Using Segmentation Strategies to Protect Remote Workers
Experts agree — even long-range predictions show that our post-pandemic work environment will remain more remote than before the pandemic. Today, many companies are offering a hybrid environment that involves both work from home (WFH) staff, in-house staff, and those that move between locations. In creating this hybrid work model, business leaders must think creatively — and proactively — about how they will implement practices and policies that address both productivity and security of WFH employees.
Fortunately, today’s technological tools such as cloud services, collaboration and communication tools, and faster and better connectivity options make working from satellite locations simpler. But because your employees aren’t under one roof using a single network, security can be harder to pin down.
Cybercriminals are aware of this, and there has been a rise in malicious activity, some of which is directed at remote offices through home routers and even devices like DVRs. Since these devices are consumer-owned they are less likely to be updated, upgraded, and secured like on-premises office infrastructure.
The Risks of Remote Work and How to Use Segmentation Strategies to Solve Them
Not only are home-based devices not equipped with rigorous security protocols, but the proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT), smart devices, and mobile technologies means more devices than ever can be connected to a home network. These can range from smartphones and tablets to gaming devices, thermostats, modems, routers, speakers, and more. All these devices mean one thing — a broader attack surface for cybercriminals.
Enter network segmentation, a strategy that can help you keep your remote assets safer.
The Power of Segmentation Strategies
Network segmentation helps to isolate varying workers, devices, and parts of your network to reduce risk. Through segmentation strategies, companies can look forward to not only better performance, but also the ability to improve security. Network issues can be easily localized to prevent them from affecting your entire workforce and administrators have a better ability to monitor and control traffic flow among segments.
Importantly, segmentation provides your security personnel with a way to keep unauthorized users from moving through your network laterally to grab sensitive or critical data.
How to Segment
Segmenting a remote office can be conducted in three steps:
- First, identify all devices on your personal network. Then, dedicate specific devices to corporate-only work — these will be assigned to a work network.
- Then, configure these devices with security settings, passwords, and device names. Or use a separate router for your work-related devices.
- Finally, monitor your work network and keep devices and infrastructure maintained and updated.
It is important to continue to use only corporate-approved devices on the remote work network.
How Your Managed Services Partner Can Help
Managed services providers (MSPs) understand the challenges posed by remote work conditions — and they also have deep knowledge of evolving cybersecurity threats, giving them an advantage when it comes to helping their clients use segmentation properly. Some methods they use include:
- Establishing and securing virtual private networks (VPNs) to protect remote workers
- Applying network segmentation standards to enhance security
- Managing endpoint incidents and remotely monitoring endpoint devices
- Maintaining hard- and software updates across devices
- Educating clients on how to spot hacker tactics such as phishing, eavesdropping, DDos, ClickJacking, and others.
In addition, your MSP typically conducts remote monitoring to catch suspicious activities and performs routine maintenance that keeps security patches up to date for greater protection.
Handling a Hybrid Work Environment? Tonerwise Can Help
At Tonerwise, we understand the challenges that come from having geographically scattered employees coordinating with in-house staff. Security can get lax, and it can be difficult to gain visibility into how your equipment is being used — and who is using it.
Our team has two solutions that work well with a segmented workplace — auto supply replenishment and remote printer monitoring software. Both services work for businesses running a full-time, fully staffed office environment, but they hold special advantages for remote workers.
With auto replenishment, there’s no managing of individual print workstations. Your remote employees — and your in-house staff — will receive supplies for their printer at the exact time they are required, with no action needed. And our remote print monitoring software gives you clear visibility into your entire print environment, including both in-office and at-home machines. Importantly, this solution features included maintenance and service to ensure your printers are kept up to date with the latest soft- and hardware updates and patches.
Keep your hybrid work environment safe, secure, and productive. Contact Tonerwise and discover how our remote printer-monitoring software and auto supply replenishment can support your hybrid office.