Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that a business will fall victim to a ransomware attack every 11 seconds in 2021, compared to every 40 seconds in 2016. Ransomware damages are expected to reach $20 billion next year, up from $5 billion in 2017.
Security experts say the surge is due in large part to the pandemic-driven transition to a remote workforce. Organizations were forced to make a series of hurried operational changes that often created gaps in their IT security systems.
As organizations begin setting their IT priorities and Cybersecurity budget for 2021, securing the remote workforce should be near the top of the list. Although it may have started as a stopgap measure, remote work is likely to become a permanent feature of the business landscape. A Gartner study found that three-quarters of enterprise organizations plan to give employees the option to work from home on an ongoing basis.
There’s every reason to believe threat actors will redouble their efforts to exploit this trend. Following a year in which record numbers of ransomware attacks, phishing scams and viruses targeted employees working from home, most analysts expect remote operations will remain the No. 1 attack vector in 2021. Some analysts predict that attacks on remote workers will rise by 40 percent or more next year.
Now that organizations have had a chance to adjust to 2020’s disruptions, here are six technologies that can help improve your home office security going forward:
Secure remote access. Remote network access technologies such as virtual private networks (VPNs) and the remote desktop protocol (RDP) enable users to access company resources from a home PC using an Internet connection. However, these technologies have known vulnerabilities that hackers exploit to gain network access. RMM Solutions offers a more secure alternative with our Secure Remote Access solution, which facilitates a direct, one-to-one connection between a work computer and a home PC. Security is further enhanced with AES 256-bit encryption, two-factor authentication and other measures.
Security fabric. Limited visibility into home office networks makes it difficult for IT teams to identify and prevent attacks on remote workers. The Fortinet Security Fabric addresses this challenge by synchronizing a variety of network and security sensors and tools to deliver a unified view of all endpoints, cloud services and applications being used by remote workers.
Endpoint protection. Remote workers can expose sensitive company information by using unsecured PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones. Unified endpoint management (UEM) solutions allow administrators to secure, manage and provision mobile devices, desktops, laptops and tablets through a single interface. When UEM tools detect suspicious activity such as unusual data download patterns or the unexpected installation of a firmware update, the endpoint can be automatically quarantined, locked or wiped.
Multifactor authentication. MFA solutions such as Cisco Duo help prevent unauthorized access to applications, systems and services by requiring a combination of verification factors rather than just a password. Duo also provides detailed information about all devices on the network and automatically flags any devices that are out of date, jailbroken or otherwise out of compliance with company security policies.
Email security. Email is by far the most common delivery mechanism for ransomware, malicious attachments, malicious URLs, viruses and phishing attacks. Email filtering solutions block malicious incoming content before it reaches end-users. We also suggest using DNS filtering, which blocks access to malicious domains, IP addresses or cloud applications before a connection is ever established.
Data loss prevention. DLP solutions help ensure remote workers comply with company policies about data sharing. They examine outbound communications such as email and file transfers, as well as host-based activities such as copying files to removable media. DLP scans will generate alerts if any of these activities violate policies.