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Securing Digital Identities in the Rapid Push to Remote Working

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has introduced us to unprecedented circumstances at home and around the world. We’re managing a shifting situation that’s impacting every area of our employees’ daily life, the way they work, and where they work from. All businesses are exploring avenues available to maintain business operations and for many, remote working is the logical and necessary move.

Our digitally connected world means that many businesses have a work-from-home policy already in place with the required IT and security to support remote working. However, an even larger number of businesses aren’t equipped with the infrastructure, protocol, and security tools needed to handle the rapid, massive remote-working move we’re experiencing today.

In this new reality, without appropriate measures in place to scale remote-working capabilities, businesses face an unparalleled challenge to secure critical systems and data. The risk of not rising to the occasion and making the proper investments can most certainly lead to systems outages, unsecure access, breaches and other disruptions.

Whether inside or outside the organization, establishing trusted connections that protect digital identities is key to corporate security. The people in your business and the devices and applications they use form a large part of your IT ecosystem. These are usually covered by your organization’s on-premises and local network security program.

Remote workers at businesses with traditionally fewer remote staff, though, can introduce new risks and security gaps when connecting for the first time – especially when they use personal devices that haven’t been authenticated, or connect via home Wi-Fi that may be unsecured.

Large-scale, remote working within an enterprise comes with challenges, which is why companies are rapidly investing in Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) to enable them to scale remote capabilities across their global workforce while maintaining the ability to securely authenticate (and drive identity) in internal systems.

Think of a Fortune 2000 company that is quickly transitioning all employees to remote work. The company’s global locations operate with varying resources, and some of those international business units do not have an enterprise PKI in place, nor the resources to stand up a PKI with security and access controls and hardware security modules (HSMs) to protect the certificate authority (CA) private keys. With a traditional on-premises PKI, global business units also face significant issues leveraging an on-premises corporate PKI.

From a technical standpoint, Keyfactor-hosted PKI is an ideal solution. Keyfactor has the ability and expertise to stand up PKI-as-a-Service for the company to leverage certificates in a secure and scalable manner globally – saving time and money.  The company is also able to utilize the best-in-class Keyfactor platform to gain the ability to inventory and manage certificate lifecycle, as well as automate to prevent outages and security breaches.

While managed PKI is the ideal solution, there are baseline best practices your team can apply to help you navigate the transition:

  • Make sure foundational measures like two-factor authentication are in place and active across the employee base.
  • Run a digital certificate audit to validate device authenticity and identify any potential authentication gaps.
  • Check all systems, server and network authorizations. Ultimately, authentication, authorization and encryption are key to securing digital identities and ensures scalability and rapid deployment of PKI for remote authentication that meets your business’s needs. In scrambling to execute your large-scale WFH program, take precautions to ensure you’re not exposing your organization to significant security holes – hackers already work from home.
  • Communicate often and clearly – work with your leadership team to build out guides and tip sheets that communicate your remote-work policies, the security measures the company has in place to protect connections, your employees’ responsibilities, and security best practices.

Today’s circumstances mean it’s not business as usual. But the good news is that digital adoption has provided us with a level of adaptability that didn’t exist a decade ago. Managing the digital identity security risk that comes with digital adoption is paramount for corporate security success.

At Keyfactor, our priority is employee, customer and partner safety – both online and offline.