For most small businesses the ability to work remotely is as critical as their need to keep a tight balance sheet. As teleworking evolved into standard practice, Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Protocol or RDP, became the standard application for small business connectivity. As an included feature in Microsoft’s Windows operating system it was easy to setup, user friendly and free…it was an obvious choice for small businesses.
The only downside to using Remote Desktop Protocol was that it was commonly setup to directly accept connection attempts from the internet which greatly increases your risk of unauthorized access…or “Being hacked.” At the time it was not a major security concern for small organizations as they were not typical targets for a network security breach. Even if a cyber-criminal was aware of your company, had a motive and the means to attack your small business…the amount of effort required to successfully exploit an organization by remote access was not likely worth the time of a professional.
At the time, a more security conscious approach typically deployed the use of Virtual Private Network technology, or VPN, for remote access. While VPN was much more secure than RDP access from the internet, it could require expensive equipment and highly skilled labor to setup and maintain, making it unappealing for most small business owners.
While the need for small business to have cost-effective remote access has not changed…the safety from anonymity has transformed entirely. Over the last few years direct connection exploits of small businesses have become common. The rise of ransomware and successful bitcoin transactions have paved the way as a lucrative business model for cyber-criminals all over the globe. What was once a waste of time for a cyber-criminals is now well worth investigating a company’s website, staff and internet addresses looking for details that help them gain unauthorized access to the company’s data.
So how are small business employees supposed to work remotely while not compromising on security? The good news is that with today’s available technology, VPN is inexpensive, or in some cases, already included with your network firewall. Implementing secure remote access practices has never been easier. If your company is still using remote desktop without VPN please get in touch at your earliest convenience to discuss a technology review.