/ Digital Workspaces Guide / Chapter 6: Secure Access

Secure remote access and cloud app security

As remote work continues to gain a foothold in today’s economy, employees working across the globe require access to corporate networks to successfully do their jobs. But no matter what endpoints (laptops, smartphones, tablets, or servers) these employees are using — be it company-issued endpoints or their own — accessing company databases outside of an organization introduces new forms of security risks.

Whether your company has just a few remote employees or a large remote workforce, each additional endpoint is vulnerable to a cyber-attack — but only if the proper security measures aren’t in place. With secure remote access solutions and cloud app security implemented into your network, you can reinforce your cybersecurity strategy and protect your organization’s data from being breached remotely.

What is secure remote access?

Secure remote access represents any security policy, program, or strategy that safeguards a specific application or network from unauthorized access. Rather than utilizing one cybersecurity strategy, secure remote access incorporates multiple security solutions to ensure your business’s confidential information is protected, no matter where your network is being utilized.

Security solutions used for secure remote access

To establish secure remote access to your corporate network, you can utilize many cybersecurity solutions simultaneously. Some of the most common technologies include:

Virtual private network

A virtual private network (VPN) gives remote employees online privacy by connecting to a private network from a public internet connection. A VPN creates a secure and encrypted connection that masks an employee’s internet protocol (IP) address, which means online activity is untraceable.

Zero-trust network access

Zero-trust network access (ZTNA) is a security solution that provides secure remote access to private applications and services based on defined access control parameters. This means that employees only have access to services that have been specifically granted to them. A zero-trust security framework also prevents users from being placed on your network and your apps or services from being exposed to the internet.

Endpoint security

Endpoint security is the process of securing endpoints — or end-user devices like desktops, laptops, smartphones, and tablets — on a network. Endpoint security solutions often include antivirus software, firewall checks, keeping patches of operating systems up-to-date, and ensuring sensitive information is not being cached. This process could also include encrypting data on endpoints to prevent data leaks, or application control strategies that prevent users from downloading apps that could put the network at risk.

Network access control

Network access control (NAC) is used to enforce corporate network access policies across all devices and users. NAC solutions can be used to identify and profile users and their devices, isolate malicious code before it can cause damage, and minimize network threats by enforcing security policies without the oversight of an administrator.

Single sign-on

Single sign-on (SSO) allows users to use one set of login credentials to securely authenticate to and access multiple applications, websites, or resources. For example, SSO is used for web-based applications like Google Workspace, allowing you to login with your ID and password once to gain access to Google’s entire suite of digital tools.

Privileged access management

Privileged access management (PAM) allows designated users to access specialized data, information, or tools that standard users cannot access. An example of PAM is a domain administrator account that provides administrative access to servers and workstations within a network domain.

Why is secure remote access important?

Remote access security is crucial for businesses that have a remote workforce, as these employees need to safely access corporate networks from multiple places. As many remote employees work from home, an unsecured network could lead to massive data breaches on both personal and company servers. If your business shares sensitive data to clients via a corporate network, the proper security precautions need to be implemented to protect both parties from malicious code.

What is cloud app security?

Cloud app security refers to the security measures taken to protect corporate assets and data stored within a cloud-based application. Much like establishing secure remote access, cloud app security involves implementing multiple independent strategies to mitigate vulnerabilities within your cloud-based apps.

Solutions for cloud app security

Securing your cloud for both internal and remote employees start with analyzing your current cloud services. This includes identifying which applications you are currently using, as well those you plan to integrate into your network in the future. Once identified, it’s important to assess these services for any potential cybersecurity risks or vulnerabilities so you can get started implementing the right security measures. Some of the most common cloud app security strategies include:

Tighten native security settings

Each cloud-based app your business uses has built-in privacy and security settings. Make sure your security team knows what settings are available, and how your organization can utilize them to their fullest potential.

Encrypt sensitive data and secure connections

Encrypting sensitive information and securing all network connections prevents data loss or leaks from your cloud apps. This ensures any information lost in a security breach is undecipherable and keeps suspicious or malicious traffic out of your corporate network.

Adjust user permissions

Adjusting user permissions within your cloud apps allows you to assign or prevent access to sensitive data. Similarly, it’s important to regulate what devices can securely access your cloud network. Many cloud-based services allow you to restrict certain devices from designated applications.

Promote cloud app security best practices

Employees with access to your business’s cloud network also play a role in cloud app security. They must use strong and unique passwords, two-factor authentication where possible, and keep their business-related login credentials protected with a password manager. Employees also should avoid logging into cloud apps from personal devices that don’t have the protection of your company’s secure network.

Why is cloud app security important?

Without advanced security solutions integrated into your cloud applications, your business’s sensitive information could be exposed through data breaches, account hijacking, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, and more. Ensuring your cloud apps are utilizing built-in security options will help mitigate data loss and protect your organization from remote threats. It’s also important to select cloud services that align with your business’s unique security needs, especially if you have a remote workforce.

Safeguard your organization with secure remote access and cloud app security

As an organization with a remote workforce, protecting your business’s sensitive data online is crucial. Establishing secure remote access is an effective way to control which users and devices have access to your corporate network while boosting cybersecurity efforts on employee endpoints. If your business utilizes cloud-based applications, harnessing built-in security settings and promoting cloud app security best practices can help protect your organization from malicious threats, data loss, and unauthorized users.

FAQs

What is cloud security management?

Cloud app security management refers to the security measures taken to protect corporate assets and data stored within a cloud-based application. Much like establishing secure remote access, cloud app security involves implementing multiple independent strategies to mitigate vulnerabilities within your cloud-based apps.

What is the difference between network security and cloud security?

Network security represents any security policy, program, or strategy that safeguards a specific application or network from unauthorized access. Cloud security refers to the security measures taken to protect corporate assets and data stored within a cloud-based application.