Top Ten: Ways to Secure Remote Workers

Since COVID-19 lockdowns were announced in March of this year, IT departments in vast numbers of organizations have scrambled to enable their employees to continue working from home – and, in many cases, security has been significantly impacted. According to an (ISC)2 survey of 256 cybersecurity professionals in April, 96% of respondents’ organizations had closed their physical work environments and moved to remote work-from-home policies for employees, while 23% said cybersecurity incidents experienced by their organization had increased since transitioning to remote working.

Furthermore, in a session moderated by Infosecurity as part of Infosecurity Europe’s Virtual Conference in June, a discussion determined that IT security spending could be cut due to the pandemic as companies look to reduce their overall budget.

Therefore, Infosecurity turned to key figures within the industry to ascertain the 10 best practices organizations can implement to ensure their employees are working from home effectively, safely and securely.

1 - Educate Your Workforce
Make sure your employees know how to see and stop common attacks (like phishing). Due to the current climate, you may need to send out additional training or refreshers to help your workforce recognize potential threats.
Source: Tom Kellermann, head cybersecurity strategist, Carbon Black

2 - Enable MFA for Even Stronger Security
Username and password is no longer strong enough for modern enterprise networks, especially for something as sensitive as a remote desktop. MFA significantly hardens your security posture.
Source: Mike Jumper, CEO, Glyptodon

3 - Prepare Your Incident Response Tactics
Make sure incident response plans are readily accessible with particular focus on saving response plans locally.
Source: Mike Kelley, CSO, Navisite

4 - Know Who You Are Connecting to
Educate your employees on the risks of using free/open wireless internet, including how to secure their traffic via VPN or identify insecure traffic should they be required to connect from an untrusted location.
Source: Brian Wilson, CISO, SAS

5 - Divide Between Work and Pleasure
Avoid mixing work and leisure activities on the same device. Work activities should be confined to work devices and personal activities to personal devices. 
Source: A.N. Ananth, CSO, Netsurion

6 - Manage Remote Desktop Access
Configure remote desktop servers so they accept connections only from the networks authorized to establish those connections.
Source: Mike Jumper, CEO, Glyptodon

7 - Keep Communications Open
Give employees avenues to openly communicate with your security and IT staff beyond submitting a trouble ticket. Your employees want to do the right thing, so be available via many mediums and keep lines of communication open.
Source: Brian Wilson, CISO, SAS

8 - Update Passwords Frequently
Your employees should be changing their passwords every few months – this becomes more important than ever when they are off the corporate network. Additionally, update your router’s password.
Source: Tom Kellermann, head cybersecurity strategist, Carbon Black

9 - Have a Backup Strategy and Follow it
If a ransomware attack was to get through, your files could be gone in an instant. Make sure your backup plans cover all servers and workstations.
Source: A.N. Ananth, CSO, Netsurion

10 - Use Managed Devices if Possible
If a managed device is not possible, use a brokered connection or a virtual workspace and use network access controls.
Source: Mike Hamilton, CISO, CI Security

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