One of the biggest challenges that organizations face in implementing work-from-home strategies is giving remote workers access to corporate IT resources. Traditionally, organizations have used virtual private networks (VPNs) to establish a secure connection between remote devices and the company network. However, this approach can prove challenging when most employees are working remotely.
Part of the problem is the sheer scale of telework requirements as organizations retool their operations amid the COVID-19 pandemic. According to estimates from Global Workplace Analytics, the remote workforce swelled from 9.8 million in 2019 to 70 million today. That’s a 615 percent increase virtually overnight. Organizations accustomed to supporting a handful of teleworkers likely do not have enough VPN connections to meet current demands.
Security is another issue. The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued an alert on March 13th warning that hackers are actively searching for vulnerabilities in popular VPN solutions. Many IT teams have been reluctant to bring down their VPN systems to install security patches and updates.
Additionally, a VPN is only one element of remote access security. It encrypts remote connections to prevent eavesdropping and the interception of data, but it doesn’t protect against malware. The VPN needs to be coupled with anti-malware, URL filtering and DNS protection tools in a layered security approach. At the data center, there needs to be strong authentication, device posture assessment and intrusion prevention tools.
In other words, scaling remote access isn’t a matter of simply adding VPN connections. Organizations must take a strategic approach that considers all aspects of the remote access environment as well as the underlying network and security infrastructure and IT operational procedures.
That’s why Technologent has developed a proprietary framework of professional services to help organizations accelerate their work-from-home strategy. Our experienced network and security consultants conduct workshops to identify business needs and risks and gaps in the existing environment. We also review various telework options with key stakeholders and develop a roadmap for implementing a mature and easy-to-use telework platform. IT teams and business leaders come away with an executable and actionable strategy for achieving the desired future state.
With a strategy in place, we help organizations implement or scale on-premises or cloud-based remote access solutions, either independently or in a hybrid IT environment. These solutions incorporate advanced authentication, device policy enforcement, intrusion prevention, and logging and reporting to protect the corporate IT environment. From the end-user’s perspective, the solution offers both client-based and clientless VPN options, with client-based security, URL filtering, anti-malware and DNS protection.
The Technologent team also looks at the network infrastructure, including Internet speed and reliability, network bandwidth and QoS, and security controls. Additionally, we can help organization develop policies and processes for the delivery of company-issued laptops and PCs and/or the use of personally owned devices.
Organizations are requiring employees to work from home in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and this is placing strain on existing telework architectures. However, adding more VPN connections isn’t enough — organizations should take a strategic approach that enables more flexible and scalable remote access. Technologent can help with your business-driven framework for the delivery of a robust, secure and easy-to-use telework solution.