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Remote working environments raise new security challenges and how to meet them

The shift to remote work has brought new security challenges to SMBs. Learn what to be aware of and how to keep your business safe and productive with comprehensive solutions from HPE.

By Compute Experts guest blogger Ed Tittel, technology writer/consultant

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Since the onset of the pandemic, work-from-home (WFH) and remote working environments have become the norm, rather than the exception. It’s a significant change for small to midsize businesses (SMBs) to absorb and digest, especially from a security standpoint.

The many challenges that this reshaping of the workplace involves include the need to protect remote users, devices, applications, and data, as well as the networks and communications that connect workers to the services and resources they need. Thus, SMBs find themselves in need of comprehensive, holistic security solutions that address secure operations, data protection and security, and backup/restore. Indeed, SMBs must confront and handle interesting security challenges if they wish to meet business goals and deliver positive, productive end-user experiences.

If the network is secure, operations are easier to secure, too

To begin with, SMBs must secure the networks that support remote access, as well as the end-user devices that support remote work scenarios. Through its Aruba subsidiary, HPE offers Instant On to simplify deployment, management, and maintenance for SMB Wi-Fi access points and switches. In particular, Aruba Instant On offers the following SMB benefits:

  • Easy setup and management for Wi-Fi and wired LAN networks
  • Blazing-fast Wi-Fi, with corner-to-corner coverage to keep users connected and productive
  • Network segregation to separate production business networks from guest or visitor networks
  • Simple, powerful controls for network access though per-use or per-network limits on bandwidth consumption, duration of use, acceptable use policies, and website/application whitelisting and blacklisting capabilities.

The Instant On mobile app also delivers management and security tools for Wi-Fi and local networks. The app brings visibility into network activity, access, and usage, along with a variety of access controls (MAC address filtering, blacklisting, and blocking for known bad actors via predefined, constantly updated access control lists ACLs).

In addition, Instant On also offers automatic software updates, strong authentication, enhanced VPN solutions, and critical alert notifications via the mobile app. That’s how Aruba Instant On equips SMBs with the tools and technologies they need to implement and operate wireless and wired networks on their premises.

How to make work-from-home secure and productive

Savvy SMBs can find ways to make work-from-home staffers both productive and secure. These include options for remote desktop services (RDS) and virtual desktop infrastructures (VDI).

RDS brings users to physical computers on the in-house SMB network via the Internet. VDI hooks user devices to virtual computers on the in-house network or in the cloud. RDS makes sense when users have a “work computer” on the company network, and make a remote connection to that computer.

VDI is more flexible and powerful: It lets users put one or more virtual PCs to work whenever they need them. They can turn them on and run them on demand, then turn them off when they’re done, without tying up a physical PC.

VDI and RDS both let remote users run programs, access data and resources, and get things done using mobile devices (or their own PCs). That said, VDI lets users scale up and scale down the remote resources, capabilities, and applications at their disposal. Thus, VDI supports business continuity to keep employees productive through disruptions (by accessing cloud-based resources when on-premises resources are out of commission) whereas RDS does not.

HPE Small Business Solutions for Remote Workers run in two different VDI implementations. SMBs can choose between Teradici VDI or VMware Horizon VDI offerings. Both work with HPE ProLiant Gen10 servers for powerful, flexible remote access to virtual desktops preconfigured with applications and data users need. HPE delivers the services and technologies needed to handle dynamic applications, control costs, and provide fast, capable storage solutions. Small businesses can grow their infrastructures to include hybrid cloud options, including solutions built around HPE Cloud Volumes, Microsoft Azure, and so forth.

File backup—and restore—is another key ingredient

Supporting production IT environments, file backup—and file backup security—also plays into establishing security and ensuring SMB peace of mind. Customer data is vital to creating positive user experiences. Consequently, losing or leaking customer data is a huge risk and a potential liability. Finally, secure unimpeachable offline backup is the only sure cure for ransomware.

Employees need secure, controlled backups for files and application data, so SMBs can foil or avoid common attacks. Backups also provide important protections against loss, failure, and downtime. HPE file and data backup solutions provide SMBs with ample backup protection to help save time and money when losses or service interruptions occur.

HPE’s various ProLiant server bundles span a range of costs and capabilities. But all of them centralize file storage and backup. HPE also offers automated data backup storage such as HPE StoreEver tape and HPE RDX removable disk to protect key files and data with air-gapped, offline security to protect key files and data. Beyond those basics, image backups protect client and server operating environments. Customers can even choose a dedicated appliance for file sharing and storage: The HPE StoreEasy network attached storage (NAS) portfolio provides cost-effective file and backup solutions.

For maximum security, HPE builds virus protection into backup solutions and prevents unauthorized access to backup storage to block ransomware encryption and exfiltration attempts. A “zero trust” approach means only authorized users can see or change files under any circumstances.           

Also, HPE file and backup solutions, like HPE StoreEasy, make files, email, and collaboration tools accessible from any device. Thus, employees can share and collaborate easily, and switch among devices (desktop, laptop, smartphone). A NAS appliance manages user and application network-based access to file shares, and automatically regulates visibility of sensitive data. This helps boost productivity and profitability, and provides protection against damage or loss. HPE is ready to supply the files and data SMBs need to keep working, and the systems and services that consume them.

Give HPE’s SMB security offerings a once-over today. Check out Aruba’s Instant On wired and wireless portfolio, learn more about HPE WFH productivity options, visit the HPE File Backup Storage Solutions for Business page, or download the full tech brief.


Ed Tittel.jpgEd is a 30-plus year veteran of the IT industry who writes regularly about cloud computing, networking, security, and Windows topics. Perhaps best known as the creator of the Exam Cram series of certification prep books in the late 1990s, Ed writes and blogs regularly for GoCertify.com, Win10.Guru, ComputerWorld and other sites. 

 


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