The flexible work program and the possibility of working from a distance (work from home) have become the common element in most work contracts for office activities. Including in Romania, more and more companies allow employees to work remotely, attracted by the productivity gains obtained in the labor force, but also by the related economies. The distance creates problems, however, and without the right technology, the efficiency of teamwork decreases, and the security risks increase. To eliminate these challenges, Datanet proposes a unitary approach by using a platform dedicated to collaborative work, together with security solutions tailored to the needs of mobile workers.
99% of employees want to work remotely because they desire:
- a more flexible program (40%);
- to be able to work from anywhere (30%);
- to spend more time with their family (14%). (1)
Employers also gain from remote work – “remote” employees are more efficient and responsible, their evaluation is done strictly based on the results obtained and not the time spent at the office. In addition, being more satisfied with working conditions also means less staff turnover. That is, reducing the costs that companies have with recruiting and training new employees. Last but not least, fewer employees in the office mean fewer expenses for space, electricity consumption, Internet connections, medical leave, etc.
The “remote work” model is also beginning to be appreciated in Romania – 90% of local employers claim that working from a distance ensures consistent savings, while 80% appreciate that “work from home”/ remote employees are more productive. (2)
The challenges of “work from home” systems
But “remote work” comes with two major challenges. The first challenge is teamwork efficiency – when employees are no longer in the same space, the collaboration between them is affected. And the “home user” solutions do not completely cover their real needs and do not meet the business environment standards. The second challenge is security. Accessing data from an organization’s network and sharing information between members of a team outside of perimeter protection systems increase the attack surface.
Webex, complete set for collaborative work
The solution that Datanet Systems makes available to companies that want to capitalize on the opportunities of remote work is based on the Webex collaborative work platform and Cisco security applications dedicated to mobile employees.
With the help of the two components – Teams and Meetings -, Webex completely covers the requirements of remote work. With Teams you can quickly create dedicated virtual workspaces where team members can communicate and exchange information in real-time. The workspaces are not only accessible to employees, but also to participants outside the company – freelancers, external consultants, suppliers, etc. -, Cisco simplifying both the procedure of launching invitations and planning of meetings. Teams include all the tools needed to facilitate teamwork: instant messaging, file sharing, screen sharing, and a whiteboard (where multiple participants can intervene and make real-time changes to a file).
Meetings complement Cisco’s offer, allowing you to quickly and easily conduct virtual meetings where participants can use any type of equipment. Basically, Meetings provides the audio-video conferencing component without the need to purchase dedicated equipment. Cisco’s offer includes a series of dedicated hardware (Webex Room Series) with advanced features (Intelligent Framing, Active Speaker Tracking, Noise suppression etc.), but also a smart “adapter” – Webex Share – that lets you transform any display with HDMI connection in a device capable of supporting video conferencing and wireless file sharing. (You can read HERE a complete presentation of Cisco Webex benefits.)
To provide your employees with a wide range of options, Datanet specialists can help you integrate Webex components with third-party applications such as Google Drive, Box, DropBox, One Drive, Google Calendar, One Note, Outlook Alert, Excel Online and so on.
Although Webex integrates security elements (encryption, DLP functionalities, etc.), Datanet’s approach aims to ensure both end-user and employer protection (“work from home” users) in a complementary way.
Thus, one of the first recommendations of Datanet specialists is Umbrella. The Cisco solution, delivered as a Cloud service, blocks online threats before they compromise end-user equipment. Umbrella filters every DNS request issued by employees – no matter where they are, inside or outside the company – and allows access to the requested domain only if it does not present a security risk. (The solution uses intelligent analysis mechanisms and a database of over 7 million compromised domains updated daily.) Umbrella also identifies and reports cases where compromised domains have already been accessed, helping administrators promptly intervene to minimize risks. (You can read HERE more details about how Umbrella works.)
To extend the coverage, Datanet also recommends, in addition to the Umbrella solution, the use of Advanced Malware Protection for Endpoints.
The Cisco solution is one of the best performing security applications on the market today, with an efficiency of over 95% in detecting and blocking threats (according to NSS Labs tests). AMP for Endpoints integrates several advanced features for threat identification: file behavior analysis, detection of similarities with known malware families, testing in SandBox environments, etc. As in the case of Umbrella, AMP for Endpoints ensures the rapid identification of compromised equipment, as well as the trajectory of potentially risky files within the organization, providing administrators with the information needed to stop the spread of threats. (You can read HERE how AMP for Endpoints works in the case of a Fileless attack and what are the main competitive advantages of the solution.)
Automatic protection measures for “work from home solutions”
To extend protection across the organization, Datanet recommends integrating security solutions – both Cisco and other vendors – into a single architecture, whose core pillar is the Identity Service Engine. With Cisco ISE, you gain complete control over every device that attempts to access your business network, centrally managing authentication and authorization methods, and enforcing access rules. Our specialists can help you create and use flexible authentication and authorization mechanisms adapted to each category of users, based on the information provided by ISE (user identity, its location, the type of equipment used, etc.), to ensure compliance with regulations in force.
Datanet engineers can help you customize the solution so that, when a deviation from the established rules occurs, an automated action occurs. For example, if ISE detects that the security applications installed on a device are not updated, it can automatically block its access to the network until the situation is resolved. Or, if AMP for Endpoints identifies infected equipment, ISE can be “trained” to automatically place that user in a quarantine zone. (You can find HERE more information on how Datanet can help you increase the level of automation of security measures within your organization.)
The integrator – the final link
The security architecture presented provides you with extended protection of your remote employees and safe use of the Webex platform. However, to achieve this you need a system integrator with multi-disciplinary skills, and Datanet is the first recommendation in this regard, being Cisco’s main partner in Romania, with the largest team of certified specialists, and already having several projects implemented, both in the field of security and also collaborative solutions.
If you would like to find out, in practical terms, how you can increase the efficiency of your remote employees, under guaranteed security conditions, contact us.
1 – „State Of Remote Work 2019“ study – Buffer
2 – „The Workspace Revolution“ study – IWG, 2018