Team Communication

As the hybrid model combines the best of both physical workplace and remote workforce, it is slowly becoming the dominant workplace model. A recent survey indicates that 44% of employees and 63% of organizations favor a hybrid work schedule. For employees, hybrid work means less commute, better work-life balance and a comfortable and favorable work environment that is most conducive to productivity.

For companies, it means less office rent, supplies, and other business expenses. Though the hybrid work model comes with many benefits, it has its share of shortcomings and the most important of them is security. Remote workers are more vulnerable to viruses, malware, spyware attacks than those working in the office kept secure by a dedicated IT team. Any compromise on business-critical information may result in huge financial implications, loss of credibility and lawsuits.

16 ways to secure remote access for the hybrid workplace

Any organization that is serious about delivering secure remote access for employees and securing their communication should consider all the security measures discussed below.

1. Cybersecurity policies

Companies will have to enact strict and uniform policies for remote workers engaged in productive work to prevent any data breaches. This should include the number of apps to be used, minimum level access for individuals, data backup, storage of confidential information and service level agreements with third-party vendors.

2. VPN Access

It is always advisable to provide secure access through VPNs for all the remote employees who log in through devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops and stand-alone workstations. A VPN connection provides a safe and secure connection to all your enterprise applications and data using an encrypted tunnel.

3. Two-factor authentication

The communication and collaboration tools that are used by the remote workers for secure remote collaboration should be equipped with security features that can protect the company against any spyware and malware attacks. All these tools must be equipped with two-factor authentication combined with strong encryption. Employees should be encouraged to change their password periodically and they should not be allowed to use the same password across multiple tools and platforms.

4. Cybersecurity framework

Since cyberattacks on business devices are on the rise, whether you are a small business or a Fortune 500 company, you will have to deploy enterprise-grade endpoint identification and protection software. These tools can perform system integrity checks and identify systems that are potentially at risk of getting infected or attacked.

They go beyond the usual commercial anti-virus and in case of any suspicious activities or viruses, malware, spyware, trojan attack, they allow admins to perform investigation and remediation against threats. Enterprise-grade endpoint security tools make it easy for your IT teams to easily respond to security incidents and alerts.

5. Remote access tools

There are a lot of commercial tools available in the market for remote patching, repairing, and diagnostics. Using these tools, your internal IT teams can take complete control of the end-user system, remotely troubleshoot, and fix security issues before they become a threat to your business.

6. Enact collaboration security

Companies are relying on communication and collaboration applications such as Zoom, Slack and Microsoft Teams to support their remote workforce. Though it is generally believed that these tools have inherent cybersecurity protections they are not sufficient. While companies like Slack and Zoom have been steadily beefing up the security, it is still not enough. Every company must do their assessment and add more security before implementing these security tools and platforms.

7. Adopt a zero-trust model

Zero-trust is a model and an architecture that protects enterprise applications and data by allowing access to only those devices and resources that have been explicitly granted permission as per the cybersecurity policy. This zero-trust model has been gaining popularity since the lockdown and it is expected that more than 60% of the companies will be adopting the zero-trust model by the end of 2022.

8. AWS protection for Cloud applications

Hosting your application in AWS is one of the best ways to meet all the core security and compliance requirements like data protection, identity & access management, network & application protection, threat detection & continuous monitoring, compliance & data privacy.

AWS provides services that help you protect your data, accounts, and workloads from unauthorized access. AWS data protection services provide encryption and key management and threat detection that continuously monitors and protects your accounts and workloads. Some of the leading communication tools like Slack, Zoom and Clariti are hosted in AWS

9. Ensure regular software and security updates

Regularly updating software, applications, and security patches is crucial to address vulnerabilities and protect against emerging threats. This includes operating systems, remote access tools, VPN clients, firewalls, antivirus software, and any other relevant software components. Maintaining up-to-date systems helps prevent attackers from exploiting known vulnerabilities and improves overall security posture.

10. Establish strong password policies and enforce regular changes

Implementing strong password policies is essential for building secure hybrid workplace. This involves enforcing complex passwords with a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Passwords should be regularly changed to mitigate the risk of compromise. Additionally, organizations should encourage the use of password managers and discourage the reuse of passwords across multiple accounts.

11. Conduct regular security audits and assessments

Regular security audits and assessments help identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses in your remote access infrastructure. This can involve performing penetration testing, vulnerability scanning, and reviewing security configurations. By conducting these assessments on a periodic basis, you can proactively identify and address any security gaps, ensuring a robust and secure remote workplace.

12. Enable remote access only for authorized personnel

Remote access for the hybrid workplace should be strictly limited to authorized personnel. Implement access controls and authentication mechanisms to ensure that only approved individuals can connect to the network remotely.

This can include user account management, role-based access controls, and the use of secure identity and access management (IAM) solutions. Unauthorized access attempts should be monitored and blocked to prevent unauthorized entry.

13. Implement strong network perimeter security measures

Securing the network perimeter is crucial to protect against external threats. This involves deploying firewalls, intrusion detection systems (IDS), and intrusion prevention systems (IPS) to monitor and filter network traffic. Implementing strict access controls, network segmentation, and demilitarized zones (DMZ) can help protect sensitive internal resources from unauthorized access and potential attacks.

14. Use secure collaboration and communication tools

When employees work remotely, it’s important to use secure collaboration and communication tools. This includes encrypted messaging applications, secure file sharing platforms, and virtual meeting solutions with end-to-end encryption. It’s essential to choose reputable and trusted tools that prioritize data privacy and security.

15. Regularly review and update your remote access security policies

Remote access security policies should be regularly reviewed and updated to reflect the evolving threat landscape and the changing needs of the organization. This involves assessing and addressing any weaknesses, incorporating new security measures, and ensuring compliance with industry regulations. Policies should provide clear guidelines on remote access procedures, acceptable use, data protection, and incident response.

16. Enable remote device management and monitoring

Implementing remote device management and monitoring solutions allows you to track and manage remote devices accessing your network. This includes features such as remote device configuration, patch management, and the ability to remotely wipe or disable lost or stolen devices. By maintaining control over remote devices, you can ensure that they meet security requirements and are protected against potential risks.

How Clariti secures communication in hybrid work environment

Clariti, hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS), leverages the security capabilities and infrastructure provided by AWS to enhance the security of remote access for the hybrid workplace. Here’s how Clariti benefits from AWS’s security features:

  • Network Security

Clariti hosted on AWS benefits from AWS’s network security measures, such as firewalls, DDoS protection, and traffic filtering. AWS’s robust network security infrastructure helps protect Clariti’s servers and data from external threats.

  • Data Encryption

AWS provides various encryption options, including AWS Key Management Service (KMS), to encrypt data at rest and in transit. Clariti utilizes these encryption services to ensure sensitive data within the platform is protected from unauthorized access.

  • Secure Storage

AWS offers secure storage services like Amazon S3 and Amazon EBS, which Clariti can utilize to store data securely. These services provide data durability, replication, and access control mechanisms to protect data stored within Clariti.

  • Identity and Access Management

AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) allows Clariti to manage user identities and access controls. Clariti integrates with AWS IAM to enforce fine-grained access permissions and ensure that only authorized users can access the platform and its resources.

  • Compliance and Certifications

AWS maintains a robust set of compliance certifications, such as SOC 1/2/3, ISO 27001, GDPR, and HIPAA, among others. Clariti benefits from AWS’s compliance programs, ensuring that it meets industry standards and regulatory requirements.

  • Security Monitoring and Logging

Clariti utilizes security monitoring and logging capabilities through services like AWS CloudTrail, AWS Config, and AWS CloudWatch. Clariti leverages these services to monitor and audit user activities, detect security incidents, and generate logs for analysis.

  • Disaster Recovery

AWS offers disaster recovery solutions, including automated backups and replication across multiple availability zones. Clariti utilizes AWS’s disaster recovery features to ensure business continuity and minimize downtime in case of system failures or disruptions.

  • Scalability and Availability

AWS provides scalability and high availability features, allowing Clariti to handle increased demand and ensure reliable access for remote users. AWS’s infrastructure ensures that Clariti can scale resources as needed without compromising security.

  • Patch Management

AWS offers automated patching and updates for underlying infrastructure components. Clariti leverages this feature to ensure that the servers and underlying software are up-to-date with the latest security patches and fixes.

  • Physical Security

AWS’s data centers are highly secure, employing stringent physical security measures to protect servers and infrastructure. This includes access control systems, surveillance, and 24/7 security monitoring. Clariti benefits from the physical security measures implemented by AWS to safeguard its hosted environment.

By utilizing AWS’s robust security capabilities and infrastructure, Clariti enhances the security of hybrid workplace. These measures contribute to securing data, protecting against threats, ensuring compliance, and providing a reliable and secure collaboration platform for remote teams.

Conclusion

Securing remote access for the hybrid workplace is of utmost importance in today’s dynamic work environment. As organizations embrace the flexibility and benefits of hybrid work models, ensuring the safety and protection of data and systems becomes paramount. By implementing robust security measures and following best practices, businesses can safeguard remote access and protect sensitive information from potential threats.

Key steps to secure remote access for the hybrid workplace include establishing strong authentication protocols, implementing secure VPN connections, regularly updating software and systems, enforcing strict access controls, educating employees about security best practices, and monitoring network activity for any suspicious behavior. Additionally, leveraging advanced technologies such as multi-factor authentication, encryption, and secure remote desktop solutions adds an extra layer of protection.

By adopting a proactive approach to remote access security, organizations can mitigate risks, maintain data integrity, and safeguard their infrastructure. A secure remote access strategy not only protects confidential information but also ensures uninterrupted productivity, fosters employee trust, and instills confidence in clients and stakeholders.

In this rapidly evolving hybrid work landscape, prioritizing remote access security is essential for organizations to thrive in the digital realm while safeguarding their valuable assets.

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