With the increase in remote work due to the pandemic, companies should be prepared to avoid cybersecurity risks or interruptions to business. "When supporting a remote workforce, understand that security controls shift. Therefore, firewalls, DNS, and IDS/IPS could be ineffective when employees head home. Most environments that support VPNs should be able to protect the remote user, be sure to account for the bandwidth of users and remote desktop sessions," said Dan Garcia, Senior Information Security Engineer at Datto.
CISA's VPN Guidance
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released an alert to encourage organizations to adopt a heightened state of cybersecurity. According to the CISA, remote work options require a VPN solution to connect employees to an organization's network. The CISA encourages organizations to review the following recommendations when considering alternate workplace options.
- Update VPNs, network infrastructure devices, and devices being used to remote into work environments with the latest software patches and security configurations. See CISA Tips Understanding Patches and Securing Network Infrastructure Devices.
- Alert employees to an unexpected increase in phishing attempts. See CISA Tip Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks.
- Ensure IT security personnel are prepared to ramp up the following remote access cybersecurity tasks; log review, attack detection, and incident response and recovery. Per the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Guide to Telework, Remote Access and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Security. These tasks should be documents in the configuration management policy.
- Implement MFA on all VPN connections to increase security. If MFA is not implemented, require teleworkers to use strong passwords.
- Ensure IT security personnel test VPN limitations to prepare for mass usage and, if possible, implement modifications - such as rate limiting - to prioritize users that will require higher bandwidths.
- Contact CISA to report incidents, phishing, malware and other cybersecurity concerns.
The CDC has released some best practices for disease outbreak plan:
- Review human resources policies to make sure that policies and practices are consistent with public health recommendations and are consistent with existing state and federal workplace laws.
- Explore whether you can establish policies and practices, such as flexible worksites (e.g. telecommuting) and flexible work hours (e.g. staggered shifts) to increase the physical distance among employees and between employees and others if state and local health authorities recommend the use of social distancing strategies. For employers who are able to telework, supervisors should encourage employees to telework instead of coming into the workplace until symptoms are completely resolved. Ensure that you have the information technology and infrastructure needed to support multiple employees who may be able to work from home.
- Use a secure WiFi Network: If possible, you should work on your secure, private home network instead of relying on public WiFi. If you send your data through an unsecured WiFi connection, you lose the power of privacy making it possible for cybercriminals to intercept your data. You may be putting personal information at risk if you are accessing your email account of sensitive data over a public WiFi network. It's essential to ensure your network is secure through the use of a VPN and a strong password that isn't easily cracked.
- Secure Your Home Workstation: Ensure you have fully patched and updated anti-virus and anti-malware software. It's important to follow the same best practices you would as if you were in the office, and report an suspicious activity or concerns to internal IT or your MSP.
- Coordinate With Your Internal IT or MSP: When working remotely, it's crucial to continue your typical cybersecurity best practices and reach out with any questions or concerns.
As a Managed Service Provider and Cybersecurity Firm, Restech can help with your business technology needs. Contact us to learn more.