Secure Remote Access – How Your Employees Can Work Remotely During the Coronavirus or Anytime for Any Reason
The novel Coronavirus, COVID-19, continues to spread across the globe causing some businesses to halt operations. Now officially known as SARS-CoV-2, or more commonly COVID-19, the virus required mass quarantines at its origin in Wuhan, the capital of Central China’s Hubei province to slow down the rate of new infections. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that people avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing. But during the incubation period, COVID-19 is contagious while the carrier is asymptomatic.
Despite the best efforts of scientists, South Korea, Italy, and Iran are now also centers of major Coronavirus outbreaks and the virus is beginning to spread across the United States. Many workers are concerned about reporting to their workplace after reports of the first community spread COVID-19 infection surfaced. Of course, no one wants to contract COVID-19 or any other illness and there is the always possibility that another everyday virus like the common cold or influenza, may be mistaken for something more serious.
Like other viruses and illnesses, the best way to stop person-to-person transmission is to simply stay away from each other. Some governments have quarantined entire communities. Due to the virility of the novel Coronavirus, many organizations are enforcing mandatory remote work, instead viewing it as a privilege.
Accordingly, workers are looking for ways to remotely connect to their office safely and securely. Large corporations generally have secure remote access to servers and apps already in place for high-level workers or for those who routinely travel. But an increasing number of people are searching for remote virtual private network (VPN) access and ways to get VPN remote access they can continue to work uninterrupted while staying healthy.
Coronavirus or not, according to security software provider Perimeter 81, 42% of organizations say the leading cloud vulnerability is unauthorized cloud access. For some employees, a simple home VPN like may work for small office secure remote access and limited bandwidth, but not for medium to large businesses. We reviewed and rated VPN apps for individuals, families, and small offices and compared NordVPN versus IPVanish along with others, and rated them on factors like bandwidth, server selection, device compatibility, and cost. These are among the best VPN apps and are affordable, but they are only going to provide secure remote access for individuals looking to connect securely to read corporate emails or for accessing sensitive online accounts. They won’t handle large enterprise applications and certainly cannot work for remote access to the server or secure remote access to the cloud.
A Secure Network as Service provider that specializes in securing access to cloud computing, networks, and applications. Because of the Coronavirus, companies may suddenly find themselves in the throes of bring your own device (BYOD) connections so employees can get secure remote access without having to buy a new phone to segregate business and personal use. Of course, companies want to limit purchasing a new laptop or notebook computers for everyone now compelled to work remotely. However, the more BYOD connections, the more a company’s sensitive information is exposed to hackers and malware, especially if an employee’s device does not comply with corporate BYOD security policies. You do have a secure connection policy in place, don’t you?
Hackers often exploit vulnerabilities, or security bugs, in mobile applications and unpatched devices and use them to inject malware onto a device. In 2017, WannaCry malware successfully infected and locked up over 200,000 computers in Europe including the entire British Healthcare system. When employees connect with their own laptops, home computers, and smartphones, new opportunities to hack corporate networks to spy and steal money open up to hackers.
In January The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) noted an increase in malware attacks against public and private sector businesses. Emotet malware is used in cyber attacks against state, local, tribal, and territorial governments which because of their budget restrictions are often left vulnerable to malware because they have to rely on contract IT departments. Emotet Malware a top destructive malware and has been known to rack up costs of almost $1 million USD to remediate.
Emotet malware is also circulating in a series of Coronavirus themed phishing campaigns. These malicious emails are disguised with supposed helpful information about the Coronavirus. If the reader opens the email attachment, they launch Emotet malware which can infect their entire corporate network.
While traditional VPNs provide secure remote access, they do have drawbacks including limited client support for BYOD devices and cloud services. There may also be bandwidth restrictions and no global server support for corporate IT resources. These protect employees and developers with Single Sign-On applications that can be used on any Windows, Mac, iPhone, or Android device. This solution can eliminate expensive hardware with a cloud-based infrastructure.
With secure remote access – the application encrypts and protects corporate data by automatically activating VPN protection when employees connect to unknown or untrusted networks. The app secures data and login credentials sent across unsecured WiFi hotspots like those found in coffee shops, hotels, and airports. It can also work for accessing online content or websites blocked by geo-restrictions and government censorship.
The challenge for IT managers is to provide secure connectivity while doing it conveniently.
Note: Not all solutions are in the same league of cyber security protection at VPN apps like Heimdel, Webroot, IPVanish or NordVPN. Applications for secure remote access to cloud computing, networks, and applications are more robust.
Corona Virus Symptoms
Coronavirus virus symptoms are similar to other viruses. Virus Symptoms may vary from mild to severe illness which may appear two to fourteen days after exposure. According to WHO, “Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.“
According to the World Health Organization website, Coronavirus virus symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
People should take precautions to protect themselves – washing your hands regularly and covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing will help stop the spread of germs. Working remotely and staying away from large crowds like those in shopping centers and stadiums is a wise choice. Although some organizations plan to carry out their workday and conduct all conferences as planned, the health and safety of staff, meeting attendees, and the community is a priority.