Cybersecurity has grown more concern for many organizations as they incorporate remote and hybrid work systems, which have skyrocketed reports on data breaches. In 2021, 212.4 million users were reportedly affected by varying data breaches in the United States and a second place figure of 156.1 million in Iran.
This staggering report has grown the need to secure small businesses effectively in 2022. Data breaches and hacks can cost enterprises so much and even leak sensitive client data to the wrong people.
The expansion in the remote work system has massively impacted the increased attacks on enterprise networks. In fact, new and more sophisticated security threats have emerged and have created significant vulnerabilities for companies to deal with.
While IT teams in organizations can monitor networks and devices in a physical office to enhance the protection of network resources by identifying immediate risks and offering speedy solutions, it is almost impossible with remote workers. And this is because remote workers are situated in dispersed locations, can switch between devices while working, and work at flexible hours, among others.
So, while remote work has created so much ease of employment for workers and their companies, along with other benefits, it has also opened the door for new weaknesses and vulnerabilities in network security. Organizational executives, therefore, need to equip their employees with the required training for securing their work and business resources on the web.
Here are some of the risk factors to consider as threats to enterprise network security:
- Deploying weak and easy-to-guess passwords that also remain unchanged for a long time.
- Harnessing single authentication model to accessing enterprise networks.
- Not keeping inventory of employees’ devices.
- Exposing sensitive information via phishing emails.
- No backup plan in place for the most unexpected.
- Working with unsecured remote devices and public networks.
To secure your remote workforce in 2022 effectively, consider these essential practices.
1. Consider the SASE Architecture
SASE is pronounced “sassy,” which means Secure Access Service Edge. It is a network and security model that delivers solutions as a single focused cloud solution with SD-WAN Capabilities. In addition, the SASE implementation involves a network of other components such as Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), FWaaS (Firewall-as-a-Service), CASB (Cloud Access Security Broker), and SWG (Secure Web Gateways).
SASE offers a wide array of benefits to organizations compared to traditional solutions. Some of its benefits include:
- SASE merges multiple network and security solutions that several vendors would have delivered into a single-point cloud-based security solution. This allows enterprises to interact with reduced vendors and spend less money, time, and internal resources configuring physical infrastructure.
- Zero Trust Network Access for securing both entry and exit points on a network. The model involves subjecting every potential access to security checks before being able to use resources. SASE leverages the Zero Trust model to ensure internal network posture remains sanitized.
- Simplified policy management rather than juggling around various solution policies from different vendors. SASE helps organizations set, adjust, and enforce access policies across devices, locations, applications, and users from a single portal.
- SASE averts the possibility of malicious activity within a corporate network by filtering DNS queries, URLs, and other incoming and outgoing network traffic. This helps to prevent diverse forms of threats to corporate data.
2. Outsource to Trusted Third-Party Providers Only
You can’t handle everything on your own; you need other people that can help provide the necessary services. Hence, you’ll need to outsource to third parties. But it is essential to get in the right and trusted hands.
Most companies that run remote and hybrid systems also outsource their marketing. IT management, content marketing, and others to help them focus on major tasks. And when you can access trusted vendors, you will also be able to access a higher level of expertise which may not be available within your organization.
Having these third-party providers reduces workload and streamlines massive processes for you. However, ensure to opt for trusted vendors.
3. Use Antivirus Software
Deploy efficient antivirus systems across company devices. You’ll find quite a number of antivirus software that will help you prevent spyware, malware, trojans, DDoS, and ransomware attacks. The advanced software prevents common threats and can be automatically updated to fix bugs.
Company executives must make comprehensive antivirus tools available for all their employees to keep their network secure. Even small business owners and freelancers need to secure their systems with antivirus software. You may want to consider the free versions, but ensure to pick safely.
4. Ensure Regular Apps and Systems Update
Systems update is one of the most important ways to secure remote businesses in 2022. The speedy rate of sophistication of cyber attacks on networks requires that organizations and their employees keep up with speed by regularly updating their systems and apps to fix bugs.
Any lag in updating your software will leave your network vulnerable to new attacks.
5. Set Clear Policies for Your Remote Workforce
Set clear policies to guide your remote workforce’s actions and how they connect to work systems and handle data. You may want to make it compulsory for all your workers to use password managers or VPNs to access network resources.
Most companies and freelancers worldwide already use VPNs to bolster their security on the internet and have a viable remote work policy in place. Typically a clear policy should include password management, employee training, data encryption, separating work and personal devices, and VPN usage. Also, consider conducting mandatory training on cybersecurity from time to time. Structure it in a way that suits your company. For example, you can make it quarterly or twice a year.
6. Use Data Encryption Services
With virtual private network (VPN) software, you can be sure to secure the transfer of data between your remote workers and clients or the company. In addition, they provide end-to-end encryption tunnels for data transmission and help users achieve many other benefits.
A VPN will secure your data against session hijacking and MIM (Man-In-The-Middle) attacks. More so, the use of a VPN shouldn’t be reserved for a while only. For instance, some organizations restrict it only when a public Wi-Fi network is used.
An all-inclusive VPN policy ensures that the company network stays secure and inaccessible to hackers even when an employee’s home network is breached.