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Securing Remote Network Access for Business Continuity in Times Of Crisis: A Guide

As the pandemic continued to gather pace, businesses around the world were forced to provide remote access to all their employees, in most cases, for the first time. This access was being granted under pressure keeping to tight time constraints. Keeping up to challenging deadlines with risks and concerns playing on one’s mind, mistakes and misconfigurations are inevitable which gave free reign to threat actors globally. In one four-month period (January to April) some 907,000 spam messages, 737 incidents related to malware and 48,000 malicious URLs – all related to COVID-19 – were detected (Interpol). 90% of businesses surveyed by Tanium claimed to have experienced an increase in cyberattacks due to the pandemic. At the same time, a greater number of the respondents, 93%, said they had to delay key security projects in order to work on the transition to remote work forced by the pandemic (Security Boulevard).

At the same time, with network under growing strain from increased traffic and surges in demand, the potential for outages has also increased. In this and other crisis scenarios from tropical storms to natural disasters, businesses pay a higher premium than ever to secure remote access and showcase network resilience. Business continuity has never been more vital.

The Battle Plan

For every organization emerging from the pandemic, business continuity is likely to be a key concern and the need for network resilience has risen in line with this. The start realisation that when disruption occurs, companies need to be prepared has never been more pronounced. They need a plan that enables them to recover quickly. The current crisis may have focused minds within networking teams and senior leadership to carry out risk analysis and put measures in place to reduce those risks. But what is clearly required is a new approach that goes beyond simply adding redundancy or even improving uptime to add a layer of intelligence – effectively a resilience quotient to the network’s plan B.

For organizations that need to ensure they don’t square back to their present state, network resilience is key. Network resilience is the ability to withstand and recover from a disruption of service. One way of measuring it is how quickly the business can get up and running again at normal capacity following an outage.

True network resilience is not just about providing resilience to a single piece of equipment whether that be a router or a switch, it is a solution that allows businesses to plug into their critical assets at any given point in time, from any given location. Access to critical assets and data enables a system reboot to be quickly carried out remotely.

Alternative Arrangements

If remote reboot does not work, a business is required to have a strong back-up. A solution that enables them to quickly get back to “business-as-usual” from a remote site. There are many ways for your business to create backups of important data, and you should use multiple methods to ensure your files are always available when needed. Therefore, your business needs a backup solution that provides maximum ease of use and compatibility across all the mediums and platforms that you need and use.

Why Prevention Is Better than Cure

Businesses the world over have become increasingly aware of the critical nature of time. When crisis strikes, or a network outage occurs, the damage is cumulative. Businesses need to proactively plan and ensure that they are putting in place network resilience as a preventive rather than a reactive strategy. The issue thus far was not fully considered upfront with organisations often deferring discussions around network resilience based on the optimistic hope that a network outage never happens to them, however, the recent pandemic has put priorities in perspective. In fact, network resilience should be built into the network from the outset.

Networks are the ‘backbone’ to almost every organization’s operations, and many businesses will benefit from bringing network resilience into the heart of their approach from the outset.

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