4 tips for securing remote workers in higher education
2. Implement authentication best practices to reduce security issues
Privileged access management can help reduce common IT security issues that can arise with authentication. PAM can confirm the identity of the remote user regardless of the device used. PAM also allows IT to fine-tune privilege by applying the concept of least privilege to help mitigate security threats. PAM gives IT administrators full control over privileges, allowing them to grant access by location or set time limits for access.
Consider implementing a single sign-on solution, which enables centralized authentication and grants access to people who only need to remember one strong password to gain secure access to applications, making it easier for them and reduces calls to the IT department. Implement multi-factor authentication where possible for an additional layer of defense.
TO EXPLORE: How to avoid security breaches within the IT department.
3. Use Zero-Trust Network Access for Secure Remote Connections
VPNs allow employees to connect remotely to the central network, but some traditional VPNs have security vulnerabilities, including open and constantly listening ports, hardware that can be easily hacked, and a reliance on usernames and passwords that can be easily compromised.
Zero-Trust Network Access provides secure remote access to applications and services based on defined access control policies. Users are authenticated and only have access to the applications they need through an encrypted channel. Trustless network access provides some visibility that VPNs may lack and helps reduce the attack surface.
LEARN MORE: Understanding the zero-trust model can help prevent ransomware attacks.
4. Use User Entity Behavioral Analysis
User entity behavior analysis builds patterns to show IT administrators what typical activity looks like on a network and makes it easy to spot when a user or set of users deviates from this norm. This can help identify compromised accounts, users deliberately trying to elevate their privileges, or signs of insider threats.
Insider threats are on the rise with remote workers, as distracted and stressed employees working from home are vulnerable targets. Cybercriminals attempt to use workers to commit cybercrimes against their own organizations. Behavioral analysis of the user entity can alert IT administrators to suspicious activity, such as user activity from an abnormal location, accessing networks at odd hours, or accessing a remote employee to rarely used systems or programs. Unusual user activity can alert IT admins and prompt them to take a closer look.
Now more than ever, universities should implement risk-based policies and practices given the prevalence of remote workers. By using these best practices, IT teams can help their remote staff avoid security incidents.