Remote access control is a convenient way for employees to complete work-related tasks in the comfort of their own homes. But this technology increases the risk of different cyber risks for employees and the company. One of the best ways to ensure that the network and everyone connected to it stays safe from cyberattacks is to impose a good remote access control policy.
So how should companies enforce effective remote access control policies? When implementing a remote access control policy, organizations need to discuss why these policies are important, create policies fit for everyone’s needs and safety, and know when these policies should be updated.
Implementing an Effective Remote Access Control Policy
When the pandemic hit, thousands of organizations and companies started remote work to keep their operations running – and this might not change anytime soon. According to a study by PwC, 55% of the participating companies have employees who expect to work remotely at least once a week even after the pandemic.
Most employees and organizations are still new to the idea of remote work, which is why it’s easy to miss a few vulnerabilities in their network every now and then. However, many cybercriminals take this as a chance to exploit those blind spots and attack the network.
A remote access control policy is just one of the many ways to improve the organization’s cybersecurity system, but it’s an important thing that should be continuously updated and implemented. Here’s how to enforce a good access control policy in your company:
1) Discuss Why Policies Are Important
A remote access policy is the set of rules that help organizations and security teams manage the access in and out of their network. It includes a list of “acceptable and unacceptable use” within the organization’s network to ensure smooth operations and keep all devices and employees safe from cyberattacks.
Everyone within the network must adhere to the policies to minimize different cyber risks. Every device has different security controls, which is why policies are made to specify what measures and controls are allowed, secure, and compliant with the organization’s standards.
Cybercriminals never rest – they’re always looking for different ways to trick people into providing them access to devices and networks. Following remote access policies at all times protects companies, employees, and their devices from these cyber risks. These policies also alert users about cyberattacks before they happen or cause bigger problems.
Organizations have to ensure that their remote access policies keep their employees and networks safe from common cybersecurity challenges like:
- Data access through unsafe networks
- Weak passwords
- Unencrypted file sharing
- Phishing emails
- Weak security control and monitoring
- Cyberattacks on the entire IT infrastructure
2) Create a Good Remote Access Policy
Good remote access policies are created based on the organization’s needs and goals. It should be specifically designed for a smooth but secure work-from-home experience for the employees. If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few important topics to include in a remote access policy:
- Software and hardware configurations
- Equipment and access requirements
- Virtual and physical device security
- Connectivity guidelines
- Acceptable and unacceptable use policies
- Access hierarchy
- Information confidentiality and security
- Email policies
- Password protocols
- Third-party protections
3) Know When to Update the Remote Access Policy
With the fast-paced changes and advancements in workplace technology, it’s easy for remote access policies to become outdated and weak against stronger and more complex cyber threats. It’s crucial for organizations and IT security teams to evaluate the existing policy’s effectiveness and update them as necessary.
How to Make a Good Remote Access Policy
A good remote access policy protects the network and all the included devices and data, but they should also make working from home more comfortable and organized for the employees. It’s important to always consult them when creating a remote access policy to hear out their concerns and address them.
Here are some pointers to follow for drafting a good remote access policy:
- Discuss with the team which positions are allowed to work remotely. Make sure to specify how they’re supposed to work and communicate with each other.
- Provide them with work equipment that’s secured and connected to the network. If they’re using personal devices, ensure that they’re properly monitored for signs of cyber threats.
- Set aside time for the employees to collaborate and socialize.
- Let them know about their legal rights and responsibilities as remote office workers.
How Can I Measure if the Remote Access Policy is Working?
Most remote access policies are geared towards ensuring that employees are comfortable working from home without sacrificing the quality of their work. But in terms of cybersecurity, the most reliable measures are the significant decrease in phishing email reports, the absence of unauthorized devices connected to the network, and easy access to the user or device activity.
Remote workers should also be frequently surveyed about their overall experience of working from their homes – whether they had communication problems or encountered issues when using work-related software amongst other things.
Is it Time to Enforce a New Remote Access Policy?
A remote access control policy is a dynamic document – it needs constant edits and updates to keep up with the current threats and trends in cybersecurity. If you can’t decide if it’s time to update the existing remote access policy, here are a few questions to ask the team:
1) Are There New Devices in the Network?
Work-from-home policies required many companies to buy and provide new computers and devices for their employees to use. Some of them allowed employees to use personal devices for work-related tasks. This is a challenge for cybersecurity teams because they must ensure that all of the new devices are also monitored and protected against viruses and other malware.
2) Is There a Lack of Visibility in the Existing Remote Work Activity?
If the security team has a hard time detecting cyber threats in advance, then it’s time to update the remote access policy and gain more visibility on all the existing and newly connected devices on the network. Instead of investing in point solutions, it’s better to try different security platforms that allow system integrations. This helps limit switches between tools and promotes better user and device activity monitoring.
3) How Many Reports of Phishing Attempts Have Been Recorded?
Phishing scams are one of the most common ways that hackers use to access corporate networks. Remote work is more vulnerable to these kinds of attacks because cybercriminals often use panic and urgency to trick people into clicking suspicious links.
In addition to security measures that prevent suspicious emails from reaching employees, it’s also important to educate the team on how to identify and report malicious links. The IT team should ensure that all endpoints detect malware before they cause bigger problems.
Make Your Remote Access Control Secure with Abacus
At Abacus, we already know remote access like the back of our hand. Our team of IT experts and support personnel has years of experience in providing user-oriented and secure remote work setups for different companies in different industries. Our holistic IT solutions are specifically made for your needs, goals, and expectations.
Need an extra layer of security for your company’s remote access? Find something in store for you at Abacus. Call us now at (856) 505 – 6860 to book a consultation.