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How to Secure your Remote Workforce?

Practical pointers to secure your remote workforce and protect business-critical SaaS data
Remote Workforce Security

Three Essential Guidelines for Improved Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity, in the Work-From-Home Era

  • Evaluate and mitigate the security risks of remote work
  • Re-evaluate your Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan
  • Centralize your backup in the cloud

Evaluate and mitigate the security risks of remote work

Analyze all the touch-points, devices and applications used by your remote employees. With reduced security on the employees’ personal and/or mobile devices, vulnerabilities increase. Identify and implement preventive fixes.

Work and personal don’t mix! 

Advise employees to not use their official devices for personal reasons. Mixing personal and business data increases the risks significantly. For instance, if non-approved software or a pirated movie is downloaded for personal use and the laptop crashes, business data would be lost too.

Secure your endpoints

Mandate access only on official devices secured with physical and electronic layers of security. Remind employees to regularly update antivirus and security software – endpoint security is vital. Evaluate unified Mobile Device Management (MDM) & Mobile Application Management (MAM) tools.

Train your remote workers to be cyber-secure

Employees can be your strongest/weakest cybersecurity link. Develop and evangelize a remote workforce policy. Train employees about social engineering red flags and phishing scams, especially Covid scams. Send regular emails with approved lists of software, and incident response steps.

Hawk-eye on the network

Monitor all network requests applying the zero-trust paradigm. If not employing a VPN, avoid opening remote access ports. And if using a VPN, given the recent host of VPN vulnerabilities, ensure that it is regularly updated.

Nothing beats MFA/TFA

Ensure that all applications implement Multi-Factor/Two-Factor Authentication (MFA/TFA) which can successfully block breaches caused due to compromised credentials; the cause of the vast majority of breaches.

Harness the cloud’s scalability and collaborative mechanisms

Shift to cloud computing platforms like Microsoft 365, G Suite, Salesforce, Dropbox. The cloud offers an inherently scalable and collaborative platform where data remains on the cloud instead of being stored on local devices.

Zero trust is a reliable way to stay secure

Zero trust is a methodology for improved IT network security particularly helpful with increased remote usage. Assume zero trust for all access requests and only grant access when verified. Add Intelligence to network security engines to make informed decisions on the veracity of the connection request.

Microsoft 365
One of the best things you can do to prevent attacks is to just turn on MFA. MFA can prevent over 99.9 percent of account compromise attacks.”

Melanie Maynes,
Senior Product Marketing Manager
Microsoft Security

Microsoft 365 Exchange

Re-evaluate your Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan (BC/DR)

Whose hand would you reach out for if a security breach were to strike?

Your BC/DR’s comforting one, of course! Disaster recovery and business continuity planning are essential processes that help organizations prepare for and recover from disruptions of all sorts – a power outage, platform downtime, phishing attack, credential breach, and others. For the BCDR to stay relevant and consequently helpful, you would need to update it with the can of disruptions that remote-first work have opened. Pointers to kickstart your effort:

Revise Your Recovery Objectives

Your recovery objectives will determine if your disaster recovery is a success or not. The two main markers are the:

  • Recovery Time Objective (RTO): The RTO measures your downtime bandwidth - the amount your systems, workflows and business can withstand without incurring damaging losses. Knowing the RTO helps you determine the recovery strategies, processes and tools to successfully recover from a disaster
  • Recovery Point Objectives (RPO): The RPO determines the amount of data loss that your organization can tolerate before tanking. Your RPO will dictate your backup plan, frequency and the supporting infrastructure.
  • Recovery Point Objectives (RPO): The RPO determines the amount of data loss that your organization can tolerate before tanking. Your RPO will dictate your backup plan, frequency and the supporting infrastructure.
Bolster your current BC/DR plan to accommodate for remote risks

A few scenarios that work from home throws up: What is the response time of your now remote IT team? Can your employees self-service recovery? Can I restore data remotely? Where can I store my backups for better accessibility – cloud or on-premises? How quickly can I bulk recover lost data? If an employee loses their laptop how quickly can I delete the data on the lost one and send another? Assess your current BC/DR plan and see if it can accommodate situations like these and more that are commonplace with remote workforces.

  • Perhaps you would need to move from on-premises backup to cloud-based for better accessibility.
  • Select a backup solution that supports easy remote recovery and that comprehensively protects all SaaS data with no point-in-time restrictions.
  • Train remote emergency response champions/groups in various time zones and inform employees of their contact details.
  • Ensure that your recovery software is mobile responsive.
  • Evangelize the changes to your BC/DR plan to the various stakeholders and employees.
  • Distribute your stock of devices across various locations so they can be transported quickly to employees.
  • Run full-scale test drills to check that your BC/DR plan meets the requisite recovery objectives.

There is a 630% rise in cyber attacks as cloud services use goes up during Covid-19 induced work-from-home.”


Centralize your backup in the cloud​

With cyber-attacks increasing, and consequently exposing the security vulnerabilities of remote work, data protection is becoming a top business priority. The bedrock of data protection is backup and recovery.

With the rise in tele-commuting, SaaSbased cloud-to-cloud backup can provide the perfect recoverability, scalability and security that remote backup and recovery demands. Business-critical data and workflows have been migrated to SaaS platforms like Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365), G Suite, and Salesforce.

These are remotely accessed on a host of unsecured devices, in home environments with relaxed cybersecurity constructs.

In such a situation, SaaS platforms need backup, more than ever, to protect SaaS data from loss due to human error, malicious intent, sync errors, malware, et al.

Select comprehensive and centralized SaaS backup solutions that back up data on the cloud thus ensuring your data protection is complete without the risks of on-premises infrastructure issues.

For instance, if your backup solution does not include Teams – heavily used by your remote employees – you could risk losing valuable data.

Or if your solution backs up data onpremises and there is an outage or your storage is full, you could miss backups till your remote IT teams fix the issues.

SaaS backup solutions that offer nondestructive point-in-time, or granular restore with unlimited data retention can reduce your RPO and RTO and ensure fast data recovery. Moreover, if they offer self-service restore they minimize the time to recover even further, while reducing strain on IT teams.

Native solutions are archival in nature and not built for data recovery. This means that restore is tedious and destructive (changes are overwritten) without unlimited point-in-time, or cross-user recovery. More importantly, data is only stored for a limited time – from weeks to a couple of months.

One of the best things you can do to prevent attacks is to just turn on MFA. MFA can prevent over 99.9 percent of account compromise attacks.”



How CloudAlly can help:

CloudAlly pioneered SaaS Backup for the enterprise in 2011. Our backup solutions for Microsoft 365, G Suite, Salesforce, Dropbox, and Box are tried and tested by organizations with thousands of users.

We’re top-rated by Gartner Capterra and G2, and were voted as a leading SaaS backup solution in a Newsweek survey by 10,000+ IT Pros  . We’re secure, scalable, and tailored to support the remote workforce.

Comprehensive Cloud-to-Cloud Backup: Complete SaaS data protection of Microsoft 365 – Mail, Calendar, Contacts and Tasks, OneDrive, SharePoint, Groups and Teams (heavily used by remote teams). G Suite -Gmail, Team Drives, Sites, Calendars, Contacts, Tasks, and Metadata backup. Salesforce data, metadata, Chatter feeds, and Metadata. Box and Dropbox backup.
SaaS Backup on Amazon AWS Storage: CloudAlly stores backups on the stringently secure Amazon AWS S3 storage and encrypted using advanced AES-256 bit encryption Backup solutions with on-premises storage cannot provide remote data security, with the same ease and control that SaaS backup can.
Easy Remote Workforce Management: Simplified employee on-boarding and offboarding with bulk activation, automated addition/deletion users, and backup of inactive accounts.
OOTB Setup, Zero Adoption Effort: Seamless integration with all SaaS platforms – Microsoft 365, G Suite, Salesforce, Box and Dropbox, intuitive UI with admin-friendly tools.
Flexible Remote Recovery Options to any Storage with Unlimited Retention: Self-service, point-in-time, granular, and cross-user restore. Non-destructive with unlimited retention. Backup to your own cloud storage.
Secure and Audit-Ready: Global data centers, GDPR, HIPAA and SoX compliant, ISO 27001 certified, MFA/2FA, OAuth and OKTA support, AES-256 data encryption, 99.9% uptime SLA.
High ROI with Unbeatable Pricing: Custom discounts for bundles, high-volume and multi-year packages. Save on platform license costs with inactive account backup.
Tier 1 – 365x24x7 Real-person Customer Support: Highly-responsive customer service with a multi-channel Customer Support Hub. We’re always on-call to resolve your data protection challenges.

How do you Secure the Remote Worker?

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