Jul 10, 2024

Strengthening VPN Security in Hybrid Work Models

Blog post about Strengthening VPN Security in Hybrid Work Models

Cyber threats are becoming increasingly sophisticated and pervasive, highlighting the growing importance of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). As cybercriminals continuously evolve their tactics, the risks of identity theft, financial fraud, and privacy invasions intensify. VPNs not only protect sensitive information but also enable safe access to public Wi-Fi networks and restricted content. Learn more about the importance of encrypting company data and keeping your company safe in a hybrid work environment.

The cybersecurity landscape is changing due to remote access

As digitalization spreads rapidly through society, we enjoy the comfort and flexibility of online services but also become vulnerable to online threats. With less cash available and changing behaviors, traditional bank robbers and pickpockets have had to adapt. Consequently, cybercriminals have emerged. They have shifted their focus to individuals and companies that operate online.

Their modus operandi is more sophisticated, and since many online pitfalls are less visible, it’s easier to fall for their refined methods. Remote work has increased over the years and became popular as people were able to work from anywhere. There are several benefits, such as an increased work-life balance and the possibility to downsize the office, which reduces overall costs.

Let’s face it - with more remote access, data breaches are always around the corner, and intruders are waiting for every opportunity they get. Despite this, people are still not taking the right measures to prevent them. We would probably never leave the door at home wide open, but online, we are more likely to invite cybercriminals in by not using safe passwords and secure corporate networks.

It’s easy to forget to switch to a secure company network or to make the mistake of sharing business-sensitive information such as passwords or other credentials while traveling by train or working in a shared co-working space. When you carry your laptop and other work-related devices while on the move, you might misplace them or have them stolen. It is easy to see why caution is key.

Security vulnerabilities- what is the solution?

How do you tackle the invisible threat of phishing, hackers, and scammers? Firstly, you need to secure your access points, especially to protect sensitive data related to both your business processes and client information. Company secrets must be kept private, away from curious competitors who might want to copy your business model. In addition to the risk of information leaks, there can also be expensive lawsuits.

In the digital world, an important "lock" is a VPN, which stands for Virtual Private Network. A VPN ensures that one device can communicate with another safely. Data is encrypted thanks to a security protocol. A VPN is usually accessed through two-factor authentication with an app on a cell phone or passwords.

How does VPN help you stay secure in a remote work setting?

Remote work makes companies especially vulnerable to outside threats, as remote and hybrid employees use different Wi-Fi connections with varying levels of security. In a coffee shop, it is not uncommon to provide an open network, making your data easier for strangers to access. At home, people have different levels of secure Wi-Fi, which can also be subject to hacking. When they move around, the security of connections may vary, and therefore a VPN raises the bar to an acceptable standard.

A business VPN creates a secure and hidden corporate network for all employees, allowing them to access emails, project management platforms, and the intranet, to name a few. Others may argue that VPNs tend to slow down work processes by operating slower than expected and even cause server downtime. Another downside is that they need manual upkeep and run the risk of being misconfigured.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for everyone, but secure logins and encrypted data are crucial for all companies, especially those with remote employees.

Hybrid work security: challenges & best practices

A VPN is key to protecting company data online, but there are other measures to take in order to keep intruders away.

  • Implement a zero trust model. When you have remote workers, the best approach is to adopt a "Trust none, verify all" mindset. This means that everyone needs to be authenticated to gain access to the company’s files and systems. It should not be a one-size-fits-all situation, but rather different authentication processes for different platforms and devices.
  • Cloud-based solutions. Cloud-based solutions are a sustainable and efficient choice to increase online security and protect company data. In case a laptop is lost, the information can be accessed again, and no work is lost. You can also easily change passwords regularly.
  • Automate monitoring. Manual work can be tedious, and with each step involving a person, the risk of human error increases. Automations are therefore an efficient solution when you want operations to be less risky and have the possibility to monitor deviations in real time.
  • Increase employee awareness. When employees are aware of different cyber threats and the importance of keeping data safe, they can more easily spot threats and take proactive measures. They will also understand and accept the importance of different login processes and authentications. This is especially important when they bring their own devices.
  • See the full picture. It is easy to think that high network security alone can prevent data breaches. However, it’s important to take all aspects into consideration when setting up a secure online environment. How about the apps and programs employees use on a daily basis? It’s easy to assume that collaboration tools like Slack and Zoom are safe, but we encourage you to evaluate each one in terms of cybersecurity policies.

Protect sensitive data in hybrid workplaces

Due to the rise of remote work, a VPN is an essential measure to safeguard personal and professional data against the ever-present threat of cyberattacks. Worrying about security threats should not stand in the way of creating a flexible and dynamic workplace where people can work from anywhere.

Want guidance on how to set up your hybrid office for success?

Feel free to schedule a meeting with one of our product experts to learn more about our solutions and how technology can help you streamline your office processes without interfering with employees' day-to-day work.

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