Remote access also known as remote login is the ability to get access to a computer or network from a remote location. It allows employees who are working away from their office or traveling to access work from the office network through a remote connection. Both the local machine and remote server or computer must have the remote access software or use the internet. Remote access is set up using Wide Area Network (WAN), Local Area Network (LAN) or a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to access information remotely. Examples of remote access include the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN), cable modem, wireless connection and Digital Subscriber Line (DSL).
While using remote access, you may experience challenges on how to keep information and systems secure from malicious hackers and threats, and it can lead to harmful effects such as identity theft, financial fraud or system attack. It is important to remain safe while using remote access by planning and securing the remote access against any risks. The greater the risk, the greater the need to have a more secure access controls.
Five ways on how to mitigate risks with remote access include:
- Always use Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection as it builds an encrypted connection to the main network that is used to get access the information system. Enforcing this ensures that you are safely connected to your internal network and reduces the risk of man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks to the user.
- Check for any vulnerabilities in the remote access system often. This is by use of vulnerability scanners such as Qualys or Nexpose and looks deeply into the systems. Also continuously check any malicious behavior or attacks to the router. Users should be educated how to check and play a role in checking out for any underlying risks while accessing their data.
- Protect the information on the remote PC from prying eyes by use of antiviruses and firewalls and all laptops, handheld devices or PCs should have the same local security controls, antivirus software, and firewalls. Organizations should use personal firewalls that are capable of supporting multiple policies for other devices, and they should configure them correctly for the organization environment and external environment. Both software should regularly be maintained and should be able to block any network applications that have no authorized access to the network or internet.
- Authenticating and authorizing users so as ensure that a person has permission to access any information. It is mostly done through login procedures, and credentials such as password and ID, where users create strong passwords to access information and they frequently change their passwords. This reduces the risk of hackers guessing passwords or PINS which cause a security breach.
- When an employee is fired or leaves the organization, he should terminate employee’s access rights to the systems that were given to him when being employed. There should be a procedure that shows effective control where the employee forgets about logins and has no access rights when he leaves.