The Perimeter Has Changed: How to Secure Your Remote Workforce (and Your Data, Network, & Reputation!)

COVID-19 has forced most organizations to have their employees work from home in order to remain in business. However, in the rush to rapidly get users setup with remote access to the corporate network, security is often overlooked as business continuity takes priority in times of crisis. Now that we have settled into the new norm, it is time to ensure that your company’s remote connections, network, data, (and reputation) are secure. 

According to the government, security threats are at an all-time high due to the pandemic. The bad guys know that the world’s workforce has been briskly displaced to their homes, where they are most likely using poorly secured devices and Wi-Fi routers to connect into their corporate networks. The enforceable perimeter has changed dynamically, and security barriers have been reduced significantly due to this rapid sea change. In the rush to remain solvent, many companies have decided to get everyone up and running from home as fast as possible and worry about security later.

Unfortunately, threat actors are highly aware of this opportunity to profit. It’s the Wild West out there right now. With defenses down, hackers are profiting by data exfiltration, intellectual property theft, and ransoming companies that have not put the proper security measures in place. The good news is, Candoris can help you with all your security needs when it comes to protecting your corporate network, data, and devices.

It’s the Wild West of opportunity for threat actors

Do’s and Don’ts for Remote Workforce Security

Don’t

  • Don’t allow your employees to use personal devices to connect to your corporate network.  There is a high probability that these devices are unpatched, unsecure, shared by other family members, and probably already compromised. Issuing employees company laptops with corporate security governance controls in place is recommended. If necessary, deliver their work desktop to their home if a laptop is not available or cost effective.

  • Don’t allow your employees to use guest Wi-Fi (coffee shops, airports, open areas, etc.) for devices that are used for company purposes. These types of Wi-Fi connections are unsecure and an easy way to become compromised.

  • Don’t allow employees to send company emails or files to non-company-controlled locations. Imagine if someone on the sales team emails a confidential file to or from their personal Gmail or Yahoo email or drops it into DropBox or GoogleDrive. The second your company data touches these non-company-controlled locations, you will never be able to completely expunge that file from all the co-located backup sites around the world that these “free” services utilize. At that point, there is no putting the genie back in the bottle. Free usually has a high cost.

  • Don’t allow your employees to take home paper copies of documents or print from home if at all possible. These documents could either end up in personal trash cans or be poorly shredded.

Do

  • Do make sure all your employees are, at the very least, connecting into your company network via an encrypted virtual private network (VPN) with multifactor authentication (MFA). These two items are an absolute must and proper configuration is critical – the default settings will usually get you in trouble. Without these basic security measures in place, your data will be compromised whether you know it or not.

  • An even better method of securing your remote users is to implement a digital workspace solution like VMware’s Workspace ONE. This will provide you with enterprise governance and security over all your remote workers’ devices.

  • Do ask each of your employees to make sure their home Wi-Fi router has a secure password and its firmware is up to date. A simple call to their Internet provider (Comcast, Verizon, etc.) will take care of this.

  • Do train your employees how to spot and report phishing attempts. Covid-19 scams and fake alerts are rampant and tempting in these uncertain times. A security awareness training solution is always highly recommended, not just during this pandemic.
  • Do communicate with your employees that all paper copies of corporate documents should be returned to the company office once the “work from home” order has been lifted. Proper document shredding should be completed in your company office, not at home.

Finally, DO contact Candoris for a free consultation regarding how we can help secure your remote workforce regarding any of the items covered in this article.

With a new remote workforce and security threats at an all-time high, our team of experts are here for you in avoiding a data and security governance nightmare. Let’s work together to mitigate your business risk and develop a robust security vulnerability management program for you.


Candoris hosted a deep dive into securing your new remote workforce on Thursday, April 9th. Register to watch on-demand below!

About the author

Senior Security Advisor

Mark recently joined the Candoris security team after spending the last 24 years in K-12 technology leadership in addition to 12 years of consulting in the areas of information technology, marketing, and business. He is passionate about helping technology leaders better protect their organizations and themselves from cyber threats and liability. Mark holds degrees and graduate certificates from Temple, Drexel, Penn State, Chestnut Hill, and Harvard Universities in the areas of business administration, education, technology leadership, and cybersecurity. Before his career in information technology Mark served in the United States Marine Corps, and his commitment to helping and protecting others is still at the core of who he is today.