VPN & Remote Desktop Security More Important Now Than Ever

People across the nation are staying home, working remotely and practicing social distancing but that doesn’t mean professional life as we know it has halted to a stop. Many organizations have had to adapt and create systems for their business operations to move smoothly into the cloud and remote access. One of the biggest concerns with this transition is maintaining security and integrity of your companies data with the increased risk associated with remote access.

A VPN is a private network created from a public internet connection. VPNs mask your internet protocol (IP) address so your online actions are virtually untraceable. Altogether, an effective VPN creates a secure and encrypted pipeline or “tunnel” providing a higher level of privacy than a secured Wi-Fi hotspot.

Securing VPN servers and authenticating all points of RDS access should become a top concern for enterprises. Last week Guy Bruneau an ISC SANS instructor said “It will be very important [that] the VPN service is patched and up-to-date because there will be way more scrutiny (scanning) against these services,” further stating that now is the perfect time to assess and get ahead of VPN compromises.

Here are a few steps your company can take strengthen your remote access practices:

  • Make sure your VPN is patched and fully up to date
  • Conduct regular VPN security audits
  • Enable multi-factor authentication
  • Implement strong password policy, update routinely. Do not use single master passwords
  • Use the highest level encryption available: Layer Two Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) or Internet Protocol security (IPsec) for example
  • Limit VPN access to only those whose needs are business critical
  • Utilize a secure HTTP intranet and extranet to share select files to reduce need for VPN when necessarily
  • Provide employees accessing the VPN with anti-virus, anti-spam and firewall protection