Cyber resilience is being put to the test during the coronavirus pandemic. As more and more users work from home, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for IT teams to ensure uniform cyber security on home devices and networks that they don’t own or control. At the same time, cybercriminals are using the pandemic to launch more deceptive attacks. In this post, we’ll break down a few steps you can take to add resilience to your home network, so you don’t have to sacrifice security for convenience during the global pandemic. We cover all of these tips and more in our Work From Home Playbook.
The secure tunnel
We lose a measure of security the minute we step outside the protective shell of our corporate network. The average home network is significantly less secure than corporate networks. This leaves remote workers more vulnerable to attacks anytime they’re not connected to the corporate network.
Luckily, you can easily improve your at-home security by using a virtual private network (VPN). With a VPN, you can establish a secure tunnel between your home network and your corporate environment, making your home connection more immune to outsider attacks. A VPN extends your home network – or connection from the local coffee shop – across a public network, allowing you to interact with your corporate system as if you were connected directly to it. This allows applications to operate securely and encryption to be enabled within the connection, ultimately privatizing any data being shared or input.
A clean handshake is healthier in the physical world. And it’s the same with the digital handshake between your home devices and your corporate network. Anytime someone from outside the network attempts to log on, there’s a risk the person isn’t who they say they are. Login credentials are stolen all the time. In many scenarios, all it takes is a username and password to gain access to the company network. Once inside, cyberthieves can unload malicious payloads or find additional user credentials to launch even more pernicious attacks. But by adding just one extra layer of security in the form of an additional checkpoint, it’s possible to thwart most attacks that rely on only a username and password.
That’s why multi-factor authentication (MFA) has become the go-to method for adding extra verification steps to confirm that the person logging on is truly who they say they are. With MFA, the user verifies their identity using knowledge only they have, like a password or answers to challenge questions. As an additional verification step, the user supplies an item, like a YubiKey or a one-time password sent to a mobile device. Lastly is an inherited characteristic unique to who the person, such as a fingerprint, retina scan, or voice recognition. In today’s highly regulated business environment, most businesses make MFA mandatory for employees logging in from outside the network.
First, second and third lines of defense
Cybercriminals have a full quiver of options when it comes to launching attacks. But the good news is that there are also multiple solutions for defending home systems against them. The best way to secure the home network is to use a multi-layered cyber resilience strategy, also known as defense in depth.
This approach uses multiple layers of security to protect home devices and the networks they’re connected to. Here’s what that looks like:
- Backup – Backup with point-in-time restore gives you multiple recovery points to choose from. It ensures you can roll back to a prior state before the ransomware virus began corrupting the system.
- Advanced threat intelligence – Premium antivirus protection is still the first line of defense. And antivirus that is backed by advanced threat intelligence, identification and mitigation is essential for preventing known threats from penetrating your system.
- Patch and update applications – Cybercriminals are experts at identifying and exploiting security vulnerabilities. Failing to install necessary security patches and update to the latest version of applications and operating systems can leave your devices exposed to an attack.
Cyber resilience while working from home is every bit as critical as working on-site. For more tips on how to add resilience to your home environment, and how to prepare your space for working from home long-term, download the Work from Home Playbook.