Written by Anthony Owen, Axonex Pre-Sales specialist
In response to COVID-19 organisations are moving their workforce to the virtual workspace. The speediness of this rollout by our customers has been fantastic.
The first step taken by IT teams has been to quickly enable the workforce to access corporate resources when working from home, when they need to. However, with the speed and scale of this roll out, protecting your remote workers is a challenge.
In this blog I’ll outline some of the key security considerations and how Axonex are helping customers work not just remotely, but securely, and how to prevent breaches at a time of increased risk.
Secure VPN access
A VPN client like Cisco AnyConnect will help ensure end-to-end encryption, prevent man in the middle attacks and ensure data integrity, but there are some additional decisions that need to be considered.
Some organisations will send all user internet activity (corporate and non-corporate) back through the corporate firewall for deeper inspection, malware analysis and content classification etc. While this is secure, it effectively doubles the bandwidth for a single remote user vs. an office user. As a result, many customers are now finding the Internet connection to be a bottleneck.
To ease bandwidth congestion organisations can forward only corporate requests via the secure VPN connection. Great, but how do you ensure your users are protected from accessing non-corporate domains on the internet that could pose a risk to them and the data they can access, or from using unapproved applications or accessing sites in breach of corporate usage policy?
Protect users everywhere with DNS security
The answer here is Cisco Umbrella. Umbrella provides security for users at the DNS layer, forwarding all DNS requests to Umbrella to identify whether a domains content category is associated with malicious intent (such as phishing, malware, crypto-mining, command and control etc). If so, Umbrella will block access to these sites before the user can connect. As Umbrella is a cloud delivered service, and with no required connection to the corporate VPN, your users will be protected whether working from home or from the local coffee shop (when they re-open).
Verify the identity of your users
Finally, we have the question of user verification and device posturing. The last thing you want is a misplaced corporate laptop or stolen log on credentials to be able to access your network via the VPN, or a device that is vulnerable through outdated operating systems, browsers or anti-virus potentially causing a breach. Cisco Duo enables both Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) and device posturing. With these in place, when a user enters their credentials, they will also be prompted for a second input such as a code via text, a call to a mobile device with authentication or as simple as a push notification via the Duo App to a registered smartphone. Duo can also confirm operating system, browser and anti-virus are all up to date before permitting access, and if not up to date, inform the user on the actions that need to be carried out in order to gain access.
Trial Umbrella and DUO for your business
To see how these solutions can improve your security posture for remote workers, Axonex can help you set up free software trials of Cisco security solutions within your own organisation and environment. Learn more here