Remote Cybersecurity: Best Practices

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Remote work is here to stay 

Many of us have been working remote for over a year now. The pandemic hit in March of last year and virtually all industries had to adapt. The transition was sudden at the time, and IT and security personnel quickly had to organize their workforce to successfully work remotely. Work from Home (WFH) is no longer a temporary solution to a worldwide pandemic; evidence suggests that many organizations and workforces will continue to implement a hybrid of in office and work from home moving forward. 

What does remote mean for cybersecurity? 

Remote work presents a variety of unique security threats that do not apply to the controlled security environment in place at the office. Remote working team members are maneuvered outside the security perimeter of the organization and are a liability. The goal of the organization should be to expand their security perimeter by implementing administrative, physical and technical controls that reduce the likelihood of a security incident occurring. To learn more about administrative, physical and technical controls, watch this webinar (The discussion occurs at 14:14). 

Remote work security controls 

Whether you have recently transitioned to WFH, or your organization has been doing it for a while, it is critical to remember some of the standard security practices when working remote, such as: 

  1. Remote Access Solutions - Remote access solutions are a great way to secure your workforce and are oftentimes the first area that organizations consider implementing that extra level of security. Some commons Remote access solutions are VPNs (typically used by all employees), remote desktop software (more commonly used for remote management). Encryption and access control are extremely important when implementing ANY remote access solution.
  2. Multi-factor Authentication - When utilizing Remote Access Solutions, Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is another essential security control for remote workers. MFA is incredibly valuable because of the challenges inherent to authenticating users that are working remotely. With MFA, you can ensure that employees logging into systems are who they claim to be.
  3. Device management - When employees use personal devices (phone, home laptop, home desktop computer) to connect to company resources, it is important to implement policies requiring employees to use antivirus software, screen autolocking, WIFI encryption requirements, etc. Company-owned devices still pose a security threat and must be managed through device authentication, patch management, etc.
  4. Workforce Training - Security awareness training is the best way to deploy these and other security controls to your workforce. You can create and deliver your own internal training or utilize a preexisting Learning Management System like HIPAA One’s Knowledge Center. 

There may be other security controls and practices that are appropriate for your organization. A Security Risk Analysis (SRA) is an internal audit that identifies security controls and policies in place as well as gaps in organizational security. Consider performing a security risk analysis to determine what security controls your organization has in place and what improvements can be made. Our team of experts is also available to answer questions or provide security advice if you need a little help. We have been doing this for a long time! 

The pandemic has required us to adapt and find new solutions and processes to perform our daily work functions. The unfortunate reality is that bad actors are working around the clock to take advantage of these solutions and processes, and remote work is a modern-day gold mine. Implementing effective remote access controls is the best defense against these efforts to exploit our reliance on remote work. For questions about anything cybersecurity-related, contact a member of our team at support@hipaaone.com. 

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