Trends in Technology

Cellular Connectivity at the Forefront of Network Security

March 12, 2021 by Bamboo Duck

From large corporations to small, local businesses, COVID-19 is creating a new global workforce paradigm. For the foreseeable future, working from home is central to “the new normal”. As expected, people have express reluctance to return to public transit and crowded workspaces. Accordingly, Gartner suggests that 41 percent of employees are likely to continue working remotely post-pandemic. Yet, while it now seems obvious that the remote work model will last for an extended period, many companies remain in a reactive mode. They have largely focused on setting up employees with devices and giving access to corporate networks as quickly as possible. Though there has been less attention on anything else, priorities have shifted months later to consider network security.

The threats that companies face increase with the number of people working remotely. Indeed, these threats get compounded by the race to get people online. The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) receives 4,000 cybersecurity complaints a day, four times its pre-COVID pace. This in turn, pressures IT, security teams, and leadership to maintain organizational cybersecurity.

How can organizations protect their proprietary data and confidential communications in the face of aggressive cyberattacks against an expanded remote workforce?

Upgrading Network Security for the Distributed Workforce

The sheer volume and sophistication of threats towards remote access is a concern for workers. This is due to reliance on connections that lack advanced security found in corporate and office settings. However, this does not mean IT professionals cannot offer better security remote workers.

Cellular connectivity options bring several security advantages to the distributed workforce. This includes much-needed support for IT teams to manage network capacity and uptime challenges. Corporate IT provisions and manages cellular routers and extenders deliver the connectivity. This comes complete with encryption, firewall, VPN capabilities, and a variety of security protocols. The result is a critical layer of security that enables employees to continue business  while reducing security risks for themselves, their colleagues, and the organization.

As you make decisions about secure cellular technology, consider the following:

Home Wi-Fi routers won’t suffice

The consumer-grade security features of home Wi-Fi routers are simply not strong enough to protect corporate assets. By contrast, commercial-grade cellular routers and extenders help IT expand and enforce critical security policies to the edge of the corporate network.

Virtual Private Networks (VPN) are only the first step

The first stages of the COVID-19 pandemic drove many organizations to deploy or expand their VPN. VPN tunnels with multiple options, such as IPsec and OpenVPN, are the standard secure connectivity option for most organizations. They typically providing remote access to centralized resources. However, local internet browsing still uses a local connection, creating risky scenarios for remote employees. Encrypted VPN tunnels run between remote work environments and the corporate network with cellular routers or extenders. This provides greater security as well as remote configuration and administration.

Location matters – when it comes to connectivity

Cellular extenders enable employees from varying locations to isolate the best signal reception in their work environment. Then, a single secure cable runs back to their home office.

Centralized security management

This factor is critical for any distributed enterprise environment. IT teams must be able to monitor and remediate any unauthorized configuration changes or device resets. They must also track data consumption and device performance. A single-pane-of-glass view to monitor and access remote devices is essential. The ability to open or close the network or perform updates to security protocols and firmware must be part of a future-proof security plan. Cellular connectivity includes these centralized management capabilities.

Those looking into cellular technology to improve their workforce security aim to ensure quick deployment, central management and pre-loaded security configuration. This helps limit  network access and improves content filtering and blocking to provide protection against malware, viruses, and ransomware. Additionally, secure VPN tunnels from the edge router back to the corporate data center provide end-to-end data encryption.

The Future of the Workforce is Here

We don’t know when this remote work season will draw to a close, but we cannot sit passively and wait for it all to end. We must start planning now for the post-pandemic era. That means getting ahead of the curve by ensuring that employees are protected when working from home. Moreover, businesses must try and place measures to protect both their self-interests and their employees.

The COVID-19 situation represents an ideal (albeit, unwanted) test of future work environments, preparing us to face an expanded distributed workforce. Embedding cellular technology in a business continuity plan allows organizations to scale the network as needed. Additionally, it offers security for those outside the corporate walls, and ensures IT teams can more easily monitor and effectively resolve any potential issues. The workforce of tomorrow will see remote work security and cellular connectivity go hand-in-hand.

Revamping Network Security with Cellular Connectivity

This threat to remote working must be taken seriously by companies. By and large, they are doing a good job of ensuring their business operations are protected. Cellular connectivity will bring its advantages to businesses looking to maximize use of their network security features. This technology ensures greater protection for the business and allows IT teams greater freedom to protect the business’s main operations.

It is now or never for businesses as we step into the post-pandemic era, and remote working seems to be around for a long time. Therefore, businesses need to take the right steps to ensure that they continue delivering superior services to their customer while protecting their best interests.

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