You role as a CIO, CTO, or IT Manager can get tricky when working with remote employees, whether they be work-from-home or your traveling workforce.
Remote employees pose a plethora of threats and problems that could impact your IT efforts. Managing remote workers and ensuring they are working from a secure network is never easy.
In light of all this, we’ve developed a set of must-haves to help guide you as you try and secure your network, while managing the IT for remote office locations.
Having a secure remote network set up will definitively make managing your remote workforce less stressful.
Must-haves for a secure remote network.
If your company has employees who work from home or are on the road, you’ll need to make sure they are using a network that’s secure.
Setting up a secure remote virtual private network, or VPN, for your business can prove to be a challenge, especially as it relates to security. Before you set up your VPN, we urge you to take the following first step:
Complete a remote access audit.
Which devices are accessing your network? Which are not fully accounted for, if any? When and why are they not fully protected? Where do your files live on those machines- are they downloaded or are they accessing them some other way?
Second, you’ll need to assess your different VPN needs. Users at your multiple sites could have different VPN needs. In our experience, we’ve found the best approach to choosing the best VPN service is to take careful inventory of your needs, then go shopping. In your shopping research, you’ll most likely find you don’t need to shop for long, as the solution may be as simple as a router-based solution or something similar.
Some additional questions to ask are:
- Where do your business documents live, and how does your team currently access these?
- What do your users need to access, and how secure does that connection need to be?
- Which employees are in need of VPN access?
- Should you secure casual browsing, or all web browsing?
Everyone should have a VPN when using public wi-fi networks.
- Is your hardware, such as routers, running on outdated or compromised firmware?
- Do you have a process to update firmware for your network hardware?
- Do you need anonymity on your network?
Many VPN providers promise anonymity, but few actually provide it.
- What protocols do your VPN support?
- How many servers do you have and where are their nodes located?
- How many connections are allowed?
- Does your VPN provider limit bandwidth, throttle connections, or restrict services?
- Do they keep logs? This is not ideal. These need to be secured, too.
How to secure after internal audit.
Once your audit is complete, you need to establish necessary configurations when dealing with remote access to your corporate intranet and servers.
This is where your policies will come in handy, which should be a part of your overall IT strategy.
Consider giving access to your intranet with a remote access VPN. Research and test different options. Determine the best fit for your team’s needs and your policies.
The CIO, CTO, and IT Director’s best friend.
Your head is most likely spinning at the thought of all the work that goes into the steps above. Selecting a solid VPN solution can appear like a dreaded task. You don’t have to do it alone!
At Cooperative Systems, we’re more than willing to help you by cutting through the red tape and getting to the end goal of selecting a VPN for your multi-sites that makes good business sense.
For more help with this and other IT topics, get in touch with us! Learn more about how we can help you with your outsourced IT issues.