing secure access to mission-critical data.

Working remotely can create additional risk for your organisation’s core systems. For instance, when employees telecommute, they are often connecting to company servers via their home or public Wi-Fi networks that are significantly less secure than a corporate network. Cybercriminals are aware of the vulnerabilities of home and public Wi-Fi networks, particularly those connections that still use factory-standard credentials, and they will seize any opportunity to exploit these weaknesses to steal valuable data.

Keeping networks secure from home

Recognising the potential security threats from improperly secured internet connections, many organisations require staff working remotely to connect to company servers using encrypted Virtual Private Networks (VPN). Establishing a VPN can offer a great additional layer of protection; however, poorly configured VPNs could leave your business open to attack.

Some home networks will already be compromised by malware or infected hardware, which hackers can exploit to access your systems if infected computers have an established VPN terminal. To protect against this threat, it is essential to ensure that you run regular endpoint security checks and ensure strong authentication, preferably with two-step verification processes.

Even if employees use encrypted network connections, sensitive corporate information can still get into the hands of criminals if staff lose their laptops or mobile devices. While you cannot completely prevent loss or theft of your employees’ devices, you can mitigate the risks of losing data by encrypting the disks on company laptop and mobile devices. And with a robust Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution in place, IT teams can even remotely wipe sensitive data from stolen or lost devices—preventing data breaches and ensuring regulatory compliance.

What’s more, if companies fail to set up robust privileged access management controls to safeguard sensitive company data, criminals have more opportunities to breach important systems by hacking any standard employee account.

women having a meeting on her laptop

Round-the-clock protection and privileged access management

With demand for remote working capabilities surging, many IT departments may find that they are too busy or simply lack the personnel and infrastructure to enable telecommuting on a large scale—limiting flexibility in the face of unexpected disruption.

At Northdoor, we have a long track record of helping companies establish robust, reliable and resilient security systems and processes to support every aspect of their business. We recognise that many companies’ IT resources are already stretched, which is why we offer a wide range of security services designed to help you safeguard your mission-critical data and maintain tight control over privileged access management.

Our experts have extensive experience in setting up ultra-secure remote working capabilities and can help you to understand where your data resides, assess current and potential network vulnerabilities, manage network privileges and establish best-practice data governance.

Cybercriminals will continue to develop more sophisticated ways to compromise corporate systems, and vulnerabilities created by remote working are at the top of their hit list. Speak with Northdoor today to learn more about how we can help you develop secure telecommuting capabilities and continuously monitor your networks for new threats.

Speak with Northdoor today to learn more about how we can help you develop secure telecommuting capabilities and continuously monitor your networks for new threats.

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