Why implementing remote access for third parties is more important than ever 

May 12, 2020//Jeff Schmelzer

Last Updated: November 19, 2020

A global pandemic creates numerous unexpected challenges to daily life and business operations. For example, many of us had to make the transition from working in an office to working at home. Overcoming the differences in working remotely is something that involves trial and error, but we can always fall back on best practices and ensure we simplify issues to be able to attain victories, no matter how big or small.

To address the elephant in the room, COVID-19 brought the world a host of challenges that we are still learning to overcome while facing new challenges that arise daily (like murder hornets, are you kidding me?). The challenges of working from home and existing in quarantine and shelter-in-place orders have affected everyone differently and have affected businesses and business operations.

A change in where we work has led to an increased need for secure remote access

Similar to many companies trying to function in the era of a pandemic, at SecureLink we have seen new challenges for our prospects and significant challenges in attempting to engage businesses while embracing empathic messaging and achieving revised goals. How do we manage to do that?

First, simplify your value propositions – what is your product and how does it benefit your customers? What changes to business operations does a product intrinsically do where the value has now increased? Why does your product matter during a pandemic? Why do I need the product now?

The fact is that the world of bad actors and hackers don’t quit when a pandemic hits. Some recent reports have even suggested an increase in malware, data breaches, and people selling their credentials on the dark web. And on top of that, much of the workforce has moved from being at an office to working from home (in sweatpants). And that’s just the point: when the world moved to a work from home model the need for secure remote access to mission-critical systems and networks increased as we concurrently saw a significant rise in cyberattacks globally.

How to make using secure remote access for vendors the new normal

Not only has most of the workforce moved to work from home 100% of the time, but many organizations are also unable to maintain the day to day operations through a business as usual attitude as the systems that supported this previously cease to exist or function reliably.  A typical example of what happens when an organization’s world is flipped upside down is this: let’s say Company A previously relied only on allowing access to systems, servers, and networks by a third party or vendor in person. That means that vendors had to travel to perform maintenance and other services while on the premises. With most of the world not allowing anyone into an office building for any business-critical needs, no matter the urgency, it has highlighted the need to include a vendor management system into every organization’s cybersecurity strategy that uses outside vendors or third parties. The need for remote access into systems by third parties and vendors has been greatly highlighted by the switch to working from home once working on-premise ceased being a viable option for everyone. Secure remote access allows the same level of support that’s needed to be accomplished in a safe and secure way while everyone works from home.  

Another challenge that a significant number of businesses are facing is a loss of revenue through the shuttering of office spaces, reductions in workforce and customers, and non-essential shutdowns.  For these organizations, budgets and hiring might be frozen, however, the security of data remains a priority and an essential business need. So, that means that protecting your company’s (and your clients, and your workers) data is of the utmost importance. Don’t make a short term decision to make cutbacks on keeping your data safe when investing in cybersecurity will save your company (and your reputation) in the long run. 

Secure remote access options

Similar to nearly every situation, there isn’t a one size fits all solution to solve this problem, it really depends on what an organization’s goals are and what kind of users need to access what. Some of the options that are being evaluated are a traditional VPN, desktop sharing tools, privileged access management, and vendor privileged access management. VPN and desktop sharing tools are great for internal employees who need to access a server. Privileged access management, or PAM, ensures that the privileged access internal users are given is restricted and isolated. Lastly, vendor privileged access management, or VPAM, is essentially a PAM solution specifically for vendor and third-party users. Vendors will never need the same level of access as an internal employee does, and VPAM ensures that vendor access is granted on a least privileged access model.

Interested in learning more about the different remote access options? Check out our helpful brochure that highlights the most popular options while figuring out which one fits your business’s needs the most.

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