It is undeniable; the coronavirus global pandemic has radically changed everyday business processes. Now many enterprises once focused on their physical premises must contend with a remote workforce unlike any they employed previously. How can you secure your remote workforce during the coronavirus crisis? 

Of course, your business may not feel concerned about cybersecurity at this exact moment. Instead, you may believe it a low priority compared to other challenges including the means of communication among your employees, managers, and third-parties. Alternatively, you may emphasize changing your budgets to accommodate the change in workflows over security.

However, cybersecurity must become a top priority for your enterprise. With an increasingly remote workforce, the digital perimeter becomes proportionally porous and dangerous. Also, maintaining necessary visibility becomes an increasing challenge. Further, remote workforces pose new threats to your overall network security if not prevented promptly. Next-gen endpoint security in particular offers enterprises the means to secure your workforce regardless of their location. Moreover, it helps maintain visibility and defends against remote threats. 

Here’s how you can secure your remote workforce during the coronavirus crisis. 

How to Secure Your Remote Workforce in a Critical Time

1. Embrace the VPN

Even during times of crisis, hackers don’t relent. In fact, they embrace chaos and confusion to further their malicious goals. Additionally, hackers have the infrastructure to take advantage of these events since they tend to work from home already. 

In any case, hackers will continue to try their cyber attacks even as your enterprise embraces an increasingly remote workforce. Thus you need to defend yourself against the most common types of infections. In more social times, public Wi-Fi represented one of the most common vectors of attack for remote workforces. However, any unsecured Wi-Fi connection can suffer from the same issues; namely, they don’t provide the necessary layers of encryption for protecting sensitive data as it moves from device to device. 

Thankfully next-generation endpoint security often includes virtual private networks (VPNs). VPNs encrypt data in transit; thus, they ensure that only the sender and recipient can see sensitive data even when sent across unsecured connections. However, your enterprise needs to find the endpoint security and VPN provider that can match your individual use case.

2. Pair Your Endpoint Security with Strong Authentication

To secure your remote workforce during the coronavirus, you need to consider the structure of your digital perimeter. 

The digital perimeter comprises all of your IT entry points, which includes every user and every device. On the user side of things, you need to deploy a strong authentication protocol. Authentication and identity verification ensures that only legitimate users can access your network; therefore, external threat actors can’t enter and insider threats can’t cause damage above their station. 

One aspect of authentication in regards to remote endpoint security involves device identity management. In addition to every user, every device has its own identity and its own baseline behaviors. If an “employee” logs in with a different device, that should merit investigation by your IT security team. Alternatively, if a recognized device gives the right credentials but begins acting in a strange way (like automatically uploading unknown files) that too should merit investigation.

Device identity functions as an endpoint security layer to overall identity and access management policies. Moreover, it can act as a continuous authentication factor in a multifactor authentication policy, helping to weed out hackers posing as your remote workforce. 

One important thing to note when determining how to secure your remote workforce: the more factors, the better. Of course, two-factor authentication (Multifactor authentication/MFA) is better than single-factor authentication, but three or four factors provide even greater assurance. Additionally, factors do not need to be intrusive or upfront at the login stage.  ALERT: Cyber threats don’t rest even during pandemics.

3. Prepare to Secure Every Device of Your Remote Workforce

Many enterprises embrace a bring-your-own-devices (BYOD) culture in their on-premises environment. After all, working off a device they know increases employee productivity and job satisfaction. Yet that doesn’t mean BYOD comes without risk, especially when added to the complication of remote workflows. 

Without proper visibility, you may not know what data is stored on each device. In fact, your employees may not realize the data they have stored on their devices. Thankfully, next-generation endpoint security can enforce Data Loss Protection (DLP) capabilities. This keeps a close eye on your sensitive data, ensuring that it doesn’t leave the network without permission. Also, DLP prevents users from storing enterprise data without permission, especially to notoriously porous public cloud databases.

Looking at the big picture, your endpoint security needs to provide a consistent level of cybersecurity in each device as it connects to your network. Thus you may need a solution that enforces mobile security and mandates that each work-device deploys your selected cybersecurity capabilities before granting access. 

Ultimately, you may never have the power to completely secure your remote workforce. However, you can’t guarantee you secure your on-premise workers either. Every next-generation capability you deploy increases your security and decreases the target on your business. Make sure that you embrace other endpoint security capabilities such as firewalls, antivirus, and application control. Make cybersecurity a priority in the same way you must prioritize your physical health.

Get endpoint security now, before you face a digital threat. Waiting until after a threat occurs only invites more attackers. Make the right call for these difficult times.

Posted by Ben Canner in Best Practices