Laptops are now the norm—making your risk of data loss significant even with the best of security intentions. Therefore, it makes sense to periodically review your security measures for remote users, taking steps to ensure that you are doing everything possible to secure your network from your greatest threat—your own users. Here are a few security measures to get you started:
1. Require that all remote users outside your perimeter firewall connect using a virtual private network.
2. Require all employees to use an antivirus solution on their laptop. This policy is easier to implement if you have issued company laptops. You should also maintain a written corporate policy that requires all remote users to verify that they are using AV/AS software on their personal hardware. Many AV vendors offer considerable discounts on software purchased through the employer for the home-user employee. Ask your AV vendor if it offers such a program.
3. Ensure that all laptops are regularly patched and updated. Many companies use patch and remediation software to ensure that their devices are frequently patched. In the long run, managed automation in the deployment of patches is really the best approach so you can carefully test patches before deployment.
4. Require that users change their passwords on a regular basis. We know it’s a tedious task, but it’s one step that will help increase your network’s level of security.
5. Create/maintain a remote-access usage policy and set clear expectations. The remote usage policy should outline patching expectations of personal hardware and specify applications that are off limits when connected to the network.
Jeff Hughes Director of Solutions Marketing Lumension Scottsdale, Ariz.