Remote Work Security Best Practices for IT Teams

Chaithanya Yambari

21st December, 2022


Employees may access resources remotely from different devices in a remote work setup. Also, they are connected to different networks, which may or may not be secure to get the work done. 

To prevent any data breach, it is important to ensure that employees, as well as security teams, have the right set of tools and methodologies to deal with the different challenges of remote work.

Pandemic has accelerated the remote work adoption, and now some organizations are moving to hybrid work culture or completely remote setup. Remote work gives employees the flexibility to log in to different devices as well as connect with different networks. 

This exposes devices as well as the applications they use to external threats if the networks and device endpoints are not secure. 

It is crucial for security, and IT teams to ensure that all the devices that employees use are secure to prevent any threat of data loss. As applications and devices carry confidential information about the organization, it is important to ensure that a proper check and balance is in place to prevent all external threats.

Organizations are using different tools and technologies to ensure that employees' productivity increases, as well as data, remain secure. The rise of applications brings many challenges if not managed properly. 

SaaS sprawl, shadow IT, compliance, and security risks are some of the challenges that rapid adoption of SaaS applications can bring. 

Further, duplicate applications, underutilized licenses, and reduction in employees' productivity can be seen too if SaaS applications are not procured and managed properly. The best way to ensure that applications are serving the purpose for which they were procured is to gain visibility and control over them.

In this blog, we're going to discuss some of the remote work security best practices that IT and security professionals can enforce in their organizations to ensure that employees are working freely without worrying about any external threats.

9 Remote Work Security Best Practices 

1. Enforce a data security policy

A documented security policy that outlines all the details of handling data of the organization acts as a reference. Mention all the security protocols that employees have to follow.

Also, state various actions which can be taken in case someone is not following the security protocols. Some breaches happen due to mistakenly mishandling sensitive information, so having a clear security protocol in place reduces this. 

2. Avail the right tools and technologies to employees

It is the responsibility of the security, and IT teams to ensure that employees are equipped with the right set of tools which helps to prevent any data breaches. You can provide Antivirus software to detect, prevent and take action against malicious softwares, including viruses in the device of the users.

You can provide tools for employees to manage different passwords or single sign-on (SSO), with which employees can access different tools without having the burden of maintaining different passwords.

Further, organizations can use identity and access management (IAM) tools to ensure that only authorized users have access to the organization's resources. Similarly, you can use onboarding tools like Typelane to securely onboard your new employees.

3. Ensure all endpoints are secure

Endpoint security helps organizations to secure endpoints or entry-points of employees' devices such as desktops, laptops,s and mobile devices from the external malicious elements. Endpoint management prevents cybersecurity threats by protecting the endpoints on a network or in the cloud. 

Organizations must ensure that all devices from which employees access the resources are protected by endpoint security. Endpoint management tools offer a centralized management console from which administrators can connect to their enterprise network to monitor, protect, investigate and respond to any incidents. 

Endpoint threats are becoming more abundant and sophisticated. So, it is imperative to protect devices and ensure that all information is secured and protected from any sort of external and internal threats.

4. Enforce a strong password policy

Enforce a strong password policy

A unique and strong password reduces the risk of hacking by eliminating the access via guessing the password. Administrators must enforce a password policy that consists of combinations of numbers, alphabets, and special symbols. 

A lengthy and strong password that cannot be guessed should be enforced, and asked employees to follow the password policy. 

For example, passwords such as 1234567 or in similar lines are easily guessable. So, organizations must create and enforce a policy that should not allow users to set any such sort of password.

5. Regularly update network security systems.

Network security ensures secure data transmission between users and data sources. Additionally, it manages network traffic efficiently, improves the performance of the network, and helps organizations to protect data integrity from external attacks. Organizations use various tools for network security. Some of these include antivirus software, firewall, and virtual private network (VPN). It is important to ensure that all devices that employees are using have network security systems in place. Also, administrators should ensure that all the network security systems are up to date to prevent any breaches.

6. Establish Zero Trust approach

Zero Trust eliminates unauthorized access and continuously validates every stage of users' digital interaction to reduce cybersecurity risks. It is a security framework that requires all users, whether in or outside the organization’s network, to be authenticated, authorized, and continuously validated for security posture and configuration before granting or keeping access to resources. In simple terms, Zero Trust continuously monitors and validates users and their devices that they have the right privileges to organizations' resources. Verifying every user, validating every device, and intelligently limiting access are three core principles of the Zero Trust security. IT and security teams can have precise and granular level visibility of their organization's threat surfaces by following the Zero Trust approach.

The Zero Trust strategy helps organizations to precisely control the access of different resources for employees as well as non-employees to prevent any unauthorized access.

7. Enforce multi-factor authentication (MFA)

Enforce multi-factor authentication (MFA)

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) adds an additional security layer on top of passwords to ensure that even if a password is compromised, only the authorized and right user access the resource by providing additional information.

Two-factor authentication is a simple type of multi-factor authentication, which is an easy and robust way to secure access to resources. In multi-factor authentication, to access a tool or resource, users have to provide different types of information to verify their identity. 

This information can be their biometric record, facial identification, eye scanning, etc., and once these are validated, users can access the resource. Multi-factor authentication empowers users as well as organizations to control access to their important resources by unauthorized users. 

8. Regularly educate and train employees.

A well-trained and informed employee takes actions that are aligned with the organization's security policies. Training also helps employees to gauge and understand the repercussions of their actions. 

IT and security professionals should provide training to employees and educate them about the basics of cybersecurity. Further, security professionals should ensure that all employees are aware of the basic security measures and security policies of the organization. 

9. Provide IT support to employees whenever required

Problems, doubts, and questions are very natural to arise. It's important to address all the employees' concerns to ensure that a proper resolution or solution is provided for issues or queries. By providing support, organizations can ensure that employees are making the right decisions in case of any problems or issues.

Use Zluri to Monitor SaaS Apps Employees Use

Zluri is a SaaS management platform that enables organizations to gain complete control over their SaaS applications. With Zluri, organizations can automate various tasks like onboarding, offboarding, compliance management, etc. Some of the key features of Zluri are:

  • Automated employee onboarding & offboarding: Zluri has a powerful automation engine that enables organizations to give or revoke access to employees with a few clicks. Further, its contextual recommendation system provides information about which applications a new employee needs to be based on the department and seniority of their role. It also recommends different channels/groups to which an employee should be added.

  • Renewal Monitoring: With Zluri, you don't need to worry about surprise renewals. Zluri alerts about your upcoming renewals, giving you enough time to decide whether or not you need the app. You can decide that through the SaaS usage insights from Zluri.

  • Smooth Vendor Management: Zluri has an automated vendor management system with all the features needed to manage your SaaS stack. It maintains a SaaS system of record by integrating with your core business system, after which it prepares to maintain your vendor life cycle with your predefined workflows.

  • Discovering your organization’s SaaS subscriptions: Zluri has the largest app library with over 120000+ applications. Zluri discovery engine uses five methods to discover all your apps with near 100% accuracy.

  • Applications Cost Optimization: Zluri helps you standardize your applications and eliminate budget wastage. Zluri traces your SaaS ecosystem and monitors, measures, and helps you take control of your SaaS spend. It also helps you find the hidden apps spend.

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