Tech Support’s Dirty Little Secret

November 07, 2014//Ellen Neveux

Last Updated: November 17, 2020

This article was written 11 years ago and still holds true. Here, you can read about our analysis of remote access for enterprises. We paint a picture of the security climate of the time and predict remote access will continue to be vulnerability if the approach is not holistic.

Security violations a growing problem for enterprises
AUSTIN (TX) – (August 1, 2003) SecureLink, the leading provider of secure networks for remote support. Announced today that a recent study showed that security violations are a growing problem for enterprise software companies that offer advanced technical support to their customers.

“Imagine the challenge of a critical business application malfunction when your service engineer has no visibility into the system,” said Jeff Swearingen, CEO and co-founder of SecureLink. “If fixing the problem requires flying a technician across the country or waiting for the customer’s security staff to approve remote access options, customers and their vendors can be forced to make bad decisions.”

SecureLink collected data from more than 100 enterprise software companies. In the study, technical support managers confessed that their customers are:

  • Modifying firewalls to create access “holes”
  • Giving inappropriate access to a VPN account or PC
  • Authorizing remote access that lacks any audit trail
  • Using dial-in modems that enable anytime access

Technology vendors are often forced to choose between customer security and getting the job done
“Providing service and support for complex technology products often involves choosing between security and effectiveness,” continued Swearingen. “While asking the customer to email a log-file is very secure, it rarely diagnoses or fixes the problem. At the same time, offering the vendor access to the customer’s network via a VPN account, screen-sharing or a hole in a firewall is very effective, but highly insecure.

The data from this survey was collected via telephone interviews with 100 US-based enterprise software companies with annual revenues in excess of $25,000,000. The results were tabulated between September 2003 and March 2004.

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