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5 Main Challenges to Securing Remote Workspaces (And Their Solutions)

Remote work was already a thing to some degree. But the COVID-19 pandemic made it mainstream. And experts predict it’s here to stay.

This means remote workspaces are here to stay. Now, it’s up to the IT managers and administrators to protect this valuable asset.

As one of the leading providers of IT support in Limerick, here we are listing the 5 main challenges IT managers face in securing remote workspaces. We will also explain how to solve each one of them.

1. Unauthorised Access

Remote workspaces are designed to be accessed from anywhere by anyone with the right credentials. This design increases the attack surface (the IT environment’s total exposure).

There’s a high chance of unauthorised access to the workspace, which can leave the entire IT infrastructure vulnerable. In fact, unauthorised access remains the biggest cause of data breaches.

Solution: Strengthen IAM

The best way to counter unauthorised access is through IAM, or Identity and Access Management. It is a framework for controlling who has access to an organisation’s cloud resources and what they can do with them.

At the core, you should follow the Principle of Least Privilege, which dictates that users should only be given the minimum permission required to perform their jobs. This ensures not everyone has the same level of access to the resources.

2. Shadow IT

Remote workers often use personal devices and cloud applications that the IT department may not approve. This is known as Shadow IT and can pose a significant security risk. 52% of businesses state that shadow IT practices act as a major problem in their operations.

Solution: Educate and Offer Solutions

At first instance, remote employees or contractors may not understand how using unapproved devices may pose a risk to the remote workspace. Therefore, the first step is to educate and provide clear guidelines on which devices to use for remote work. Secondly, you need to provide the right solutions. In the case of IBM, it collaborated with Dropbox for file sharing after realising there was no single solution. So, we partnered with Dropbox to create a secure, approved solution for employees, including remote ones.

3. Account Hijacking

Account hijacking, also known as account takeover (ATO), is a major security concern for remote workforces. When a hacker gains unauthorised access to an employee’s account, it can have serious consequences for both the employee and the organisation.

In the worst cases, cloud admins may not even realise the account has been hijacked until significant damage has been done.

Solution: Adopt MFA and Advanced Threat Detection

The most basic option to counter account hijacking is MFA, or multi-factor authentication. MFA adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second verification factor. This significantly reduces the risk of successful hijacking, even if hackers steal a user’s credentials. A study by Microsoft found that MFA can block over 99.9% of automated password attacks.

Also, Advanced Threat Detection (ATD) can be employed to monitor user and system behaviour for deviations from the norm. This can help detect insider threats, zero-day attacks, and other evolving threats.

4. Data Leakage

Data leakage is when workers unintentionally expose critical data to an unintended audience.

For example, workers can unintentionally expose sensitive data through mistakes like sending emails with attachments to the wrong recipients or storing confidential information on unapproved cloud storage services.

A study titled “Psychology of Human Error” found that human error is the leading cause of data breaches at 88%, highlighting the risk of unintentional insider threats.

Solution: Employ DLP or Data Loss Prevention

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) is a suite of technologies and processes aimed at preventing the unauthorised transfer of sensitive data outside an organisation. DLP plays a vital role in protecting sensitive information in cloud workspaces, where data is often distributed and accessed remotely.

5. Compliance

The shift to cloud workspaces presents significant challenges for organisations striving to maintain compliance with various regulations. The use of unauthorised cloud applications by employees creates security vulnerabilities and compliance risks. These tools may not meet regulatory requirements for data security or privacy.

This issue is more pronounced in data-sensitive insurance, such as health and legal insurance.

Solution: Implement Cloud Security Posture Management

In addition to all the security measures mentioned above, you need to adopt CSPM, or Cloud Security Posture Management. A CSPM tool provides continuous monitoring and automated analysis of your cloud environment, identifying security misconfigurations and potential compliance violations.

Safeguard Your Remote Workspace With Us!

In conclusion, securing remote workspaces is an evolving task that requires following best practices and staying vigilant against emerging threats. PAQ IT has proudly delivered proactive IT support in Ireland since 2002. Contact us for a free consultation to fortify your remote operations against cyber risks.


Don’t forget to keep an eye out for our next blog, where we will unveil more common challenges to securing remote workspaces along with their solutions.

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