While the choice of remote working is on the rise in South Africa, others have been forced to work from home (WFH) as part of a collective movement to flatten the COVID-19 curve. COVID-19 has spread around the globe and has caused the closure of many offices and businesses in a joint effort to stop the transmission. This has left many employees without any other option but to work from home. This poses additional challenges for IT administrators who manage productivity obstacles and resolve security concerns and, in addition, for end users trying to meet their deadlines.
Tips for IT Administrators to remain at the frontline of IT Management:
1. Endpoint Management & Remote working
Remote working poses challenges for IT administrators as they still need to enforce security and productivity even though endpoints such as laptops and mobile devices are now scattered at different geo locations. There is now more of a need for mass deployment, patching and software installations such as antivirus.
Using unified endpoint management solutions like Desktop Central, IT administrators can monitor user logon data by obtaining comprehensive user reports like logon based reports and computers with no user logon. They can also meter the usage of various applications in network devices. This data provides the number of hours employees used commercial applications for remote work, enabling IT administrators to determine user efficiency, secure devices, and manage servers and various devices from a central location. Essential applications like antivirus software can be deployed to all remote devices even though they’re outside the corporate network.
2. Network Monitoring & Remote working
As employees begin working from home, they will become reliant on applications and software to perform their duties. If an organization’s network is breached and its critical online systems fall into the wrong hands, then it could bring the entire business to a standstill.
Solution: Vigilant network monitoring is key. Tighten up your event response systems to effectively spot indicators of compromise. OpManager Plus provides real-time monitoring of the status, availability, health, and performance of all network devices for both physical and virtual servers through various protocols.
3. Firewall Security & Remote Working
For effective remote working, it’s imperative to employ VPN connections, as they serve as a conduit for workers to access business-critical data remotely. But when valuable VPN bandwidth is consumed by trivial activities, business-critical applications can run on only meager bandwidth, which translates to lost productivity. To ensure uninterrupted remote working, organizations must be able to gauge VPN bandwidth consumption.
ManageEngine’s Firewall Analyzer helps network administrators gain complete visibility over their VPN traffic and firewall logs. With these reports, network administrators can easily plan an efficient VPN infrastructure that provides the ideal platform for remote employees to work without any hassle. A well-planned VPN infrastructure enables your company to retain its productivity and gain a competitive edge in this volatile marketplace.
4. Privileged Access Management & Remote Working
How can employees securely log in to their accounts while working remotely? There are more end users that are getting locked out of their account while remote working.
Enable your employees to reset their passwords remotely. Let employees unlock their accounts by themselves without having to rely on the help desk. In addition to this, implement strong two-factor authentication methods such as email verification, push notifications, or Google Authenticator to secure employee logins. ManageEngine’s AD360 will help you achieve this.
5. SIEM & Remote Working
Monitoring VPN access – VPN logins be monitored, irrespective of the device type ( Cisco ASA, Sonicwall, Sophos and more )
Audit native tools – Tools built into the system ( like PowerShell, LDAP ) are increasingly being used for malicious purposes.
Privilege escalation – Any signs of privilege abuse, like administrative actions on Active Directory objects, access to critical files, anomalous user behavior and more.
Internal and external threats – Threats can come from inside your network, or outside the perimeter, and we need to be ready.
Hybrid cloud Auditing – With increasing dependency on the cloud, it is important to monitor both the worlds ( on-prem and cloud ) , and correlate data to detect threats.
ManageEngine’s Log360 will allow you to achieve the following:
- Dive deeper into VPN monitoring
- Equip yourself with threat intelligence
- Keep an eye on remote employee productivity
- Use event log correlation to identify vulnerabilities
- Predict ransomware on the network in real time
- Assess what end users are bringing into the network
Tips for end users to support IT Administrators while working remotely:
Before taking any personal measures to ensure your personal online security, it is important to find out whether your employer has already put any protocols in place during this period. If not, take note of the following tips below to help you stay safe online:
- If you are expected to use your own devices (BYOD) during this time such as personal laptops and mobile devices, get these devices vetted from a security standpoint.
- Try and avoid unsecured public Wi-Fi connections. Public connections are often unsecured and susceptible to hackers and vulnerabilities. Avoid free Wi-Fi connections and rather set yourself up with a mobile router.
- Use a two-factor authentication system. This ensures that you are the only one who can fully access your data.
- Backing up data regularly will ensure that retrieval is easy. Moreover, losing data won’t be easy when it’s stored safely in the cloud.
- Other than these, being vigilant is also key, avoid shady websites or clicking on pop-up ads or strange emails. These may be laced with all sorts of malicious spyware.
As an IT administrator and end user, the new way of WFH will bring about a lot of changes and obstacles during this time. These tips can be used to stay proactive and prevent catastrophic cyberattacks which could compromise your company and your own safety. The key is to have awareness and share these tips with colleagues, family and friends. Let us stay alert, in the know and do everything we can as IT administrators and end users to strengthen our cybersecurity.