4 Common Security Gaps in Network Access Controls
Keeping your business safe has never been more challenging. With growing numbers of access points and short-staffed IT departments, access control in network security is an ever-present challenge.
To help solve security problems, a number of companies, small and large, turn to various software options to help prevent security breaches and other malicious activity. Yet, even with all the tools available, a number of security gaps remain in network access.
Some of the most common issues relate to authentication, user access, and poorly monitored devices. Raising awareness about these gaps proves to be effective in stopping security issues before they start and giving businesses the information they need to choose the best secure remote access solutions.
1. Poor Authentication and Authorization
Authentication is the process of proving one’s identity to access gated entities. For most applications and websites, this involves a user giving a password, but there are other forms of authentication that include:
- Knowledge-based: secret questions
- Possession-based: an artifact like a physical key, codes sent to mobile devices
- Identity based: fingerprint, voice recognition
- Single, Two-factor, Multi-Factor: requesting access through 1, 2 or multiple categories of credentials
While each of these methods provides some level of security, they aren’t always effective at preventing security breaches. One study found that password hygiene security remains a threat as, on average, employees share roughly 6 passwords with coworkers, leaving networks wide open for security issues.
To get the best computer access control and network security, multi-factor authentication (MFA) proves to be the most effective solution.
Why Multi-Factor Authentication Works
With MFA, users must be validated using at least two different methods before gaining access to a network. By centralizing MFA administration and management, network admins can control authentication for thousands of users from a single point.
Some of the methods used are SMS token, soft tokens, and challenge-based tokens. Coupled with a businesses’ previously established authentication schemes, MFA provides extensive access control of network security.
Having centralized authorization gives IT departments more control over who has access to the network, and what they can do. They can decide which users or groups can access and make changes, including what specific permissions they have with granular detail.
Centralized authentication also keeps a detailed audit trail on all remote activity. So, if your business has multiple devices and users across a geographical area, all activity can still be traced and dealt with in a timely manner.
Encrypting data adds an extra layer of protection for user information. Multiple layers of encryption provide even more security. One of the benefits of Netop Remote Control is its use of encryption at seven levels, with up to 256 bits AES.
The Diffie-Hellman Protocol is a common method used in encryption protocol for “two computer users to generate a shared private key with which they can exchange information across a secure channel.” Simply put, this type of encryption makes it nearly impossible for an outside party to break the mathematical code. Having this added layer of security in remote access software greatly supports computer access control and overall network security.
2. Insufficient Access Control in Network Security
Different users have different access profiles. It’s important to be able to define users' rights and functionality to the smallest detail and from one central location. Without proper control over users, huge gaps are left in network security, especially with third party users.
The more devices and users being added to a network, the more challenging it is to ensure that each user has proper access. With quality remote control software, businesses can centrally manage access settings and user rights across their networks rather than configuring each device individually.
Third Party Access
Third party access is especially crucial for businesses that monitor multiple devices, like POS systems or medical devices used in remote patient monitoring. With a consolidated remote access solution, companies have a secure way to give the proper level of third-party access to POS system and other technology like digital signage, kiosks, and mobile devices.
One of the challenges when granting proper access to third parties is how to integrate with other platforms, even with unattended systems. Netop Remote Control integrates seamlessly with Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, Android, and Toshiba 4690.
The more integrated remote access software is, the more secure the system. Rather than trying to operate multiple forms of security software, one solution can handle it all, leaving fewer gaps for security breaches.
VPNs Give Access to Network
Using a VPN can be effective for remotely connecting to a business network, but definitively less secure than remote access software. This can open your business up to vulnerabilities and potential malicious attacks. Using remote access software can act as a replacement for a VPN when accessing sensitive data.
A comprehensive remote access solution also provides full compliance with PCI DSS, GDPR, and HIPAA, so you feel confident that all your systems are running securely. With compliance as a baseline, remote access software, like Netop Remote Control, gives businesses control over who can access what data and resources – and when – without going through a less secure VPN.
While blacklisting certain applications is beneficial to blocking access to known malware, it cannot account for unknown threats that endanger your network or sensitive data. Unfortunately, blacklisting leaves significant security gaps, which can be detrimental in an enterprise software environment.
On the flipside, whitelisting applications not only regulates what network, segment, or device an individual can access, but completely controls computer access to which applications a user can operate. Users will get denied access to programs that have not been specifically whitelisted.
Application whitelisting is especially beneficial when it comes to vendor management. It provides a higher level of security which minimizes occurrences of user error and repercussions that are associated with stolen credentials.
3. Siloed Network Security
Threats to networks are vast. They are designed to attack multiple places, find the gaps, and disguise malicious behavior. Much of this is done by looking at a network’s attack surface as one entity to be compromised. Essentially, the more platforms a business is running, and the more security software they’re implementing, the more gaps there are.
For businesses to effectively operate, it helps to have a more unified strategy. Whether it’s processes, protocols, and policies, or a single security solution, a business can save time, money, and the stress of recovering from security breaches by utilizing a system like Netop Remote Control.
4. Unsecured Remote Access to Devices
Devices are everywhere, from a user’s mobile phone or tablet, to a heart monitor or POS machine. The more devices, the more gaps are open to malicious attacks. But trying to manage all those devices at once takes time that IT departments often don’t have. The more complex the network, the more challenging it is to secure it.
With remote access control for networks and devices, each device can be monitored continuously, and IT departments can easily manage users and groups.
For example, healthcare is turning to remote patient monitoring more often to simplify the patient data recording process and provide faster critical care. Patients need certain access to operate the devices, doctors need access to results, and administrators need access to sensitive patient information. Each requires a different set of permissions but managing those permissions can be a tedious process because the data has to be protected wherever it’s stored, and anytime it’s transmitted.
With remote access software, it’s quick and easy for IT departments to assign specific permissions to each user, or group of users so that devices and networks aren’t compromised
With the ongoing threat of cyber-attacks, remote access solutions are a must-have remote desktop feature to protect network security. Using a solution like Netop Remote Control helps close the gaps caused from using multiple devices, platforms, users, security measures by offering one end-to-end solution. Ready to get started? Get a free trial today!
Sam Heiney is the Product Manager for Netop Remote Control.