What Is Secure Remote Access? Risks, Benefits & Solutions

Secure remote access is a method that lets authorized users access a private network as if they were on-premises with that network.

This includes accessing systems, resources, and data the user could access where they logged in on the private system.

While remote access was relatively common in business sectors for the past decade, the onset of COVID and work-from-home situations expanded this kind of technology even further. Now, remote access is used for everyday work, managing remote systems, or performing IT support for end users.

Key components of secure remote access include:

  • Authentication: Users must provide valid credentials through various methods, including usernames and passwords, biometrics, or Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA).
  • Access Control: Administrators can implement access control policies to restrict user access to specific resources, applications, or systems based on their roles and responsibilities.
  • Encryption: Data transmitted between the remote user and the target system is encrypted to ensure confidentiality and prevent unauthorized access. This is often done through protocols like Secure Shell/Transport Security Layer (SSH/TLS) that support strong encryption and tunneling.
  • System Security: Servers, network devices, and endpoint devices must remain secure. Otherwise, they will compromise the integrity of the overall access solution.

What Are the Benefits of Using a Secure Remote Access Solution?

Secure remote access offers several benefits for businesses, organizations, and individuals, including:

  • Security: First and foremost, secure remote access allows users to connect to sensitive systems and data wherever they are. The value of this kind of remote access in a modern, decentralized world cannot be understated.
  • Compliance: Secure remote access can play a major role in compliance efforts. Most frameworks and regulations have some requirements on how users access systems–requirements that include authentication, authorization, and encryption. Secure remote access checks these boxes.
  • Flexibility: Secure remote access allows employees to work more flexibly, accommodating various schedules and time zones. This means more productivity, more variation in where your company can hire, simplified collaboration between remote teams, and reduced office space and equipment costs.
  • Scalability: Secure remote access can quickly scale to accommodate the growth of an organization, particularly its workforce, allowing new users and resources to be added with minimal effort.
  • Centralized Security and Operations: IT administrators can manage remote devices, install updates, and troubleshoot issues remotely and en masse, ensuring that all systems get the same level of attention.

By providing secure access to resources and systems from remote locations, secure remote access offers numerous advantages in terms of productivity, cost savings, flexibility, and security.

What Are the Different Types of Remote Secure Access?

There are several types of remote secure access solutions available to accommodate the varying needs of organizations and individuals. Some popular solutions include:

  • Virtual Private Network (VPN): VPNs are secured and persistent connections (private networks) that can extend to users such that they have full access to secure system resources. These networks work through a combination of technologies, including all those listed previously.
  • Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP): RDP is a proprietary protocol developed by Microsoft that functions like a VPN but allows the user to access a single system rather than an entire network.
  • Secure Shell/Transport Layer Security (SSH/TLS): SSH is a cryptographic network protocol that enables secure remote access through “tunneling.” TLS is the protocol that supersedes SSH.
  • Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI): VDI is a technology that provides remote access to virtual desktops hosted on a centralized server. Users can access their virtual desktops from any device with an internet connection.
  • Remote Support Software: There exist additional tools that IT support services can use by requiring end users to install a client app that can facilitate secure system sharing between the two. These solutions have also become somewhat popular in instances of digital fraud.
  • Cloud-Based Solutions: Cloud-based remote access solutions leverage cloud infrastructure to provide secure remote access. Examples include Amazon Web Services (AWS) WorkSpaces and Google Cloud’s Compute Engine.

Each remote secure access solution has its unique features and uses cases. Organizations should carefully assess their needs and requirements before selecting the appropriate solution to ensure security, scalability, and ease of use.

Are Their Problems Using Secure Remote Access?

Although secure remote access solutions provide numerous benefits, they also introduce some risks and challenges that organizations must address to ensure the security of their networks and data.

Some of the risks associated with secure remote access include:

  • Unauthorized Access: If an attacker gains access to a remote user’s credentials or devices, they may be able to access sensitive resources and systems. Since the solution assumes the user is legitimate, they will have full access to any system the user would have access to.
  • Endpoint Security: Security is only as strong as its weakest link, and in the case of remote access, this is typically user security. An unsecured laptop or mobile device can open up a vulnerability in the network that admins cannot plan for.
  • Insider Threats: Much like endpoint security, insider threats are hard to fight since they are, for all intents and purposes, legitimate users. An insider with remote access can gain control of sensitive resources.
  • Data Leakage: Data transmitted over insecure networks or stored on remote devices can be intercepted, stolen, or manipulated by malicious actors. This can lead to data breaches, loss of intellectual property, and damage to the organization’s reputation.
  • Compliance: Organizations must ensure that their remote access solutions comply with relevant regulations and industry standards, such as GDPR or HIPAA.

Organizations should implement robust security measures to mitigate these risks. One such approach is a zero-trust architecture that can address typical attacks as well as user-based vulnerabilities.

1Kosmos Is Transforming Secure Remote Access

Many organizations will use some combination of MFA and access control to handle secure remote access. 1Kosmos is changing this approach by providing identity-based authentication and access management tied to biometrics and compliant identity verification.

With 1Kosmos, you can secure your remote access system with the following features:

  • Identity-Based Authentication: We push biometrics and authentication into a new “who you are” paradigm. BlockID uses biometrics to identify individuals, not devices, through credential triangulation and identity verification.
  • Cloud-Native Architecture: Flexible and scalable cloud architecture makes it simple to build applications using our standard API and SDK.
  • Identity Proofing: BlockID verifies identity anywhere, anytime and on any device with over 99% accuracy.
  • Privacy by Design: Embedding privacy into the design of our ecosystem is a core principle of 1Kosmos. We protect personally identifiable information in a distributed identity architecture and the encrypted data is only accessible by the user.
  • Private and Permissioned Blockchain: 1Kosmos protects personally identifiable information in a private and permissioned blockchain, encrypts digital identities, and is only accessible by the user. The distributed properties ensure no databases to breach or honeypots for hackers to target.
  • Interoperability: BlockID can readily integrate with existing infrastructure through its 50+ out-of-the-box integrations or via API/SDK.
  • SIM Binding: The BlockID application uses SMS verification, identity proofing, and SIM card authentication to create solid, robust, and secure device authentication from any employee’s phone.

Sign up for our newsletter to learn more about how BlockID can support real security and help mitigate phishing attacks. Also, make sure to read our whitepaper on how to Go Beyond Passwordless Solutions.

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*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Identity & Authentication Blog authored by Javed Shah. Read the original post at: