How Secure Are Your Remote Work Solutions?

Bill Neumann

The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically increased the number of remote workers for many organizations. That increase may have caused one or more problems.

  • The legacy network architecture that routed remote traffic through a central corporate network is now under enormous strain, resulting in poor performance, a loss of productivity, and user dissatisfaction.
  • In the rush to deploy an initial solution, the IT staff may not have had time to properly secure that initial solution.
  • End-user computing solutions that may have been secure when operated from within a corporate network may have become ineffective and insecure when used for remote work.
  • Remote work has allowed user identities to become more easily compromised, corporate data to be less secure, collaboration to be more challenging, and device management nearly impossible when users only sporadically connect to the corporate infrastructure via VPN.

Create Comprehensive Security

In general, organizations should employ a balanced security approach across identity protection, infrastructure protection, and information protection—the three “I’s” of information security. Secure remote work solutions should secure the user’s identity, their computer, corporate data, and the user’s applications.

Connection recommends that remote users employ Azure AD credentials (as opposed to Windows AD or Local accounts) to access their computers and cloud-based applications. This type of account can be used for authentication with Microsoft 365, Azure, and thousands of Web-based applications.

Connection offers a variety of services associated with the use of Azure AD accounts, including setting up new Microsoft 365 tenants, configuring Azure AD Connect to synchronize Windows AD and with Azure AD accounts, federating Azure AD with cloud-based applications, hybrid Exchange migrations that move mailboxes to Exchange Online, and Azure AD multi-factor authentication that better secure user identities. These services all help to ensure appropriate user identity protection.

Connection also recommends that organizations use Microsoft Teams for collaboration since Teams employs Azure AD credentials for authentication, provides users with presence information, leverages Exchange Online features for instant messaging, and uses SharePoint Online for video recordings. These integrated capabilities all employ Microsoft’s highly secure cloud infrastructure and information protection mechanisms.

Securing Devices with Cloud Products

Securing corporate data in a remote work environment can be very challenging when corporate data can reside on and transit through end-user computers that are not under direct corporate control. Connection supports collaborative services engagements for deploying the various Microsoft cloud-based management and protection products that help secure data on endpoint computers, including the following technologies:

  • Microsoft Defender for Endpoint ATP—Prevents, detects, and helps organizations investigate and respond to advanced threats
  • Microsoft Endpoint Manager Conditional Access—Controls the conditions under which users gain access to cloud-based applications
  • Azure Information Protection—Allows organizations and users to discover, classify, and protect documents and emails on end user devices
  • Microsoft Cloud App Security—Offers rich behavioral analytics and anomaly detections that provide malware protection, OAuth app protection, and comprehensive incident investigation and remediation

The Microsoft + Connection Partnership Solution

Connection, in partnership with Microsoft, is ideally positioned to architect, design, deploy, and configure secure remote work solutions. We’ve been building data center solutions for our large customer base for decades in response to infrastructure modernization initiatives. Over the last several years, we’ve been supporting those same customers in their relatively new cloud transformation journeys that more recently include secure remote work solutions.

Microsoft has the products and technologies that mitigate many of these issues. Since Connection is a devices and services company, we can help organizations acquire and deploy those products to create secure remote work solutions—built by Microsoft, but purchased, deployed, and configured in partnership with Connection. Whatever your IT needs, we’d love to have the opportunity to discuss developing a secure work solution for you. For more information about remote work security options, reach out to Connection today!

Bill is a Principal Solutions Architect at Connection, specializing in Microsoft infrastructure and cloud technologies, and information security. He loves to solve tough problems, delight customers, and work with talented clients and colleagues. He’s also an expert bridge player and avid road bicyclist.

One thought on “How Secure Are Your Remote Work Solutions?”

  1. Brook Pierce says:

    Nice work, Bill,
    Very insightful and a few great points that I will impart to my account base. Thanks, Brook Pierce, AM, Keene.

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