Ask The Expert: Remote Networking

Ask The Expert: Remote Networking

As remote working becomes more and more prevalent in the post-COVID era, businesses are scrambling to adopt remote working policies and procedures. But what is remote working and why has it become so popular?

Remote working is when an employee works from a location other than the office. This can be done through telecommuting, which is working from home, or through mobile work, which is working from a remote location outside of the office.

The benefits of remote working are numerous, and include increased productivity, decreased absenteeism and increased employee satisfaction. However, remote working also comes with its own set of challenges, chief among them being remote networking.

So, what do you need to know about remote networking to make remote working as efficient as possible for your team?

Time to ask the experts…

What is the key to remote networking from an end-user and IT department perspective?

To work successfully from home, you need the right applications and security in place. This can be done by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to connect to the office network. You can also use devices such as a Cisco Meraki Z3 to make it easier to work from home securely.

If a business can’t find a physical place for their workers to connect to the internet, they can use virtual routers to VPN into the business. This will make sure that the workers are more secure. IT departments need to be in control of the end-user devices. To do this, they can utilise technology such as Cisco Meraki or Juniper driven by Mist AI.

These cloud network solutions allow you to keep track of, change and enforce policies on the computer systems used by your company.

This helps reduce the chances that users will go to websites that might be harmful. It also makes sure that devices are up-to-date and have a good quality of service.

Cisco Meraki also provides a mobile device management (MDM) solution, which gives IT teams more control over corporate devices.

How do you ensure the safety of a network that is accessed by multiple devices from multiple locations?

There are various ways to make sure a network is safe when accessed by multiple devices from different places. When a company gives a laptop to an employee, the company needs to make sure the laptop is ready to use and has been built correctly. This ensures the onus is not on the employee to make sure everything is safe and the organisation can stay in control. An example of this is configuring a VPN on a user’s laptop with Cisco Meraki which requires multiple steps to ensure the authenticity of the device.

Before a user can connect to the company’s Meraki VPN, the administrator must add the user to the ‘Organisation’ on the Meraki portal. For this, a username and password will be generated. Next, the VPN must be configured on the end-user device using these credentials: IP/host address, pre-shared key.

Only users that have been added in by a systems administrator can utilise the VPN. Additionally, for extra protection, Media Access Control (MAC) based RADIUS authentication could be utilised, to only allow devices with the inputted MAC address onto the network.

Managing passwords and logins: what are the key things that employers need to worry about here? What should staff consider?

There are a lot of online facilities. This means that there is a website for almost everything. People can have many different user accounts on different websites. It is impossible to remember all the passwords for all the user accounts.

A password manager is an important tool for business and enterprise users as it allows users to remember just one complex password, which then gives them access to their secure “vault” where all of their other passwords are stored.

User credentials can be very complex. The user just has to copy the information into a field or use a password manager with an auto fill feature.

A good business/enterprise password manager will help businesses control passwords and give them out where needed. Some password managers will even share the password without the user seeing it. This means that if a staff member leaves, you don’t have to go through the pain of resetting a long list of account passwords.

If someone loses a device with password manager installed, the administrator can erase all the passwords for all users and also block the account. Businesses can also set their own policies for passwords on these password managers, for example, requiring a minimum of 12 characters.

It is important to use multi-factor authentication (MFA) whenever possible to keep your data safe. MFA requires more than one type of verification to access a system or account, making it much more difficult for unauthorized users to gain access.

Best services or best methods to implement Remote Networking?

As mentioned, Cisco Meraki and Juniper driven by Mist AI are two leaders in the networking arena. They both provide a good service and should be considered by companies of all sizes. The best methods of remote networking can derive from National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) best practices, which state 5 main controls:

  • firewalls;
  • secure configuration;
  • user access control;
  • malware protection; and
  • security update management.

There is more great information here.

Need help setting up your organisation for remote networking?

Talk to the experts at Infrastar today.  We will be happy to help you set up remote networking for your business. We can also provide you with a free trial of our services so that you can see how we can help you stay connected.

Infrastar is a leading provider of remote networking solutions. We have a wide range of products and services that can help you stay connected no matter where you are.

For more information, please contact us today.