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Jeff Spencer

Secure remote access makes remote work a win-win

The number of employees working remotely is accelerating, so secure remote access should be a large part of any organization’s cybersecurity strategy. Secure remote access lets remote and hybrid employees work from anywhere in the world, on any device, without compromising your organization’s network, data, and system security.

In this blog post, we’ll explain what remote access is (even if employees are working onsite), why it matters to business leaders and employees alike, and lots more.

Secure remote access

Secure remote access, in a zero-trust world, is a set of solutions, platforms, and policies designed to prevent unauthorized network access and limit the potential harm if a malicious individual gets unauthorized access to an organization’s network and/or data. Every organization’s approach to secure remote access differs based on their needs, but most include a combination of strategies — that taken together — reduce their attack surface and prevent malicious actors from gaining access to their network.

It’s also useful to keep in mind that secure remote access and remote desktop (RDP) are entirely different concepts. Firezone provides secure remote access.

Benefits of secure remote access

There are many benefits of using a secure remote access solution, including:

Universal access: With a secure remote access solution in place, authorized users can access a company network, resources, and shared services on any supported device. This means employees who are traveling, at home, or working from the coffee shop down the street always have access to the resources they need to do their job.

Device protection: Employees at most organizations use lots of different devices — whether it’s email or meetings on a smartphone, writing code on a desktop, or reviewing PR’s on a laptop. An effective remote access solution can help protect all their devices by securing how they connect to these company networks and resources.

Security awareness: The shift to remote has given organizations an opportunity to review & modernize their security systems and processes, but unlike in an office, those changes may be less obvious. Remote access solutions are often visible, and can help raise awareness about cybersecurity — reminding users that the systems and information they’re accessing may be sensitive.

Safer browsing: Not only are employees working remotely, but more of their daily workflows include accessing third party services over the internet. Secure remote access systems can also help protect employees from common cybersecurity threats like malware and phishing attacks.

Benefits of remote work

Remote work (made possible by secure remote access, which helps employees get their work done safely) benefits everyone:

Save money: Securing remote access benefits employees and employers alike, with cost savings across the board for supporting remote employees according to a Global Workplace Analytics (GWA) report. This report indicates that compared to onsite employees, remote employees save thousands per year, and employers save around $10,000 for each remote employee.

Increase productivity: Perhaps unintuitively, there are lots of surprising productivity improvements related to remote work (working from home). According to an aggregated report by Apollo Technical, remote workers are generally 13% - 77% more productive than their in-office counterparts.

Improve morale: More than half (55%) of remote employees would prefer to work from home at least three days per week, which means remote work is here to stay according to PwC’s US Remote Work Survey. Remote work lets employees avoid long and stressful commutes, take better care of their families, and exercise more frequently — resulting in improved mental health, less stress, and better work-life balance.

Secure remote access at work

One of the most popular ways to get secure remote access today, is to add authentication to existing access solutions (like a VPN). Other solutions include zero trust network access (ZTNA), using an identity provider (IdP) with multi-factor authentication (MFA), and software-defined firewalls. The important thing to note is that VPNs (or at least VPN protocols), and ZTNA are not mutually exclusive solutions. Organizations can get secure remote access using a business VPN that adheres to zero trust architecture. Secure remote access and ZTNA come together in Firezone to give your organization better security, reliability, and control.

Get started with secure remote access

If you’re like most companies, and statistically you are, then you’ve probably set up an OpenVPN or WireGuard® server that your employees are connecting to with their personal devices (e.g. mobile, laptop, tablets, and more). While there’s no single process that works for everyone, and some of these may be part of your compliance audit, here are a few steps to get started with secure remote access:

  • Do a security audit
  • Settle on a security policy, and security processes
  • Restrict sensitive resource access to only those who need it (ZTNA)
  • Train employees on cybersecurity best practices (we recommend NINJIO)
  • Use a secure remote access solution like Firezone
  • Repeat these steps on a regular basis

Challenges of secure remote access

You’ve got lots of choices when it comes to secure remote access, but that also means each solution likely comes with its own set of challenges, including:

  • Reliable clients on a wide range of platforms like Windows, MacOS, etc.
  • Ensuring devices are secure, and clients are correctly configured
  • Managing user roles, access policies, and permissions
  • Keeping users up to date
  • Logging traffic to help detect and prevent unauthorized access or breaches

When you do choose a secure remote access provider, keeping things like security features, reputation, compatibility, scalability, and cost can help you make the best choice for your business.

Solutions like Firezone take all the guesswork out of secure remote access, and provide a great experience for your employees.

Get started now

Replace your current VPN with a modern remote access solution that combines the best of WireGuard® and ZTNA. Sign up now to get started.

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