Corporate networks are typically heavily guarded, but employees’ home networks are a different story.
Companies were recently forced to change their business models to adapt to new challenges. For many, that meant sending employees home to work—on their home networks.
Today, those same organizations–buoyed by increased employee productivity and the potential to lower costs with reduced IT footprints and office real estate–are allowing employees to choose whether they work from home, in an office, or some hybrid scenario.
The challenge, of course, is how to extend remote access to employees without sacrificing your customers’ networks and data.
The New Corporate Security Gap: Home Networks
Corporate networks are typically heavily guarded. Top-notch tools are in place and monitored to ensure only authorized access. And most organizations employ safeguards to enforce policies and protect data.
But employees’ home networks are a different story. They generally lack the stringency of corporate policies and practices. There’s often a single internet connection used by everyone in the home. Equipment tends to be plug-and-play to make sure that users can use it. And security rules and practices for home networks are much more casual.
As a result, most home routers have outdated firmware. IoT devices–doorbells, security cameras, thermostats, etc.–often have sub-standard security. Work and personal devices are shared among family members, unauthorized devices and applications are plugged into work devices, and users share and reuse passwords or have weak passwords.
Therein lies the problem. Cunning and malicious actors–who know all too well that home networks lack the defenses of corporate networks and security practices are minimal–are out in full force to exploit the work-from-home workforce and their home networks.
What can you do to ensure your customers can deliver secure remote access to work-from-home employees, while protecting their networks and data?
Thoroughly assess customers’ security posture.
Your customers look to your expertise, as their partners and trusted advisors, to protect their networks and data. Start by reviewing their policies, technologies, and training. For example:
- Are security policies updated to support their remote workforce?
- Does their current security policy include how remote employees should handle bring-your-own-device situations?
- Does their business continuity plan address how to continue supporting the remote workforce in the event of a disruption?
- Is there endpoint protection on all devices that remotely connect to the corporate network?
- Are remote workstations backed up and enabled with encryption?
- Is proactive monitoring set up to identify suspicious or unauthorized activities?
- Are employees up to date on the latest cybersecurity and privacy awareness training?
- Do employees know how or when to report suspicious or malicious activity?
- Are phishing and other simulations actively being deployed?
Mitigate risk with solutions and training.
After assessing your customers’ environments, implement risk mitigation solutions and services that enable them to not only prepare for a cyberattack, but to respond and recover if impacted. Tech Data offers a Remote Home Secure solution that begins with a recommended unified threat management solution that includes firewalls, IDS/IPS systems and more. They also offer security awareness training and social engineering simulations and tools to reinforce and measure their knowledge, as well as managed security services for monitoring and remediation.
In addition to the benefits to your customers and their employees (because who wouldn’t want help from corporate security experts to secure their home networks?), these solutions benefit partners, too:
- Securing work-from-home users brings a new or expanded line of business—and, with it, additional revenue, since cybersecurity needs are great and expert skills few.
- Having security expertise boosts your customers’ confidence in you—which builds trust and enables them to entrust other projects to you.
- Gaining additional expertise can also help you secure better insurance rates and lower your cyber liability.
For more information on how Tech Data can help your customers return to work and strengthen their remote workforce, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit techdata.com/security.
This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.