Channel, Business continuity, Networking, Storage

Six Necessities to Secure and Support a (Post) Pandemic Infrastructure

Even before COVID-19 forced a worldwide exodus from the office, remote work was on the rise. Now that many businesses and employees have embraced their new freedom, a majority want to continue out-of-office work at least partially. As Work From Home (WFH) was realized almost immediately, the boundaries grew to include Work from Anywhere (WFA) quite quickly. While there are benefits for both employee and employer, limitless perimeters require much more from Managed Service Providers (MSPs).

As vaccine distribution ramps up, and COVID variants circulate, nothing is for sure…except remote work. Keep customer’s protected no matter where employees work with a solid infrastructure that accounts for our evolving workplace. While some employees move to Hawaii, and others stay at home, even more will drift from in-office, to coffee shop, to home, and everywhere in between. Guarantee business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) for all endpoints with the right foundation.

1. Cybersecurity Playbook

Many MSPs rely on incident response, but that’s not good enough anymore. Incident response is merely an outline of the process for identifying, reporting, and communicating an issue. A cybersecurity playbook, is a comprehensive, company-wide, manual and map for protecting, detecting, communicating, responding, and recovering from incidents varying in criticality.

Related: 5 Critical Pieces of a Good Cybersecurity Playbook >>

In addition to creating a cybersecurity playbook with customers, it must be reviewed regularly – no less than quarterly – to ensure it adequately addresses current needs for all remote environments. Routine updates include an audit of contact and personnel information, unique threats, risks, and processes for recovery, and backup verification. Updates are then communicated throughout the organization, tested, and drilled regularly to guarantee efficiency and effectiveness in real world application.

2. Reentry Procedures

As employees return to the office, full or part-time, there needs to be careful consideration of how best to transition safely. From a COVID-19 standpoint, laptops and other devices, desks, communal areas, face-to-face interactions, etc. should adhere to a standard protocol around use and sanitization. From a security and protection standpoint, remote devices must also follow an approval process before reconnecting to the corporate network.

Stop automatic Wi-Fi connection by changing the onsite password. Only after devices are approved can users receive the new password. If you haven’t done this already, endpoint protection software should be installed on every device. Run a complete scan as part of the clearing process before devices can rejoin the network. Another protection that should already be in place – especially when supporting WFA infrastructures – is multi-factor authentication (MFA). Enable MFA on all corporate access points to build on the layered security approach necessary for WFA infrastructures.

3. VPN Enforcement

In order for your virtual private network (VPN) to establish a secure connection with the remote network, users must utilize it. Sounds simple enough, but how do you enforce usability when employees are working from a remote coffee shop with a poor connection?

Embrace your VPN through culture, standards, and reinforcement. Make it known that employees should only access and share internal files through the secure network. Better yet, rely on a Software-defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) deployment for more granular controls and higher redundancy. Another option to consider is Direct-to-Cloud hardware-free backup and disaster recovery (BDR).  Comprehensive and easy-to-configure, connectivity options include customer VPN, site-to-site VPN, and port forwarding.

4. Data Classification

Data classification best practices need to be established, documented, accessible, and backed up. Onboarding procedures and compliance rules should reinforce processes around sharing and saving corporate-owned documents and intellectual property. Create and implement tracking methods to identify and stop improper usage before wrong-way adoption sets in. Team managers need to regularly underline the importance of data classification and adherence to the standards – regardless of employees’ physical location.

5. Endpoint Backup

Complete backup of all endpoints is required for a work from anywhere infrastructure. Unfortunately, no matter how much training, tracking, reminding, and reinforcing of best practices, VPN requirements, and remote device protection – disasters always happen.

Despite data classification, there’s no guarantee employees aren’t exclusively saving to their laptop. And regardless of anything, devices can be lost, stolen, or broken at any time. The cost of downtime for WFA employees is particularly significant. They wait longer and face more challenges getting or receiving replacement equipment. And when it comes to meeting high service-level agreements, solid and reliable backups are essential for happy customers. Extra points for the ability to self-manage disaster recovery and virtualize any endpoint instantly – which drastically cuts downtime.

6. Cloud-based Services

It can seem overwhelming, but migration to the cloud can be straightforward. Tools that traditionally run on-prem – such as workloads and file servers, document sync, collaboration, email servers, and active directory servers – are available more efficiently and effectively through cloud-based services. Not only do they enable global access for WFA employees, and provide a strong ROI, but they simplify management. Access anywhere solutions improve productivity, connectivity, collaboration, and security.

Done-for-You WFA Infrastructure

Direct-to-Cloud has been a major behind the scenes project for Axcient for years, but we accelerated its release in 2020 to meet this demand. Direct-to-Cloud enables MSPs to provide the remote/WFH/WFA infrastructure customers need now and into the future. This full-features backup, disaster recovery, and business continuity solution protects all critical endpoints and servers without any hardware. Self-managed disaster recovery and virtualization, minutes-long recovery time objective (RTO), Axcient AirGap as a vital last line of defense against ransomware, AutoVerify, simple pricing, and silent-installation gives MSPs simplicity and security.

Schedule a Demo with an Axcient Product Expert to see Direct-to-Cloud in person, get more product details, pricing information, and a personalized tour of critical capabilities.

Guest blog courtesy of Axcient. Read more guest blogs from Axcient here.