Secure Remote Access

What Is Secure Remote Access?

Secure Remote Access is a catch-all term for the security technologies, processes, policies, and solutions intended to protect business assets from remote access by unauthorized parties. Beginning with virtual private networks (VPNs), Secure Remote Access solutions have been around for quite some time. They’ve unsurprisingly evolved a great deal over the years.

Yet for all that Secure Remote Access has changed, its core purpose remains the same—ensuring that only authorized parties can access your organization’s network, data, and resources.

Benefits of Secure Remote Access

The benefits of a strategic and comprehensive approach to Secure Remote Access include the following: 

  • Supporting remote work and hybrid work initiatives by allowing users to securely access the resources and systems they need to do their jobs from anywhere
  • Improved security awareness and mindfulness through training, education, and clear access policies
  • Enabling perimeter-less security focused more on endpoint protection than network protection
  • Secure web access from anywhere, including locations that only offer public Wi-Fi
  • Reduced likelihood of a malware or ransomware infection through containerization 
  • Greater, more centralized control over sensitive assets

How Secure Remote Access Works

Since Secure Remote Access refers more to an approach than any individual processes or technologies, each organization may have its own unique set of solutions. With that in mind, there’s no definitive right answer when defining how Secure Remote Access functions. Instead, here are the core pillars of Secure Remote Access.
No approach to remote access is complete without monitoring, managing, and protecting an organization’s endpoints. This is typically best achieved through an Endpoint Protection Platform (EPP) deployment.

2. Access Control and Least Privilege

Only authorized users and devices should be capable of accessing anything within your organization’s ecosystem. Any connection attempts from unauthorized devices should be immediately rejected.

3. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Provides additional identity validation and an extra layer of protection if a user account is compromised. Ideally, an organization should combine multifactor authentication with Single Sign-On (SSO) for optimal ease of use.

4. Visibility

You can’t secure an ecosystem if you’re in the dark about what goes on there. You need a means of monitoring, logging, and analyzing all traffic and activity on your endpoints. Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) is an excellent starting point, particularly enabled by an Extended Detection and Response (XDR) platform. 

5. Education

The greatest threat to an organization’s security will always be its users. Encouraging knowledge, awareness, and mindfulness together is crucial for effective, Secure Remote Access. 

6. Policy and Process

This includes acceptable use policies, authentication processes, regulatory compliance, and other relevant frameworks and standards to which you must adhere. It is not enough to mandate policies, however—you must also be able to enforce them effectively. 

Types of Secure Remote Access

Many different solutions and technologies are designed to enable Secure Remote Access. Below, we’ve compiled several of the most prominent, both new and old. 

VPNs are the oldest and best-known type of Secure Remote Access tool. However, they’re also starting to show their age. How VPN technology works is relatively straightforward—it establishes a secure encrypted tunnel through which a user’s device can gain access to an organization’s network. 

This technology was never intended to support the current scope of distributed work, and a VPN may struggle with performance issues at scale. VPN technology can also represent a security risk in and of itself, as any device connecting to a network through a VPN is automatically treated as trusted.  

Network Access Control (NAC)

Network Access Control is a more centralized approach to Secure Remote Access, comprising endpoint security tools, network security policies, and authentication.

Privileged Access Management (PAM)

PAM tools allow an organization to control, monitor, and maintain accounts with elevated permissions. In most cases, PAM operates on the principle of least privilege. PAM solutions are also widely regarded as falling into the broader scope of Identity and Access Management (IAM). 
A framework of technologies, processes, and policies intended to secure, manage, and monitor users rather than devices. Each user and their devices are treated as a single entity, making it quite simple to ensure everyone has access only to what they need.
In broad strokes, ZTNA represents a complete 180 away from traditional network security. Rather than treating certain users and devices as implicitly trustworthy, ZTNA requires continuous authentication from all clients connected to the network. Multiple ZTNA platforms on the market are designed to support this approach, providing seamless and secure connectivity to even the most sensitive applications and resources. 

What Method of Remote Access is Most Secure?

Generally speaking, ZTNA supported by endpoint security and IAM represents the most comprehensive, practical approach to Secure Remote Access. Continuous verification supported by MFA helps ensure that no unauthorized users can gain access to the network, while automated security monitoring tools continually scan for suspicious activity. In short, not only will criminals find it difficult to gain access to any sensitive apps or data, but once they gain that access, there will be little they can do without tripping an alarm.
If you’re looking for an efficient, effective way to enable Secure Remote Access for your organization, AI-empowered ZTNA solution CylanceGATEWAY is the perfect starting point. It seamlessly establishes secure connectivity to business applications regardless of device, enabling businesses to provide scalable outbound-only access to internal resources. Combined with CylancePROTECT® EPPCylanceOPTICS® EDR, and User Entity and Behavior Analysis (UEBA) product CylancePERSONA, CylanceGATEWAY provides your organization with everything it needs to keep employees connected, protected, and productive—whether they’re on the road, in the office, or working from home.