In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, work environments have undergone significant transformations, ushering in remote and hybrid work arrangements. These adaptations have not only bolstered productivity but have also contributed to enhancing employee retention by fostering a work culture that aligns with both personal lifestyles and business needs.
The resultant flexibility has ushered in a new era of work dynamics, delivering substantial benefits to both organisations and their workforce.
In this article, we hear from Jack, Systems Engineer at Qbit, and his thoughts on security benefits of remote desktops.
Remote Desktop Environments and Security
As an IT specialist, I am constantly pondering a critical question amidst these transformative changes: How can we continue to manage remote environments in a safe and secure manner without straining the client’s IT budget?
The most pragmatic approach is to leverage existing systems within organisations and tailor management and cyber security solutions to harmonise with these pre-established structures, thus minimising additional expenditures. By adapting and optimising these existing systems, we can uphold the safety and security of remote work, shielding company data and productivity from potential breaches.
Having worked extensively in the IT realm, I have witnessed firsthand the devastating consequences of security and data breaches and malware attacks. The costs incurred in the aftermath of such incidents extend beyond data recovery and are invariably unpleasant for all parties involved. It is paramount to scrutinise these breach episodes, as they provide valuable insights into where proactive solutions can be implemented to safeguard our most sensitive client data.
Remote Desktop Deployments
In the context of cyber security and remote work, one system stands out as a widely adopted choice among larger enterprises utilising on-premises resources: Remote Desktop Deployments.
This solution offers a blend of budget-friendliness and the maintenance of a consistent working environment across all devices. It empowers employees to access sensitive data from anywhere in the world while ensuring the data remains secure on the company’s private on-premises server.
Nevertheless, Remote Desktop Deployments come with inherent security risks, which must be diligently addressed.
Critical considerations for working with Remote Desktop
Implement Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
Passwords alone are no longer sufficient in the era of remote work. With employees using various devices, it’s challenging to guarantee their security. Mulit-Factor Authentication (MFA), such as Cisco’s Duo, adds an essential layer of protection by requiring a second verification step via a user’s mobile device, thwarting unauthorised access attempts relying solely on passwords.
MFA for VPN Access
If VPNs are used to access company resources, it is imperative to secure them with MFA. VPNs provide direct entry into your network, making them a prime target for attackers. A unified solution like Sophos’s Built-in VPN combined with Cisco’s Duo ensures consistent multi-factor authentication for all connections into your corporate network.
Endpoint Detection & Response (EDR)
Traditional antivirus software is no longer adequate. EDR anti-virus and managed threat solutions, like Sophos Intercept X Advanced, offer advanced protection for all network endpoints, including Remote Desktop Servers. They provide detailed threat reports and insights into how threats entered the system, enabling proactive prevention.
Lateral Movement Protection
This relatively new solution helps prevent unexpected downtime due to intruders and malware. Employing security measures such as Sophos’s Intercept X Advanced in conjunction with a Sophos Firewall Appliance can halt malware from spreading through your network.
Security Heartbeat allows devices to report their health status to the firewall. If a device becomes infected, the firewall isolates it from the network, containing the threat.
Maintain Business Security within Your Hybrid Workforce
Remote Desktop is a cost-effective solution for businesses with on-premises resources, facilitating controlled and convenient access to company assets for employees.
While security concerns are valid, the methods outlined above offer straightforward and cost-effective means to secure your environment. They strike a balance between enabling seamless employee connectivity and minimising the risk of malicious access attempts.
Get in touch with Qbit today
If you are considering or already utilising a Remote Desktop Environment, we invite you to contact Qbit Computers today. Reach out to us at (08) 6364 0600 for a complimentary security audit or, reach out to email@example.com for an obligation-free consultation. Your security is our priority.