The recent coronavirus pandemic forced many enterprises and startups to adopt remote working to survive the most restrictive lockdowns and preserve the health of their employees.
A flexible mobile workforce can work remotely with great ease, and the benefits of embracing this technology are substantial enough to justify its continued use even after the virus threat will be over. Many workers feel they are more productive when they work from their own home, and many employers know how much working out of the office can reduce overheads.
However, working remotely has its own risks which should not be underestimated. That’s why it is critical to ensure that the remote connections used by your employees are safe and secure.
Why is remote working dangerous?
Today, the internet is full of malicious actors that lie in wait to launch their next cyberattack. As remote work is becoming the norm, a business must know how to protect all the information that goes into the cloud, especially sensitive and private data. Connecting to client and company data from unsecured networks is dangerous enough, but that’s not all.
Many employees working from home tend to use the same devices for both business and private tasks. It’s not uncommon that those devices are connected to vulnerable public Wi-Fi networks, exposing precious data to unnecessary risks. Mobile working creates many additional weak links, but most of them can be solved with a good VPN.
What is a VPN?
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a fantastic tool that lets you establish a secure network connection with a dedicated server to encrypt your data and hide your location. It is used to guarantee anonymity and online privacy for a public internet connection by making it a private network. A VPN intercepts all data transferred by your network infrastructure before a public Wi-Fi or Internet Service Provider (ISP) could see it. Then sends it to a private VPN server, masking your IP address and encrypting it.
Once your data is encrypted, it is sent from this new VPN server and location to its destination, making it impossible to be hacked or traced. No one, not even your ISP might know to whom you are connecting, what are you doing, or trace your browsing history. Your IP is completely hidden, meaning that no info about the details of your own device is ever received by your online destination as well. On top of all that, if any cybercriminal tries to intercept your data flow, they will only see encrypted and inaccessible information. In a nutshell, a VPN provides any business with a solid layer of protection against malicious attack and unwanted prying eyes.
Why is a VPN necessary for remote working?
VPNs are very cost-effective and easy-to-implement security measures. As we pass the halfway mark of 2020, the best VPN services today can be used to secure a connection, even if your remote employee is using an unsecured home or public network. All vital data is encrypted, so even if a hacker might end up intercepting it, there’s nothing it can do with it. Even better, a VPN will make it impossible to tie that data with the details of the original connection such as the location or type device used. This is particularly important to enforce your organization’s cybersecurity, and protect your vulnerable data at all times. Every employee’s activity will be safeguarded, regardless of the level of security they currently employ on their own devices.
A VPN is really easy to implement and use, even if your enterprise does not have a dedicated ITOps team to handle this technology. Actually, it’s so easy that anyone, even people without real IT training, can use it to ensure that any gaps in your defenses are filled. You just need to make sure that all the devices that will work remotely, including home computers, laptops and smartphones have a desktop or mobile app version of that VPN installed. Lay out clear rules to explain what are the requirements to use a device for working purposes though, to avoid distracted employees from using unsecured connections to answer to email on the move, for example.
A good VPN can be critical for any security audit since it’s a great way to show that your company handles other people’s data with the utmost care and attention. Needless to say, this is a fantastic boost to your organization’s reputation with both auditors and clients as well.
Remote working is, hands down, one of the best innovations brought forward by recent technologies. However, it is not devoid of risks if you don’t couple this new form of work with the right security best practices. Using a robust VPN service and defining a clear VPN usage policy is a key step to ensure that all your remote workers work securely. It is also a very cost-effective solution to save you from all the financial damage caused by a dangerous cyberattack.
Cyber Security Researcher. Information security specialist, currently working as risk infrastructure specialist & investigator. He is a cyber-security researcher with over 25 years of experience. He has served with the Intelligence Agency as a Senior Intelligence Officer. He has also worked with Google and Citrix in development of cyber security solutions. He has aided the government and many federal agencies in thwarting many cyber crimes. He has been writing for us in his free time since last 5 years.