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How Do I Secure My Network for Remote Users? - Ask an IT Guy Blog Feature
Ammon Becar

By: Ammon Becar on March 29th, 2018

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How Do I Secure My Network for Remote Users? - Ask an IT Guy

Ask An IT Guy

 

In early 2017, big players like Amazon and Apple both announced they would be adding remote roles to their work force. Billionaire Richard Branson noted, “flexible work is not just for low-level employees but should also be offered for positions higher up in the pipeline so that rising stars have flexible jobs to progress to" (cnbc.com). 

The truth is, some form of remote work already exists in most industries. Think about techs in the field or on-call dispatch efforts. Anyone who works outside of your office could fall under the "remote" umbrella. That being said, today we are going to talk about SSL VPNs - one of the main ways to  keep your company's data safe when doing your job means leaving the office behind.

How Do I Make Working Remote Safe?

Like mentioned above, remote jobs are becoming more popular. Because of this, the need for SSL VPNs has grown tremendously. But what is it?

SSL VPN stands for Secure Sockets Layer Virtual Private Network. It's a safe and secure way for remote users to easily connect to your network.

Think about SSL VPN like a secure tunnel that connects you from where ever you are, to your company’s internal network safely. After you're connected, you can access the terminal server, company files, and anything else you might need just as if you were sitting at your office desk.

You might be thinking, "Well, that's why I have remote desktop - I don’t need this other thing."

Here's the difference:

With remote desktop, you are opening ports for anyone to gain access to your network, while SSL VPN is encrypted and connects directly via your firewall. Consider how important that encryption would be when traveling or working from an unsecure WiFi connection.

Why SSL VPN is NOT a Catch-All When It Comes to Cybersecurity

This is not an invitation to ignore things like anti-virus. While the tunnel is secure, it is not immune to things like viruses or intrusion attacks.  It's still very important to have antivirus, appropriate detection, and monitoring software on your remote PC. Attacks and intrusions can still come through your SSL VPN tunnel from your remote machine.

Consider an SSL VPN like an added layer of protection, but it should never be the only source.

Firewall Setup and Company Policy

It's also very important that the SSL VPN structure setup on your firewall is done properly. If not, you can very quickly and easily bring down your internal network. 

Remember to use the SSL VPN for company access only. It's very easy to allow all traffic to come through your firewall. This can cause a huge disruption of work flow.  If your firewall is trying to stream music or video, it would drastically bring down the upload speed at your office.

You'll need to always make sure you have your SSL VPN configured correctly and accurately for your business. This will vary by company need, size, and internet speed. Work with your managed IT service provider or IT department to get that configured ASAP. 

No matter what it is, when thinking about security, a layered approach is always going to be your winning combination. So again, make sure your SSL VPN is used along with your firewall, anti-virus, and anti-malware tools, plus it's configured correctly in order to not overwhelm your offices ability to get work done.

Have more questions? We're happy to chat anytime. Give us a call at 800-481-4369.


Ask an IT Guy

We know that sometimes, figuring out the question is harder than finding the answer.

Ask an IT Guy was created with you in mind. This bi-monthly blog series will help you get to the bottom of IT questions you didn't even know you had.

Related: Ask an IT Guy: Is Guest WiFi Safe for Your Network?

Have a question? Ask us anything in the comments and we'll answer it in a future Ask an IT Guy post!

 

About Ammon Becar

Ammon is a virtual Chief Information Officer (vCIO) for Accent Computer Solutions, Inc. He helps clients plan their technology so their business goals become a reality. He guides technology strategy and vision as a trusted technical advisor to his clients.