9 Security Tools Your IT Team Needs for Remote Work

9 Security Tools Your IT Team Needs for Remote Work

While a return-to-office (RTO) is making a comeback, one trend is here to stay: the era of hybrid and remote work was not a fleeting moment—it’s the new norm. 

Remote work isn’t just about cutting costs; it’s about offering teams flexibility, tapping into a global pool of talent, and rewriting the rules of what an organization should be. 

Yet, companies often drive this shift without equipping their IT teams to handle the transition securely, leaving them scrambling for solutions.

IT and Security teams need solid tools that keep companies secure—without disrupting smooth team collaboration. 

When working remotely, here are the nine channels your company should be protecting with IT and Security tools.

1. Communication

Ensuring the safety of remote communication channels is crucial in any workplace. Whether it’s email, messaging, or video apps, every channel deserves attention. Your company should be able to effortlessly secure cloud applications like Slack, Teams, and Zoom. 

Failure to do so can bring a host of security issues. For example, after Zoom’s infamous credential hacks of 2020, companies became more conscious of securing their video conferencing tools. 

More recently, Microsoft faced issues after state-backed attackers broke into the company’s email system and accessed the accounts of Microsoft’s leadership team. This same group had made previous attempts to steal credentials from 40 organizations by infiltrating Microsoft Teams chats. 

Communication channels are often used by all employees within a company, and even the most seasoned security professionals can be the victims of social engineering scams. Meanwhile, securing and monitoring these channels can take time away from already busy IT and Security teams. 

Solutions to help

  • Darktrace specializes in artificial intelligence-based cybersecurity, especially when it comes to securing email and cloud applications including Zoom, Slack, and Salesforce.
  • Mandiant is known for its security solutions that protect against advanced threats, including targeted attacks and zero-day exploits.

2. Cloud Document Security

Cloud-based documents are everywhere in remote work environments. Through a simple link, files in Google Workspace, Microsoft OneDrive, and SharePoint can be shared with employees, entire companies, or even the internet at large.  

Often, companies do not realize every single account that has access to a file, especially if users with personal email accounts are involved. 

Confidential company documents may be accessed by vendors or personal accounts that have weaker protections and greater risks of security incidents. 

Take the case of Cisco’s breach in 2022, after an attacker gained control of an employee’s personal Google account where the employee’s company credentials were stored in its browser.

Okta faced a similar incident in 2023 after confirming that a data breach likely came from an employee storing company credentials in a private Google account. 

Okta Security identified that the employee signed in to their personal Google profile on the Chrome browser of their Okta-managed laptop. The service account’s username and password were then stored in the employee’s personal Google account, potentially contributing to the breach.

Companies must proactively protect their sensitive documents before they get overshared and accessed by the wrong people.  

Solutions to help 

  • Nira helps companies protect their cloud-based documents from unauthorized access. The cybersecurity platform provides administrators with complete visibility and control over who has access to company information in applications like Google Workspace, OneDrive, and SharePoint, an employee-facing security portal, and security policy automation for administrators.

3. Access Control and Authentication

Remote work environments often rely on usernames and passwords for authentication, which can be compromised through various means like phishing attacks or brute-force attempts. 

With more than 80% of data breaches stemming from weak, reused, or stolen passwords, taking care of access control and authentication is essential for your organization. 

Verifying identity is critical, leading companies to use single sign-on (SSO) solutions and authentication applications. Employee password managers are another crucial channel that must stay secure. 

We’ve seen what happens when these tools are not used or become compromised. Password management application LastPass was breached twice in 2022, leading to costly cleanups and loss of customer trust. 

Employee training is key when it comes to implementing good password management and strong multi-factor authentication, especially as more threat actors move to bypass MFA through phishing schemes and brute-force attacks. 

Solutions to help 

  • Duo Security provides multi-factor authentication solutions to enhance security by requiring users to provide multiple forms of identification before granting access. 
  • Ping Identity focuses on identity and access management solutions, including single sign-on (SSO), multi-factor authentication, and identity governance.
  • Dashlane is a password manager that helps users generate, store, and manage complex passwords securely. Using “zero-knowledge patented encryption,” all passwords and passkeys are protected. 

4. Code and Development

Remote work increases the risk of code leakage, either unintentionally through insecure communication channels or intentionally by malicious insiders.

Data breaches leading to compromised source code can be hard on a company’s reputation. We saw it multiple times over the past few years as hacking groups like Lapsus$ stole and leaked source code from Samsung, Nvidia, Microsoft, and Qualcomm

A more dangerous scenario is if attackers not only access or steal the source code but also manage to alter it, such as through a software update or other manipulation. 

This type of breach could have dire consequences, potentially allowing attackers to introduce backdoors or malicious code into the company’s products.

Source code repositories, such as GitHub and GitLab, must be secured to prevent unauthorized access and leakage of valuable intellectual property. 

Solutions to help 

  • Snyk focuses on security for developers by providing tools and solutions to find and fix vulnerabilities in open-source libraries and containers during the development process.
  • Mend.io (formerly WhiteSource)provides tools for managing open-source security and license compliance in code repositories. Mend.io integrates with GitHub, GitLab, and other systems to automate vulnerability detection and remediation.

5. Network Security

Network security protects a company’s network infrastructure from misuse and unauthorized access. Traditional network perimeters dissolve in remote work setups, making it challenging to monitor and control network traffic. 

If this critical infrastructure is compromised, it can lead to data breaches, service disruptions, and regulatory violations, negatively impacting an organization’s operations, finances, and reputation.

For instance, Equifax’s major 2017 breach exposed the data of 147 million people after attackers exploited a vulnerability in the company’s network to gain access to sensitive data

Or, Target’s incident in 2013, where threat actors gained access to the company’s network through a third-party vendor. The cost of that breach was said to be $202 million, however, the total continued to rise as settlements were reached for class action lawsuits and other legal proceedings. 

Network security measures include incorporating virtual private networks (VPNs) and deploying firewalls and intrusion detection/prevention systems to monitor traffic entering and leaving the network while detecting and blocking suspicious activity.

Solutions to help

  • Rapid7 provides a range of cybersecurity solutions, including cloud security, vulnerability management, and managed detection and response (MDR). 
  • Fortinet offers various cybersecurity products and services, including firewalls, intrusion prevention systems, and other network security solutions.
  • Imperva specializes in cybersecurity solutions related to data and application security, including web application firewalls, database security, and DDoS protection.

6. Endpoint Security

Companies rely on endpoint security to secure individual devices such as desktops, laptops, smartphones, and tablets that connect to a corporate network. As remote work becomes the new norm, employees are tapping into corporate networks and data from diverse locations and devices.  

IBM reports that research suggests up to 90% of successful cyberattacks and about 70% of successful data breaches originate from endpoint devices. 

One of the most infamous ransomware attacks in history, WannaCry spread rapidly across the world, affecting hundreds of thousands of computers in more than 150 countries. The attack exploited a vulnerability in the Windows operating system, targeting endpoints that had not been patched with the necessary security updates. 

Companies must fortify these endpoints, ensuring employees can securely access company resources without risking security breaches. 

Solutions to help 

  • CrowdStrike is known for its endpoint protection platform that utilizes cloud-based technologies to provide advanced threat intelligence and protection against malware and other cybersecurity threats.
  • Cybereason provides endpoint detection and response (EDR) solutions using AI and behavioral analytics to detect and respond to advanced cyber threats.

7. Training and Compliance

Navigating the landscape of remote work requires employee training and compliance measures. Within this dynamic, companies must stay compliant with data privacy regulations like HIPAA, PCI DSS, and GDPR.

Failure to comply can lead to a host of issues including legal penalties, data breaches, and financial losses. 

For example, in 2015, Anthem Inc. faced scrutiny over its failure to comply with HIPAA requirements for protecting patient data, leading to investigations and regulatory penalties. The incident cost the company nearly $260 million, including a record-breaking $16 million settlement for HIPAA violations alone. 

Employee training is especially important due to the large number of breaches stemming from social engineering and phishing attacks. According to IBM, phishing was the costliest initial attack vector in 2022 with an average cost of $4.91 million per breach. 

Remote employees may be more susceptible to phishing attacks and social engineering tactics due to increased reliance on email and online communication. Attackers often exploit this vulnerability to trick employees into revealing sensitive data or installing malware. 

Multiple breaches have stemmed from threat actors targeting employee credentials including incidents at Twitter and security giant Cisco.

Solutions to help 

  • Datagrail focuses on data privacy management, helping organizations comply with data protection regulations by automating data subject requests and privacy compliance processes.
  • OneTrust is a comprehensive privacy management platform that helps organizations comply with various privacy regulations by providing tools for consent management, assessment automation, and more.
  • Vanta offers automated security and compliance solutions for businesses, helping them streamline the process of meeting industry standards such as SOC 2, ISO, and HIPAA.

8. Cloud Object Storage

For companies working remotely, protecting their cloud object storage services is paramount. You want to make sure all company data is safe and secure in platforms like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure Blob Storage, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

Various companies have dealt with data breaches due to misconfigured AWS S3 buckets, including Twilio, CapitalOne, and Uber

Microsoft has also faced issues with storage services, notably a breach revealed in 2023, which involved the exposure of 38TB of private data through an Azure storage bucket. 

The problem with misconfigured storage buckets goes deeper than simply compromising customer and company information. Even if not a single terabyte of data is stolen, the company will face reputational damage that is not easily regained. 

Solutions to help 

  • Check Point provides cloud security solutions that include tools for securing data stored in cloud object storage services. Check Point CloudGuard offers capabilities for preventing threats, enforcing security policies, and ensuring compliance in cloud environments.
  • Netskope includes tools for securing data stored in cloud object storage services. Netskope Security Cloud offers capabilities for data protection, threat prevention, and compliance in cloud environments.

9. Security Testing and Vulnerability Management

Sometimes, the best way to stop threat actors is to start thinking like them. Security testing and vulnerability management are crucial for companies to protect sensitive data, maintain compliance, and stay ahead of attackers. 

Methods like penetration testing, vulnerability scanning, and bug bounty programs are used to identify and mitigate the vulnerabilities that arise from remote work environments. 

Security researchers routinely uncover new vulnerabilities and potential breaches. In 2021, multiple zero-day vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Exchange Server were discovered and exploited by threat actors. These vulnerabilities were identified through penetration testing and reported to Microsoft by security researchers.

The infamous SolarWinds supply chain attack was discovered through routine security checks; security checks also found hacks affecting Facebook, T-Mobile, and Colonial Pipeline

Conducting regular security testing helps identify and address security weaknesses in remote work environments. This includes testing remote access solutions, collaboration tools, and cloud services to ensure they are configured securely and are not vulnerable to exploitation.

Solutions to help

  • Bugcrowd is a platform that connects organizations with cybersecurity researchers for crowdsourced security testing and bug bounty programs.
  • HackerOne is a vulnerability coordination and bug bounty platform that connects businesses with cybersecurity researchers and penetration testers, enabling organizations to mitigate cyber risks while staying ahead of threats.

Although companies may implement remote work policies without fully prepping their IT teams for a secure transition, IT and Security can use software to help. 

Teams need robust tools that strengthen remote operations while fostering seamless collaboration between leadership, employees, and vendors. 

From cloud document security systems to EDR solutions, these types of IT and Security software are crucial for reducing risks. 

For more information on securing company documents while alleviating data theft risks, visit here.

Incredible companies use Nira

Every company that uses Google Workspace should be using Nira.
Bryan Wise
Bryan Wise,
Former VP of IT at GitLab

Incredible companies use Nira