As businesses keep staying remote

15.05.2020

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Remote work is the new reality which even the most traditional companies have to deal with. In some countries, the number of specialists who work remotely at least sometimes has grown by 159% over the past 15 years, but the current healthcare situation turned the urgent move to remote work into unavoidable escape and pursuit of financial stability.

Regardless of the reason for the transition to remote work, if a company doesn’t have the relevant experience, relocating business processes for the first time is fraught with serious risks.

Let’s pay attention to typical and hidden threats when moving to remote work, provide examples of safe work outside the office, give everyone common recommendations on detection and prevention of policy violations with the help of special instruments and illustrate our advice offering real life cases.

What can happen?

18 million phishing emails and 240 million spam messages exploiting the topic of COVID-19 were intercepted by Google daily. Remote work demands that a new kind of workflow is arranged which would differ from that established in the office. Not only social engineering or dangerous BEC attacks can become a massive problem while you are away, but many other threats may surface making your company face security issues.

Technical problems include corporate servers failure due to insufficient bandwidth – remote connections add some pressure, and systems might lag; unprotected channels for remote connection between users’ PCs and corporate systems; virus infections of corporate networks caused by an already damaged employee’s laptop.

Human factor problems emerge because of error or negligence – the quick transition to remote work can make network administrators incorrectly configure remote user rights; discipline violation, as even at the workplace, employees spend up to 30% of their time talking, drinking coffee or doing something else; corporate fraud. During a crisis, employees worry about their financial situation and some might decide on selling company secrets to competitors. According to experts, the number of such incidents gets twice as big when a company moves to remote work.

How to protect your business?

Ensure remote connection to corporate resources via a VPN channel with two-factor authentication, make sure the bandwidth of the Internet connection channels is sufficient, whether it can cope with the extra load, and establish backup communication channels.

Install protection tools (antivirus, firewall) on each laptop, make sure that the OS versions, the monitoring instruments and software needed for task implementation are updated.

Encrypt hard drives and create content backup to the corporate cloud. The company will not lose data, even if drives are removed or damaged.

Ban users from accessing a corporate laptop BIOS so they couldn’t boot the operating system from a USB flash drive.

If corporate laptops can’t be taken home, configure access to terminal servers with two-factor authentication. Like this private employees’ PCs will serve only for input and output of information – as a remote screen, keyboard and mouse.

Use innovative control solutions:

•    SIEM systems for ensuring the security of corporate IT infrastructure (hardware, software, user account activity)
•    DAM (database activity monitoring) solutions for data control in DBMS and business applications (control of user requests to a database, changes, deletions, downloading, unauthorised access attempts)
•    DCAP (data centric audit and protection) solutions for file storages monitoring (which files are confidential, where they are stored, who has access to them and what does to them)
•    DLP (data loss prevention) systems for monitoring of data transfer channels and user PC activity (accidental and intentional data leaks, corporate fraud attempts)

PLEASE NOTE: monitoring solutions should be installed on all corporate servers and PCs to which remote users will connect, as well as all corporate laptops that employees will use outside the office. So an employer will be able to get the whole picture of what is happening in the company, and be aware of any inside violations.


Remote employees Employee monitoring Risk management