Now that cloud technology has made access to information more convenient, with a promise to make your business life easier, the risk of data security has increased. Cloud servers are susceptible to attacks. Insecure or insecurely used remote access technologies – mechanisms that most security teams assume pose little risk – in reality, offer an abundance of options for attackers to infiltrate enterprises. The problem is more acutely felt in small and midsize businesses, especially those that operate point-of-sale (PoS) systems. In the past, SMBs have proven highly vulnerable because they commonly outsource PoS management to third-party solution providers, and not all of them secure the remote access technologies properly, thus failing their customers.

There is a multitude of various software desktop tools, support professionals, and security services providers that offer remote access and management to organizations with a fleet of computers, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, and more. Enterprises must also realize that they have the responsibility for proper use of remote access products to their customers.The decision-making team of your SMB has to make sure that products you use to secure your network are delivered on their promise.

What does your SMB need to ensure proper and secure remote access to your business computer network?

  1. Authentication
  2. Authorization
  3. Permission
  4. Encryption
  5. SSL Protocol
  6. IP Address Restriction
  7. Real-Time Audit

Let’s dive into these security considerations

Authentication

Authentication is the first stage in the process of granting or denying access to a network resource. The U.S. government’s National Information Assurance Glossary defines strong authentication as. layered authentication approach relying on two or more authenticators to establish the identity of an originator or receiver of information. Most organizations use the Windows Security Model for a strong foundation of Windows Authentication. This defines your security and designs policies associated with your pre-existing Users and Groups within your Active Directory domain. This will then prompt users for credentials.

Based on the number of authorized users, you can support Windows Single Sign-on in accordance with Windows Security. Those users already logged in as themselves in Windows will automatically be logged into your remote desktop software. Typically, the software will support the authentication via the existing Windows account. The same policies apply to lock-out policies when enabled. If a user leaves the company, simply disabling the account in A.D. will inhibit him from accessing remotely.

In security systems, authentication is distinct from authorization, which is the process of granting users access to system objects based on their identity. 

Authorization

Authorization is the second stage in the process of granting or denying access to a network resource.  Authorization allows the user access to various resources based on the user’s identity.

It is vital to have an authorization model included in your remote access software. With this, you can overtly grant access to remote machines to particular users. You should be able to manually specify which types of desktops they can access and connect to, and the functions available to the user.

For example, you can specify junior employees to have limited function access, like the inability to transfer files, alter admin settings, or initiate screen recordings.

Permission

Enabling permission to connect adds a layer of security and can be configured with a remote desktop software solution. There are several sets of rules and policies regarding end-user permission, and the one you choose depends on needs of your organization.

  • No permission required: connections are automatically made without end-user interference
  • Permission must be granted: connection will only be made after an end-user explicitly allows a connection. The connection, however, will be rejected if the user does not approve it within a timeframe.
  • Permission requested from end-user but access granted if no response: this user asks permission from the end user but access will be allowed if there no response from the end user; lock the machine up and require the user to log in first before using the system again.

Encryption

Encryption is the conversion of electronic data into another form, called ciphertext, which cannot be easily understood by anyone except authorized parties. Encryption provides additional security for your data, ever they are intercepted in motion. Encryption and decryption are key elements of PCI DSS and HIPAA compliance specifications.

Make sure that all connections made with your remote control software use AES encryption with the SHA1.

SSL Protocol

This allows communication between client-server applications without the risk of unwanted listeners trying to fish for information. Even if all connections are encrypted with UDP and TCP, SSL over TCP adds the value of the SSL certificate that guarantees it is connected to the right server.

IP Address Restriction

Specifying IP addresses that have remote access increases the mitigation capacity of security policies against malicious attacks. IP restriction follows the models “Allow all except…” or “Deny all except…” Web and FTP servers can be configured to grant or deny specific computers, groups of computers or domains access to Web sites, FTP sites, directories, or files. For example, if your organization’s intranet server is connected to the Internet, you can limit access only to members of your intranet, and explicitly deny access to outside internet users.

Real-Time Audit

What most businesses overlook is an audit process. For every organization with remote access networks, there must be an audit trail. Securing the remote access is an insurance that your security works. It is important to record and review attempted connections, and all remote services utilized in those sessions. Auditing clarifies accountability and follows requirements for internal and external compliance: for example, HIPAA requires organizations to monitor their network in real-time, ensure high levels of security for their confidential assets and provide compliance audit reports to auditors on demand.

How sure are you about the remote access security in your organization?

Call us 201-493-1414 ext 311  right now to talk to our IT consultants today. Let’s start a conversation to make sure your remote connections are secure, your network is protected, and business continuity is ensured. Not ready to talk right now? Request a consultation at your convenience!

 

 

Intelligent Business Continuity services from our NJ IT Security Consulting, IT Services, and Computer Network Support company for Small Business include all assets of Managed Services.

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