5 Considerations for Scaling and Managing Remote Access
By Jared Hrabak, Consulting Cybersecurity Engineer, cStor
Well, we’re all adjusting as best we can, aren’t we? So how is your business doing scaling infrastructure to support a remote workforce?
With state, federal and corporate directives, businesses and IT teams are scrambling to design, build and implement remote work technologies. Not only are companies straining to support these new demands, employees are also creating their own new routines at home. It’s truly a unique time in history.
Key Considerations for Scaling to Support Remote Employees
Here are some important considerations for securely scaling and managing remote access for employees.
- VPN Access – Instead of dusting off the old end of life appliance in the closet that’s out of support and can’t run the latest patched software, utilize a virtual appliance license. Using old equipment could increase the amount of risk to the organization and hurt more than it helps. Turn on the host posture setting to help with more controls, and be sure the host has antivirus, specific operating systems and the latest patches. Simple checks here will go a long way.
- Collaboration Tools, Virtual Meetings and Conference Bridges… oh my! – Make sure employee access to files and meeting platforms are available for remote staff. If you are hosting meetings from your own infrastructure, it’s important to understand that you may end up with bandwidth challenges trying to support so many participants connected at a single time. Using solutions outside your infrastructure is often a better choice to support voice, video calls and chat, which distributes your bandwidth out to remote users’ ISPs.
- Devices – Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), is a serious concern. If you haven’t already enacted a MDM and/or BYOD policy to secure remote access, then employees accessing corporate data on non-corporate devices is a serious risk. Find a solution that validates BYOD devices and has a secure posture for those non-corporate devices with corporate controls. Now more than ever is the time to stay vigilant about corporate data security and potential leakage. Using a containerized platform that allows container management for clearing of specific data is often a perfect solution.
- Authentication and Authorization – Identity and Access Management (IAM) with Multi-Factor Access (MFA) can be hard to implement for remote users if not communicated effectively. Integrating this into an existing environment should be seamless and transparent to the end-users. Get a solution that enforces policies, tracks user activity and steps up authentication measures when necessary.
- Remote Desktops – Existing Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) capacity might not be able to support the sudden increase in workload, and even scaling licensing can prove to be problematic. Bursting to the cloud may be a viable solution, as is having the ability to publish apps to any device. This is often a make-sense, albeit temporary, solution for many organizations, without having to stay locked in long-term.
Get a BCP Plan for Remote Workforces
Yes, there are certainly many vendors that have solutions to help address these challenges, and you most likely recognize that managing it all individually could create a whole new set of challenges, especially if everything doesn’t seamlessly integrate.
In previous roles, I managed remote employees all over the world. Sometimes collaboration with those employees was challenging, but once we overcame the hurdles, it actually became relatively simple and routine. Yes, when disaster struck, we were forced to operate remotely and utilize our Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) or Business Continuity Plan (BCP). Note that if you don’t already have one of these plans to lean on, once you’re past the immediate fire drills, it is critical to develop one. Here’s a helpful article on how to create a COOP on CIO.com, as well as a useful set of free BCP templates to choose from.
Did I miss anything? I welcome your feedback so we can continue to stay vigilant together during these unprecedented times. And if your internal team is stretched or would like more guidance based on your unique environment, don’t hesitate to contact cStor for some clarity and direction. As always, we’re here to help.