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Remote work is the new normal for countless businesses today, and secure remote access is a critical component of a robust cybersecurity strategy. Secure remote access allows your hybrid or remote workforce to work from anywhere, at any time, on any device without compromising the security of your organization's data and systems.
Here, we discuss what secure remote access is, why it’s a benefit to businesses and consumers alike, how to achieve it, and more.
What Is Secure Remote Access?
Secure remote access is a mix of security strategies designed to prevent unauthorized access to an organization’s network and digital assets and to prevent the loss of sensitive data. Each business’s approach to secure remote access is unique, but most involve a combination of security policies, solutions, processes, or strategies that, together, reduce your attack surface and prevent bad actors from gaining access to your network.
Good to Know: Secure remote access should not be confused with remote control or a remote desktop. These are separate concepts entirely.
Benefits of Secure Remote Access
With the right security measures in place, there are myriad benefits to remote access. Here are just a few:
Increased Protection From Cyber Threats
According to Business.com, “A secure remote access system protects your employees from web-based threats such as phishing attacks, ransomware and malware while they’re logged in to your company’s network. These cyber incidents can lead to unauthorized access and use of both the company’s business data and the employee’s personal data.”
When you have a secure remote access framework in place, you’re helping to protect your business, your employees, third-party vendors, and your customers. Everyone wins.
Cost Savings For Companies and Employees
A report from Global Workplace Analytics (GWA) shows that nearly 60% of employers identify cost savings as a significant benefit to remote work. According to GWA President Kate Lister, “a typical employer can save about $11,000/year for every person who works remotely half of the time. Employees can save between $2,500 and $4,000 a year (working remotely half the time) and even more if they are able to move to a less expensive area and work remotely full time.”
For employees, remote work is having a major moment. Research from Zippia indicates that “94% of employees report feeling like their work productivity is the same or higher than before they worked remotely.” Additionally, “when employees are able to work from home, their performance increases by at least 22%.”
Improved Work-Life Balance and Increased Flexibility for Employees
Remote work is here to stay. According to PwC’s US Remote Work Survey (2021), “Over half of employees (55%) would prefer to be remote at least three days a week once pandemic concerns recede.”
Remote work affords employees the option to skip their commute to and from the office, and they’re seeing improved mental health and lower stress levels as a result. And for working parents, the flexibility of remote work can make managing parental duties easier.
According to the Zippia report mentioned above, “75% of employees believe they have a better work-life balance working remotely.”
Secure remote access allows employees who want to remain remote — in whole or in part — to conduct their work safely.
What Are Some Examples of Secure Remote Access Solutions?
You can achieve secure remote access by layering on additional security, authentication, and access methodologies over the core virtual private networking (VPN) technology. These can include but are not limited to the following solutions:
- Zero trust architecture (ZTA).
- Multi-factor authentication (MFA) or Two-Factor Authentication (2FA).
- Endpoint protection.
MFA is a must in today’s digital environment. Read all about it here.
And contrary to popular belief, VPNs and zero trust network access (ZTNA) are not mutually exclusive. Secure remote access is achievable with a business VPN that also has a zero trust architecture in place. And, according to The New Stack, “While not zero trust, per se, using secure remote access with good multifactor authentication is an essential component of a functional zero trust model.”
With Cloud Connexa, secure remote access and ZTNA go hand-in-hand to provide your business additional layers of security, customization, and control.
Recommended Reading: The Best Multi-Factor Authentication Tool is the One Your Business Will Use
Endpoint security is another great addition to your secure access strategy. According to Security Boulevard, “IoT devices make up 30% of all network-connected endpoints, introducing novel attacks and supply chain vulnerabilities that make many companies primary targets for cybercriminals.”
Good to Know: Secure remote access is a cornerstone of both Access Server and Cloud Connexa. Check out our use case here to learn how your business can benefit from an OpenVPN solution.
How to Secure Remote Access
Chances are your employees and vendors are connecting to your network via work and personal devices, including laptops, mobile devices, tablets, and more. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to secure remote access, but here are a few steps to help you get started:
- Conduct a security audit.
- Implement a security policy, including strong password policies.
- Restrict access to only necessary resources (ZTNA).
- Train employees on cybersecurity best practices.
- Use secure remote access solutions like Access Server or Cloud Connexa.
- Monitor and update security measures regularly.
Recommended Reading: A Guide to Going Remote in the Virtual Age
Secure Remote Access Case Studies
Secure remote access is a game changer for remote and hybrid workforces. Below are a few case studies that demonstrate our customers’ successful implementation of secure remote access with OpenVPN solutions.
Case Study: PMG
PMG is a global, independent company that provides omnichannel strategy, media, insights, and creative content production for some of the world’s most iconic brands. The company has been around for more than a decade with a customer portfolio that spans the globe — and their innovation inspires product features developed by the likes of Google and Facebook.
Read our case study on PMG here.
Case Study: Sirius Computer Solutions
Sirius Computer Solutions provides technology-based business solutions that span the enterprise, including the data center. The company focuses on customized solutions to help businesses manage operations while optimizing IT services.
Read our case study on Sirius Computer Solutions here.
Common Challenges With Secure Remote Access
Secure remote access solutions are as varied as the businesses that use them, and that can come with some challenges, including:
- Ensuring that remote devices are secure and properly configured.
- Managing access permissions and user roles.
- Protecting against unauthorized access and data breaches.
When choosing a secure remote access solution, it's important to consider factors like security features, ease of use, compatibility with existing systems, scalability, and cost.
Solutions like Cloud Connexa take all the headache out of secure remote access and offer an industry-leading user experience.
One happy OpenVPN customer, Marc Edwards, offered a ringing endorsement of Cloud Connexa in a recent customer success story: “The combination of simplicity, scalability, and price is unbeatable.”
Another customer, whose company had to make a sudden shift to remote work in early 2020, said, “The pandemic meant we could not come to the office, and we needed to facilitate access to our local resources. As for ease of use, he said Cloud Connexa “was really easy and fast to set up, two things we really needed in that moment.” He added that it “allowed us to set up a system we had not seen before very quickly when otherwise, it would have taken weeks of configuration for a non-cloud VPN.”
Secure remote access doesn’t have to be complicated or convoluted. OpenVPN makes it easy.
According to Rohit Kalbag, VP of Product Marketing & Positioning at OpenVPN, “Secure remote access is essential for safe access of private applications. However, it’s important to understand that secure remote access alone does not necessarily protect against web-based cyber threats. For robust cyber threat protection, we recommend an add-on like Cyber Shield domain filtering which is not typically covered under ‘remote access.’ Alternatively, you could tunnel both private and internet traffic to your corporate network so that all traffic is subject to the same cybersecurity protocols, regardless of whether a user is working remotely or on premises.”
Get Started Today
Get the secure network access you need and the peace of mind you deserve. Take your business to the next level with Cloud Connexa or Access Server. Create an account today for three free connections with Cloud Connexa or two free connections with Access Server.
And to learn even more about secure remote access, be sure to check out our e-book: A Guide to Going Remote in the Virtual Age.