How to Provide Secure Network Access for Remote Workers

Remote workers are on the rise, and companies are often unaware of how to provide them with secure network access. This is a problem because many remote jobs require file transfers that have sensitive data in them, not just about the company but about their employees as well.

With more employers taking advantage of remote work, it’s important to learn how to provide these employees with the security they need to do their jobs effectively. These are some ways you can create a secure network for your remote workers.

1. Use a VPN alternative to file server access

Many businesses prefer their remote employees to access the company network with a VPN, but VPNs are a headache to configure for security and performance. In fact, one of the largest complaints of remote workers is slow VPN performance, which hinders work productivity.

Remote file access solutions from companies like CentreStack provide a VPN-less alternative, which allows you to configure file access via a SaaS portal. It’s a simple and reliable solution that reduces the complexity of setting up a remote file server.

Users can remotely access files over HTTP/SSL protocols, keeping the data on-premises and eliminating any concerns about opening the entire network to cyber criminals.

As your number of remote employees increases, a VPN’s performance will degrade and suffer. A VPN alternative will allow you to remain agile and secure, so it’s a smart investment for the new normal of remote work.

2. Implement group-based permissions and user profiles

Virtual desktops allow you to provide users with granular access to your company’s intranet, but security depends on how finely-tuned your group-based permissions are. It’s fairly common for employees to mistakenly have more permissions than they’re meant to have, and this can cause all kinds of headaches down the road.

To address this, make sure that your IT personnel are regularly auditing each user’s permissions. This ensures that you’re not accidentally granting someone permissions that could cause harm to your network.

The best model to follow is the principle of least privilege necessary. In this model, user groups are granted only the minimum access necessary to allow them to do their jobs. If individual employees need extra privileges, then their individual profile can be extended to those privileges, if desired.

3. Use multifactor authentication or biometrics

Multi-factor authentication is fairly easy to implement nowadays, and you can capture biometrics from employees’ smartphone devices to verify their identity. While MFA may add a slight inconvenience to employees when accessing your company’s systems, it does give your data a much stronger layer of additional security.

For example, in a 3-step authentication, your employee will receive a token on their smartphone device, which will be used to authenticate their log-in. But in order to decrypt the token, they must verify their identity with biometrics, such as fingerprint recognition.

4. Provide your employees with secure access to mobile device management

Even if your employees have just a single mobile device, they should be using an app like Device Policy Management to ensure they’re only using the apps that you allow. This app gives you complete control over the access a device can receive to other apps and networks, including managing applications installed on that device.

In the past, companies wrestled with BYOD (bring your own device) policies in the workplace, and the security risks that personal smartphones could pose to secure company networks. With the rise of remote work, this issue takes the form of personal laptops, tablets, and smartphones being used to access the company file server.

Device Policy Management can be a simple solution to ensure that your mobile employees are only accessing the apps you allow them to, and with added biometric options, it’s likely the most efficient way to ensure their secure and private access.

For this policy to be most effective, you should be issuing devices and hardware to remote employees that you can control and revoke, rather than imposing software on employees’ personal devices.

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