You should begin entering remote connections safely in 2020. 

This is because more and more vulnerabilities of network, server, device, and database access occur. There are steps we can take to make these remote connections more secure and less likely to cause a security breach. 

But first, we are going to discuss here what secure remote access consists of, how it works, and what its benefits are.

 

What are Remote Connections and Why are they Important

Secure remote access protects the transmission of sensitive data when applications are accessed from devices outside the corporate network. 

Now an organization can have employees connect to its internal network and access sensitive data from locations around the world. 

Because of this, the old access security measures are no longer sufficient and must be replaced with safeguards that allow employees and other verified users secure access from anywhere, on any device, at any time.

You need to know that a compromised server could be used to eavesdrop on communications and manipulate them, as well as a “jumping off” point to attack other hosts within the organization. 

Instead, you can protect your back with a remote access server on a dedicated host. This reduces the likelihood of a remote access server being compromised, limiting its potential impact. 

The organization should also consider using multiple remote access solutions if its remote access users have very different security needs (as one group accessing typical low-risk resources and another group accessing critical confidential data). 

The security of stored data is another important consideration for remote access server security. 

We’ll look at all of these measures and best practices below.

 

How do Remote Connections Work (Best Practices)

There are several types of security solutions and technologies that fall into the secure remote access category, including (but not limited to):

  • Endpoint Security: Verifies that desktop antivirus and firewall software are in place, systems are patched, keyloggers or other dangerous processes are not running, and sensitive data is not cached

  • Virtual Private Network (VPN): A connection is established through an existing network, usually the public Internet, which is protected by authentication and encryption methods

  • VPN SSL: Uses the Secure Sockets Layer protocol (authentication and encryption technology built into every web browser) to create a secure and encrypted connection over a less secure network, such as the Internet

  • Single Sign-On (SSO): Allows any authenticated user to access selected applications with an initial set of login credentials.

  • Network Access Control (NAC): Controls access to a network through a combination of endpoint security measures, user authentication, and enforcement of network security policies.

  • Privileged Access Management (PAM): Set of tools that secure, monitor, and manage access to a company’s data from privileged accounts

Enlisting them isn’t enough. 

Let’s consider the following practices to set up your own safe remote connection.

1) Hardware & Operative Systems Management

When it comes to granting remote access to workers, keep in mind that they will access the network from different devices, and these can pose a threat. 

The ideal scenario would be for workers to access the company network from a trusted device.

 In other words, the company must provide a fully functional and equipped device or it must provide the means for the worker to obtain one. 

These devices, whether they are desktops, laptops, tablets, or even mobile phones, must have fully up-to-date operating systems and applications, a good quality antivirus, and in some cases even a hard drive encryption system.

 

2) Managing Device’s Physical Security

Among the anti-theft protection measures, we can find: neither leaving the unlocked device on display, in the car, nor in places where it can be easily stolen nor taking it out of the house if it is not necessary. 

However, some other tools or applications allow us, for example, to locate the lost or stolen device. The device can always be tracked and located in the location system is enabled. 

On the other hand, the most extreme security measure in case of theft, if important company data can be accessed, is to have a remote data erasure system. 

That means that even though the device has been stolen, they will not be able to access the information as it would have been destroyed.

 

3) Role Permission Management

There are multiple roles within a company, and to ensure security, all workers don’t need to have access to all information in the organization. 

Certain permits must be established at the company headquarters, depending on the worker’s position or the type of work the worker is going to perform. 

For example, a worker who performs administrative tasks will have access to bureaucracy and contract data, while a worker in charge of inventory management does not need to access that information.

 

4) Network Activity Monitoring

If your company offers the possibility of working remotely, you will have to keep that remote access network always under control. 

Therefore, all network activity must be monitored to identify suspicious activities. 

To monitor this network traffic, you should consider if there are repeated failed attempts to access your server or if you identify any suspicious activity such as downloading files or the like. 

Any type of traffic that appears inappropriate should be controlled and monitored until action is taken.

 

5) Password Management and Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Sometimes its importance is overlooked just because other security measures are available. 

However, passwords are just as important as the rest of the security measures, since passwords that contain personal information or with fewer characters are considered insecure. 

A strong password must contain at least eight characters, including uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and special characters. 

Since people generally don’t create strong passwords, there are password managers that do it for you and your employees. 

Two-factor or 2FA authentication should now be enforced when accessing any account when working remotely. 

Enter your username and password, then a second passcode is sent to another device, for example, your mobile phone, and you must enter it to gain access.

 

6) Authentication & Authorization 

To ensure access is properly restricted, each teleworker must be authenticated before granting access to organization resources. And then use authorization technologies to ensure that only the necessary resources can be used.

  • Authentication: There are many ways to authenticate remote access users, such as passwords, digital certificates, or hardware authentication tokens. Where possible, organizations should implement mutual authentication so that a remote access user can verify the legitimacy of a remote access server before providing authentication credentials.

  • Authorization: After verifying the identity of a remote access user, organizations can choose to perform verifications involving the teleworker client device to determine what internal resources the user should be allowed to access.

We understand. “Remote Connections” seems like an impossible objective to meet in 2020.

But believe when I say, it’s totally achievable.

This, with one condition: to invest in good business servers support and monitoring.

Our team of IT experts is ready to respond to any question you may have about it.