The Need for Remote Work Security & Monitoring: Is Your IT Team Ready?

We are now facing an unprecedented need for remote work globally, it seems inevitable that over the coming months the need for organisations to adopt work-from-home or remote study practices will continue to soar.

With that, IT teams are faced with challenges induced by what Darren Murph, Head of Remote at GitLab, describes as “crisis-driven work-from-home”. These challenges can be particularly painful for organisations with ‘limited to no experience’ in telecommuting or distance learning.

This also brings in increasing speculations about the long-term behavioural changes such surge in remote work will bear on how businesses operate. Even post-virus containment.

As people adjust to new work styles, the tremendous value of remote work will soon be very visible to everyone. Whether in terms of quality of life, environmental sustainability or cost savings on things like office spaces and commuting expenses. The list goes on.

For IT administrators, however, there are three key challenges to achieving an efficient and secure remote work transition.

The Top Three IT Challenges to a Remote Work Transition

  1. The cost of remote devices
  2. The security of remote devices 
  3. Reliable monitoring of remote devices.

These challenges, to some extent, have been addressed long ago. In fact, schools were the first entities to realise the answer (since most of their ‘workers’ spend a considerable amount of time doing ‘homework’ anyway). 

Such realisation was initially driven by both, cost and management challenges. Long faced with much smaller budgets than their corporate fellows, schools quickly adopted Chromebooks as the ideal remote work and in-house desktop devices. 

Why? Simply put, Chromebooks are relatively inexpensive, totally ‘remotely’ configurable, do not suffer from viruses and have a very low maintenance cost. As for fleet management, they’re field upgradable within seconds from any Admin desk.

Today, many leading enterprises are realizing this truth and moving many of their field fleets to Chromebooks or Chromeboxes.

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Steps Businesses can Take Right Now to Ensure Remote Monitoring and Security

To make this move, all enterprises really need is one thing: All applications in use must be accessed via a web page

This is already true for the vast majority of applications we use today. Whether it’s Microsoft Office, Salesforce, Oracle Database, Email or even proprietary back end systems. In fact, this shift to a web based UI has been happening since the year 2000.

The idea of using software like native Outlook (as opposed to web outlook) and other so-called ‘desktop’ applications is not only expensive, but also a major security load. (If this hasn’t already been addressed by your IT department, it’s time to get to it).

How to Achieve the Same level of Control and Safety Remote Workers Would Get on the Corporate LAN?

The simple fact is, the Google Chrome environment provides both the device maintenance and device security environment required for safe remote working.

Now there’s one more element required to seal the deal. That is user behaviour security — which is now also possible using Chrome and its extensions’ environment. 

This gives you the same level (if not higher) of control and safety remote users would get on the corporate LAN. 

How to Achieve User Behaviour Security in Google Chrome Environment for Remote Workers?

One easy and powerful way to achieve this is using products like GAT Shield from GAT Labs.

This forced extension monitors user behaviour in real time, alerting both, users and Admins, of any dangerous use of sensitive data. That includes things like company credit card numbers on eBay, typing the company’s bank account numbers on sites that don’t belong to the company’s bank, etc.

GAT Shield also reports (and alerts) on other very important details, including device location, time reporting showing how remote workers use their time, as well as the technical state of the device. 

In fact, something like GAT Shield can even lift the level of security above the LAN level by constantly verifying that the user working behind the device is actually the user whose account is logged in. 

This is achieved via GAT’s ActiveID. By continually building mathematical models of how your users type, ActiveID can identify an impostor within minutes. Once identified, appropriate action can be taken via alerting the Admin, logging out the compromised account and capturing a picture of the impostor.

That’s just a glimpse on the powerful remote work security and monitoring capabilities GAT’s powerful suite of products can bring your Google Chrome environment.

Remote Work could Become a Permanent Trend:

‘’The move to remote work might be driven by unfortunate necessity, but the change will remain by virtue of long term benefit and, ironically, increased security.’’ — Robert Baker, CEO at GAT Labs.

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