The world of work has been through a slow but sure tectonic shift as an increasing number of people, across a wide and growing range of business sectors in London and beyond, begin to work remotely. But the coronavirus pandemic has turbo-charged that change. As a result, how to achieve on-premises level security for Cloud-based remote teams is now mission-critical for many London-based small to medium-sized businesses.

Small wonder then that in an age where many of us can work wherever we can access WiFi and coronavirus is forcing most of us to do so at home, Remote Security (known as RemoteSec) has become the new must have.

The research speaks for itself: a study by Upwork Global called the New Future Workforce Report, suggested that by 2028 up to 78% of all commercial departments would have remote workers. While the trend is predicted to impact organisations of all kinds, small to medium-sized companies are twice as likely as larger enterprises to hire full-time remote workers according to a recent report by Owl Labs.

Coronavirus has sped that process up exponentially.

Safe working at home means you need to achieve on-premises level security for your cloud-based remote teams

So in this blog post we’re going to cover what you need to consider to achieve on-premises level security for your cloud-based remote teams. Below you’ll discover:

The security challenges that come with the growth in

remote working

Even before the spread of coronavirus, savvy business leaders were already preparing their cybersecurity defences for a combination of remote and on-premises working. To enable your team to work remotely and safely – protected against hackers, scammers and cybercriminals – your have to rethink the security perimeter around your small to medium-sized businesses.

Previously, it was easy to create and enforce an on-premises cybersecurity policy. Simple but effective and efficient technical controls plus physical access limitations managed via a centralised command and control hierarchy were sufficient. But, as your team becomes increasingly distributed because of coronavirus, doing what you’ve always done is not going to be enough.

What is RemoteSec and why is it on the rise?

RemoteSec is a set of security tools, policies and protocols that govern the IT infrastructure that supports your remote working employees. As they tend to rely heavily on Cloud platforms, RemoteSec addresses security challenges that almost always fall under the Cloud working category. And even though other technologies, such as virtual private networks (VPNs), are useful weapons in your armory to protect your remote working team, they are usually deployed to establish secure connections to the Cloud anyway.

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Continuity planning and backup options

So the key challenges are therefore threefold:

  • To replicate the strengths of your on-premises security within a Cloud environment
  • To understand the role Cloud security plays in securing the technology of your remote teams and
  • To ensure you still safeguard the overall security of your business.

What are the differences between RemoteSec and your overall cybersecurity policy?

As the name suggests, RemoteSec focuses on securing your remote teams and the Cloud resources they use, while your overall cybersecurity policy covers your complete on-premises defences.

However, clearly the latter will need to be evolved and extended to

cover the broader security issues that emerge when your remote workers rely on a Cloud infrastructure.

What are the challenges facing RemoteSec?

Your remote workers might not necessarily just be your employees, of course. They could include a whole host of freelancers, contractors, resellers, dealers, distributors and other business partners here in London and elsewhere.

The other complicating factor is that working remotely doesn’t just mean working from home. As we said earlier, many of us can work wherever we can access WiFi. So your remote workers could actually be busy anywhere from their local coffee shop or co-worker space to a train carriage on their daily commute.

This unique, unpredictable and diverse set of working people, places and conditions forms the core of the challenges RemoteSec needs to overcome.

Two examples make the dangers clear: 46% of staff admit moving business files between the office computer and their personal computer while working from home. A further 13% admit to sending work emails via their personal e-mail address because they cannot connect to an office network.

RemoteSec – what are the crucial considerations?

Where are your remote workers?

Your remote workers could be busy locally, nationally or internationally and wherever they are in the world they’ll face different online security challenges, as each part of our globalised economy has its own unique IT infrastructure characteristics.

So, it’s essential to standardise the remote work environments you create for your entire team to utilise. A VPN and virtual desktop can help deliver a uniform, secure environment for your distributed people, wherever they are in the world.

Establish effective remote data security policies

Your remote workers may access public unsecured WiFi hotspots, opening up your confidential company data to cybercriminals. They

may also use free data storage tools like Google Drive, which can be vulnerable to ransomware attacks. That means your comprehensive cloud security policies should cover the use of remote data access, public hotspots and USB devices while also setting out the requirements for safe device and password management, network compliance and so on.

IT and network infrastructure

Remote workers tend to use multiple endpoints (i.e.devices) to gain access to the company resources they need to do their jobs. Trouble is, these devices are often not secure or may be connecting to your business’s server through an unsecured network.

If this is likely to be the case amongst your employees, you should issue policies about mobile device management (MDM) and using secure VPNs. In addition, it would make sense to deploy Cloud-based endpoint security on all remote devices and enforce secure Cloud network protocols to make sure your remote team does not circumvent network or endpoint security measures.

Beware ‘Shadow IT’

Not all your remote workers are tech-savvy. This matters because they are unlikely to have easy access to your in-house or outsourced IT support specialists – especially during the coronavirus pandemic or if they’re working half-way around the world.

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IT security guidelines for employees

As a result, if they experience technical problems, they may turn to non-secure, outside IT support (which is known as ‘Shadow IT’), exposing your company’s infrastructure, data, IP and confidential resources to potential risk. Using cloud tools to deliver IT support can help maintain seamless security across your technical and non-technical remote workforce.

Changing hearts and minds so your Cloud-based RemoteSec is given equal status to your on-premises security

Your on-premises security can be seriously compromised by a hybrid workforce of remote teams and in-house professionals using a diverse range of endpoints in a wide range of locations.

What’s more, the dangers to your IT and online security multiply

when virtually all your workforce is ushered back into their homes for safety purposes and at short notice, as in the face of a pandemic like coronavirus. Why? Because your on-premises security protocols are designed to contain and protect your IT infrastructure and confidential information in an airtight box.

Your Cloud-based remote team effectively takes the lid off that box, turning your organisation into an open and vulnerable platform with multiple access and endpoints. To achieve on-premises security levels within your remote team working in the Cloud you must, of course, utilise the right security tools. But you also have to move your organisation and people from an on-premises focused mindset to one that considers remote security as equally important.

Security tools to safeguard your Cloud-based remote workers

Desktop infrastructure, file system snapshots, remote data and activity monitoring, as well as remote device encryption and data wipes, are just some of the security tools you can utilise to safeguard your Cloud-based remote teams. What’s more, such mechanisms not only defend your company data, they also give you more control over the IT resources used by your distributed employees.

There are several other resources and techniques you can use to further strengthen the protection of your remote workers. For example, deploying a single-sign on service with multi-factor authentication (MFA) can better protect company data stored in the Cloud and improve access management. In addition, VPNs, both desktop and mobile, can provide a further level of authentication while also encrypting network traffic and obscuring private details. This is a distinct benefit if your remote team needs to access your company network in public places.

The silver lining in the Cloud for your remote team

Cloud computing – as long as it’s effectively and efficiently secured – can be the perfect way for your business to transition from traditional on-premises to remote working. Especially as the slow but sure tectonic shift in work patterns, we mentioned right at the beginning of this article has become a veritable avalanche in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic rearing its ugly head.

As a result of the coronavirus, RemoteSec is the emerging digital security field that’s integral to the even bigger digital on-premises security field, and it’s about to be thrust to the forefront and tested to an unprecedented degree.

If you’d like to know more about embracing remote working for your London-based business while mitigating the many and emerging risks of doing so at this very difficult time, please do not hesitate to give us a call for a confidential, no-obligation chat about your requirements.

We’re highly expert and experienced in IT security solutions and with our Feefo Gold Trusted Service Awards, Five Star ratings from both Trustpilot and Google and 98% client retention rate, we’ve become the go to IT support team for London.

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COVID-19 Update: Face-to-face IT meetings have been temporarily replaced with Microsoft Teams sessions, and our engineers will be able to carry out IT assessments remotely.