Keeping Up Security & Resilience When Working from Home

Hackers are taking advantage of this vulnerable time as cyber-attacks are on the rise. According to The Wall Street Journal: “Overstretched IT teams might not be able to keep up with updating their networks, experts say, while nonessential businesses that have effectively closed shop could prove to be easy targets.” Naturally so many businesses have been concerned with bandwidth and performance for their remote workers that the security implications are only now being recognized.

As organizations are shifting their businesses to run from home, we are working with them to ensure they have the right measures in place to ensure resiliency and quell risk across their now distributed workforces. There is not one solution that fits each enterprise. That said, there are numerous benefits the cloud can bring to enterprises in the way of resiliency and security.

 

Resiliency

With so much of the workforce becoming virtualized recent weeks and moving away from main offices, enterprise resiliency is being tested. Streaming, app usage and internet usage are up, and at times collaboration tools have been temporarily down as the adjust to the swell in demand. To ensure your users, be they employees or customers, are able to access the services they need, it helps to start with bandwidth.

The conversations we are having with our clients involve asking questions including what are you using the increased bandwidth for? What tools are you using for collaboration? What workloads are running on your employees’ devices and how are those devices supported? A cloud-first solution will help an enterprise gain resiliency, as more bandwidth can easily be spun up to meet demand.

Through your managed service provider’s customer support or management center, you should receive 24x7x365 monitoring and management of your IT environment. With constant management and fault protection, this service should ensure uptime of your network and cloud infrastructure and high performance of your applications.

 

Security

Conversations about distributed work environments quickly turn into conversations about security. Previously closed environments within office locations were secured by firewalls and limited by the distance between the user and the workload. With the move to home and remote offices, these environments are now more exposed.

While there is no one security solution that unilaterally addresses all enterprise environments, there are several points to consider prior to choosing a solution. VPNs—a standard and popular solution—are a first choice for many companies. A vulnerability to be cautious of with a VPN is that it takes a perimeter-based security approach so once a device is connected to it from an employee’s home WIFI (or worse: a public network like at coffee shop), they’ve exposed the company’s assets and capability to everything that lives inside that environment—suddenly, there is a new, powerful security threat.

As endpoints (the end devices where work is being done: laptops, tablets, etc.) have dispersed from offices, we are seeing more and more enterprises are moving toward a zero-trust endpoint protection solution. Deployed as a virtual appliance that runs alongside the workloads on that device, endpoint protection protects the end device as opposed to protecting the physical location or the network itself.

A great support for your employees to securely set up their remote work environments is a managed service provider that offers a Help Desk or Service Desk. Service Desk techs can work with distributed employees to ensure their home WIFI networks are secure, with robust passwords and AES encryption.

 

Conclusion: Work with a Partner Who Understands Resiliency and Security

In light of this current health situation, enterprises are taking a hard look at their IT infrastructure for the first time in perhaps a long time to assess how it actually works, what it is running on, and the age of their equipment. At the same time, resources are being conserved to handle the uncertainty that lies ahead in the current economic environment. Great pressure is on management to fix things, but restriction on resources and movement leads to uncertainty about the financial impact in the long term as well. Lots of questions are being asked that lack clear answers: this can be frustrating for IT leaders. Engaging in open minded discussions is a place to start.

This is the time to turn to your trusted partners for these open discussions. You don’t need to have the answer—no one has it. You do need to have the discussion about running your business from home and prioritizing your organization’s resiliency and security from distributed locations.

Choose a partner that deeply understands these problems. At Unitas, we talk about challenges with our clients frequently. A strong partner will work with you to understand your current resiliency, then deliver and manage a solution that is best for your business, and controls costs.