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Work-from-home and hybrid work arrangements are here to stay. Hence, remote workforce management that includes Identity and Access Management (IAM) plays a critical role. Prioritizing IAM can strengthen the security posture of your remote workforce by controlling and managing user access to company resources. It can safeguard your organization’s valuable data and assets by reducing the risk of unauthorized access and data breaches. IAM tools also enable centralized user management and simplified administration for quick provisioning and deprovisioning of user accounts.

This blog captures some key discussion points from a webinar conducted by GS Lab | GAVS titled Enable Your Remote Workforce with Secured Identity and Access Management. The panelists Mr. Suhail Ismail – APAC Director from OneLogin, responsible for leading OneLogin’s operations across Asia Pacific and Japan; and Mr. Mrinal Srivastava – Director Cybersecurity at GS Lab | GAVS, shared their insights.

Despite the many advantages of a work-from-home setup, remote workforce management poses challenges such as maintaining effective communication, ensuring productivity and accountability, providing adequate technical support, and fostering team collaboration. Nonetheless, the biggest challenge is data security. Security remains an issue in remote workforce management due to the decentralized nature of remote work, reliance on personal networks and devices, increased exposure to cyber threats and potential data breaches.

Challenges in the Post-Perimeter World

The post-perimeter world presents organizations with numerous cybersecurity and data protection challenges. Securing remote access becomes crucial with the rise of remote work and cloud-based services. Some common security concerns include unauthorized access to cloud apps or hackers targeting weak or breached passwords. Organizations must navigate the complexities of managing user identities, ensuring proper authentication and authorization, and protecting sensitive data across diverse devices and networks.

Privacy concerns are amplified as personal and corporate information traverse multiple endpoints and platforms in an increasingly interconnected and boundary-less environment. Staying compliant with evolving regulations, such as data privacy laws, adds layers of complexity. As the boundaries of the traditional network perimeter blur, organizations must adopt robust security measures, implement strong access controls, and leverage advanced technologies to mitigate these challenges and safeguard their digital assets.

There are also compliance challenges concerning data privacy and security. With data dispersed across multiple devices and networks, ensuring compliance with regulations such as GDPR or CCPA becomes complex. Meeting requirements for data protection, consent management, and breach notification necessitates robust policies, processes, and technologies to mitigate compliance risks. Since workers are dispersed, no audit trail of all login behavior exists, and companies have no simple way to enforce standard controls.

Measures to Secure the Remote Workforce

There are several measures to secure the remote workforce. Here are the most recommended methods:

Provide remote users easy access to on-premise and cloud applications by eliminating passwords using Single Sign On (SSO) – SSO is a valuable approach in the post-perimeter world. SSO enables users to authenticate once and gain seamless access to multiple applications, reducing the need for multiple passwords. By integrating SSO with identity providers, organizations can enhance security, streamline user access management, and improve user experience. This increases productivity, reduces the risk of password-related vulnerabilities, and simplifies the authentication process for remote users.

Implement a smart Multi Factor Authentication (MFA) solution for an added layer of security – In the post-perimeter world, an MFA solution provides an additional layer of security. By combining multiple factors like passwords, biometrics, or token-based verification, MFA verifies the identity of users accessing sensitive systems or data. This mitigates the risks of password-related attacks and unauthorized access. MFA enhances security by adding an extra barrier that hackers must overcome, reducing the likelihood of successful breaches, and protecting critical assets from unauthorized access.

Enable quick onboarding and disabling users to their machines and applications – Streamlining user provisioning and de-provisioning processes ensures efficient access management, reducing the risk of unauthorized access. Automated user lifecycle management tools and robust IAM systems enable organizations to provision and revoke user access within minutes. This enhances security by promptly granting appropriate access to authorized users and revoking access for terminated employees or individuals no longer requiring access, safeguarding sensitive data and systems from potential breaches.

Another important mechanism is to secure applications typically accessed from the internal network –  Network segmentation helps isolate critical applications. In conclusion, start by implementing strong access controls, including role-based user authentication and authorization mechanisms. Employ encryption protocols to protect data in transit and at rest. Regularly update and patch applications to address vulnerabilities. Utilize intrusion detection and prevention systems to detect and mitigate potential threats. Conduct security assessments and penetration testing to identify weaknesses and strengthen defenses. Lastly, educate employees on security best practices to foster a security-conscious culture within the organization.

This blog is a gist of the webinar. You can watch the entire discussion here.

Complex IT landscapes and the increasing sophistication of threats have mandated the inclusion of identity and access management into strategic IT planning. GS Lab | GAVS helps customers craft a compelling roadmap and strategy for the deployment of a robust IAM solution – across the IT ecosystem including the cloud and IoT, in complete alignment with your business imperatives. You can find more information on our IAM offerings here.