Secure Remote Access: What It Is and How It Works
When covid-19 burst into our lives, many things changed, including our work environments. Remote work emerged as a temporary solution due to global curfews and lockdowns. Still, shorty remote work proved its effectiveness, and it was adopted by the vast majority of employees and businesses. As of 2022, most businesses consider remote and hybrid arrangements as permanent work models. But, remote and hybrid work arrangements increase the complexity of corporate networks. The more employees work in these settings, the more modern businesses are up against high-security risks. That’s why implementing secure remote access solutions is vital. These solutions help businesses establish integrated network security and mitigate security risks. Before explaining remote access solutions, let’s see in detail what is secure remote access and how it works.
What Is Secure Remote Access?
Secure Remote Access (SRA) is a mix of security solutions and processes to safeguard all corporate assets and prevent all unauthorized access attempts to corporate networks. Additionally, SRA impedes data loss and guards sensitive data. The main purpose of secure remote access is to manage remote access while protecting users, devices, and applications. Secure remote access ensures that only authorized users, devices, or applications can gain access to corporate networks and resources. Generally, businesses can combine multiple security features together to establish remote access. This way, they can enable secure remote access to employees regardless of their locations. Additionally, remote access is crucial for maintaining integrated network security and establishing enhanced data protection.
Some of the most used secure remote access solutions and features are Remote Access VPN, Multi-Factor Authentication (2FA), Identity & Access Management (IAM), Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE). But, remote access isn’t limited by these solutions only, businesses can add or remove security solutions and features according to their needs.
How Secure Remote Access Works?
Whether employees require access to on-premise or cloud resources, SRA solutions first require authentication of their identities, then grant access to the resources and corporate networks in accordance with their access privileges. Additionally, it enables granular visibility and control over the corporate networks.
This way, IT admins can rapidly detect compromised devices, user IDs, or suspicious behaviors and activities. SRA provides enhanced endpoint security for remote users and their devices inside the network perimeter. Now let’s explain the most used secure remote access solutions further.
1- Remote Access VPN
Remote Access VPN is a needed component for establishing secure remote access. Remote Access VPN creates private connections over the internet between corporate resources and users and enables secure remote access. It has a user-end configuration and doesn’t require on-premise infrastructure. It has easy to use, and employees can reach corporate resources using client-VPN software wherever they work.
Additionally, it ensures the anonymity and privacy of users’ online activities and disguises corporate networks from third-party entities. Lastly, it prevents unauthorized users from gaining access to corporate networks and resources.
2- Multi-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Multi-Factor Authentication (2FA) is a security component of secure remote access. Simply, 2FA requires users to give in additional credentials before granting them access to corporate networks and resources. These credentials can be in-app approvals, 2FA verification codes, SMS text messages, etc.
2FA solutions add an extra layer of security and ensure that only authorized users can access corporate networks. So, even if user IDs are compromised, cybercriminals can’t access corporate networks before giving in additional 2FA credentials.
3- Identity & Access Management (IAM)
Identity & Access Management (IAM) refers to the procedures that are used to set access privileges for each user inside the network perimeter. IAM uses authentication tools like 2FA, biometrics, single sign-on (SSO), and verifies users’ identities before they can reach corporate resources.
Additionally, users can only access the resources and data in accordance with their access privileges, nothing more. IAM solutions are indeed critical components for establishing secure remote access.
4- Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA)
Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) is a modern approach to network security. ZTNA embraces the principle of least privilege, and it is based on the idea that “never trust, always verify”. This framework always demands user, device, or application authentication before granting access to networks and resources.
Additionally, all users, devices, and applications have limited access and can’t move laterally or roam inside the corporate networks. ZTNA architecture enables granular visibility and enhanced protection, which is essential for establishing secure remote access.
5- Secure Access Service Edge (SASE)
Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) is a cloud-native architecture that unites security and networking features. It has five core components, and these are SD-WAN as service, Secure Web Gateway (SGW), Firewall as Service (FWaaS), Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB), and Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA). SD-WAN allows employees to directly and securely connect to the corporate resources from any location. Before employees are granted access, ZTNA authenticates their identities. SASE framework can enable secure remote access, integrated network security, and enhanced protection across all corporate assets.
Secure Remote Access – Last Remarks
Nowadays, modern businesses are facing high risks of cyber attacks. The increasing number of remote employees makes corporate networks more complex and challenging to safeguard. For these reasons, establishing secure remote access is vital, and modern businesses can create custom secure remote access solutions according to organizational needs.
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