Remote Work Raises New Cybersecurity Challenges: Steps to Reshape Your Approach

Is your organization among the 84 percent of businesses that plan to expand work from home policies following the COVID-19 pandemic? If so, you should be aware that working from home or any other location poses new cybersecurity challenges for IT teams.

In order to facilitate secure remote work, many businesses need to ramp up their security efforts at the device level. This means using the latest technology to help monitor devices, updating BC/DR plans, and preparing end-users for unexpected changes to their work environment.

Put Device Security First

Perimeter-based security is the established model for a traditional office setting. IT teams have built their security infrastructures over the years specifically to protect enterprise networks and the information within them.

The result of this arrangement was that starting in early March, many companies continued to rely on VPNs while their employees worked on enterprise networks at home. This is a Band-Aid solution that won’t be financially or operationally sustainable in the long run. Instead, companies’ should focus on device security for the long term.

Since IT teams can’t control which Wi-Fi networks people connect to at home or in public, they need to create security infrastructures that support each device so that employees can work safely on any network. This will enable companies to make moves like shifting to the cloud, so that employees can access the data they need, wherever they are. None of this is possible without the right technology.

Take Advantage of Mobile Device Management Solutions

State regulators recommend having an MDM solution in place because mobile device management is proven structure for individual device management on an enterprise scale. A mobile device management (MDM) solution allows your IT team to monitor devices remotely and ensure that they’re equipped with the right security measures and updated software.

With the visibility an MDM solution can provide, IT teams can keep inventory of all work-related Apple devices and their active security measures such as:

  • Multi-factor authentication, in addition to basic password protection.
  • The latest malware software updates.
  • The installation of critical software patches. 

An MDM solution can also alert IT teams of any changes or threats that may need attention. Based on the seriousness of an alert, IT teams can customize their MDM solution to remediate threats automatically as they occur or to notify an IT employee directly.

The need for better mobile device management is urgent. IT teams have reported an uptick in cybersecurity attacks since the beginning of March. These security disruptions can disrupt end-user productivity and jeopardize company data. By using an MDM solution, IT teams can achieve stronger device security to keep end users focused on their work.

Update Your Emergency Plans

If the current pandemic caught your company without a plan for how to support a remote workforce, you’re not alone. A Pulse Secure survey found nearly a third of companies were ill-prepared for working from home at the start of the pandemic.

As companies look to the future, IT leaders need to update their emergency plans to address emerging risks and end users’ needs. This means renewing your company’s commitment to securing individual devices and providing guidelines for long-term remote work.

For companies with many Apple devices in their fleet, it’s likely that your plans will include information about the role of mobile device management software to support device security.

As your company establishes new protocols, they must be recorded and communicated to your IT team and to end-users. Whether your staff is displaced due to extreme weather, a personal emergency, or a pandemic, it is critical that you have a plan to work remotely during these times. Without documentation, it will be difficult to communicate how you will promote cybersecurity within your remote workforce (and it will be even harder to launch a response, should an urgent threat emerge).

A New Way to Think about Security

For better mobile device security, now and in the future, IT teams must design their responses to support the company at the device level. This involves using the right mobile device management solution to monitor and prepare devices so that employees can work wherever they are.

The move from perimeter-based security to this approach may not happen overnight, but with a cloud-based software solution, you can implement a new strategy as soon as it’s ready, no matter where your staff is located.

If broadly addressing cybersecurity risks may not seem possible today with your current tech stack and IT team roster, challenge yourself to rethink what’s possible with a small team and the right mobile device management tool.

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