The overnight transition to remote work environments has exposed many companies to new security risks. Almost one in four organisations (24%), have had to pay unexpected costs to address cybersecurity breaches or malware infections after shelter-in-place orders were imposed, according to recent research by security company Malwarebytes.
With the average time to identify a breach in 2019 being 206 days (source: IBM), and opportunistic cyber criminals looking to exploit any areas of vulnerability, savvy IT leaders are making security a priority, if they haven’t already. If, like many companies, you took a connectivity first approach to enable remote working, now is the time to take stock and plug any security gaps.
Our experts have worked with customers across the globe to create a long-term, sustainable plan for secure remote working. And we’ve recently published a white paper, which outlines Five Steps to Securely Connect your Remote Workforce.
1. Secure your Corporate Network
For many companies, the need to enable remote working has highlighted the fact that an overhaul of network architecture is long overdue.
VPNs may have offered a security solution in the past; however, many were designed for a fundamentally different time and are just not up to the job of enabling an entire organization to use that connection for remote working. With the move to the cloud and ‘As a Service’ models, the VPN may just be adding a redundant connectivity hop.
Moving to the cloud can be a big step towards securing your network server infrastructure, but your cloud solution also needs to be configured correctly so you can maximize the security protection it offers.
An expert partner such as Intrado can help you navigate the modern networking technology landscape to decide what is right for you, from SD-WAN, to SBC locations to carrier peering and direct routing. We can work with you to carry out a full risk review, including network access, current controls in place and the threats your remote workers may inadvertently be creating
2. Address End Users Needs
This is a key element that is often overlooked, leading to costly mistakes. We have seen many companies invest in technologies that, while they work perfectly well, were not adopted simply because they weren’t the right fit for users. Our experienced experts can help you to review user requirements and ensure all employees have the optimal devices, connectivity and user experience to work productively, wherever they are.
A thorough end user assessment should include, amongst other things: access to corporate systems; telephony platforms; access to technical support; end user devices; authentication procedures; secure practices; needs of specific groups of workers, who may work in the field or on the shop floor.
We can also help uncover valid used cases for specialized devices. For example, Intrado worked with an agriculture company to integrate specialized monitoring equipment into a remote workflow and remove the requirement for onsite presence.
3. Encourage a “Security First” Mindset
Cyber-criminals have always been opportunistic, and the rapid change forced on all of us by the global pandemic has created many new avenues to exploit. For example, the desire for up-to-date information has led to an explosion of phishing emails. Google counted more than 18 million malware and phishing emails related to the novel coronavirus on its service every day in April.
It is vital that businesses educate employees - at all levels in the organization - about their shared responsibility for security. Security is now a business, rather than a technical, consideration and needs to be seen as such by the C-suite. As businesses adapt to the conditions imposed by the ‘new normal’, it is vital that security is built into the planning process.
4. Take Compliance Considerations into Account
Don’t forget to involve your risk, compliance and governance teams in the discussion. Employers have a duty of care to their remote workers, and it is important to consider how you continue to meet those obligations as remote working becomes a way of life for many.
A great example of this is providing location-agnostic emergency services, so that if a home-based worker dials an emergency number the ambulance or fire engine or even police vehicle arrives at their home address and not the office.
If you are a global organization, it may well make sense to work with a globally experienced partner to help you address the technical requirements in each market. For example, Intrado’s E911 services are providing global organizations with a solution for North America, and we can also offer capabilities for other territories.
5. Consider Commercial Factors
Finally, it is important to keep commercial impacts in mind throughout the assessment process. We have helped many customers to maximize budgets, and to access stimulus measures deployed around the world. There are many options available from bringing forward equipment purchases to take advantage of attractive financing options to restructuring service contracts with legacy solution credits and flexible commercial terms.
While we are living in uncertain times, the future offers some exciting opportunities, as well as challenges. Talk to our experts to find out how you can minimize risk and face the future with confidence, knowing that your remote working strategy leaves absolutely nothing to chance.
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