5 Ways to improve the secure mobility of your remote workforce

The human factor remains the weakest link when it comes to secure communications in the information age, but there are ways to improve the secure mobility in order to strengthen the security and compliance of your organisation.

The wealth of available open-source information relating to this topic can at times be a little overwhelming, so Serbus has put together this post about ways to improve the secure mobility or your organisation, providing you with a snapshot of some of the key fundamental requirements that we believe should be considered in order to secure your communications successfully.

1. Platform Security

Every platform, whether it be a mobile device or a fixed workstation, must be a trusted entity to join a secure network.

The encryption keys are stored privately on the device which ensures the data-in-transit is secure; however, this doesn’t take account as to the security of the device itself. If the device is at risk of compromise, then the data on it must also be considered to be vulnerable. The source of such a vulnerability could be from any number of starting points, from something that appears relatively harmless like a malicious keyboard app inadvertently installed by a user, to a more sophisticated attack, which could also include a physical attack, on the memory of the device itself to target the encryption keys.

2. Data in Transit

Encrypting data whilst it is being transferred from one device to another provides effective protection against interception of the communication by a third party whilst the data is in transfer.

Encryption should always be considered when transmitting data over any wireless network or when the data will pass through any untrusted network, preferably end to end encryption.

Serbus use the MIKEY-SAKKE protocol, where the security of the system is entirely controlled by the enterprise through the KMS, providing its customers with end-to-end encryption. This NCSC published protocol allows the delivery of secure voice and messaging to the users: scalable and flexible, this end-to-end encryption method provides high availability to all users.

Moreover, the use of a correctly implemented Virtual Private Network (VPN) adds further assurance that the content of the data cannot be understood if intercepted. Encrypted data storage is a further consideration in ensuring the data, once it has reached its destination, is stored securely.

3. Security Domain

A security domain is the realm in which members share a trust of a common security token. In the role-based security model, a security domain represents the set of objects that users or groups can manage. Within an information system, this is the set of objects that is accessible.

Access is determined by the controls associated with information properties such as its security classification, security compartment, or sensitivity. If you want to specify different security attributes for some or all of your users, you can create additional security domains based on specific matching criteria.

A security domain also provides the option to filter objects by specifying one or more attributes for each security object type, and whether to include or exclude each attribute from the selection. In addition, a security domain provides you with the ability to restrict access to a set of objects having the same name or being defined on the same workstation, or both.

4. Protective Monitoring

All networks, systems and services used by your company should be included in your monitoring strategy.

There are a number of essential elements used in protective monitoring that should be considered in ensuring you are protecting your essential data correctly.

a. Network Traffic

All inbound and outbound traffic passing through network boundaries requires real-time monitoring, which will identify any unusual activity or trends that could reveal a network attack. Any unfamiliar network traffic, or large data transfers, should automatically generate security alerts with rapid investigation

b. User Activity

Unauthorised or accidental misuse of systems or data is something that your protective monitoring strategy should have the ability to identify. The aim of monitoring user activity, is to link specific users to suspicious activity; but be aware, there are a number of legal and regulatory constraints that must be adhered to when looking to implement this aspect of your policy.

c. Collection and Analysis

It is recommended to develop and deploy a centralised collection and analysis capability to collect and analyse information and alerts from across your organisation. Due to the volume of data involved in these processes, only anomalies or high priority alerts should be directed to your analysts. Whichever solution you choose, it is imperative that the architecture does not provide an opportunity for attackers to bypass normal network security and access controls.

d. Resilient and Synchronised Timing

A centralised and synchronised timing source, employed across your entire organisation, should be established to support incident response and investigation.

e. Incident Management Policies

Ensure that policies and processes are in place to appropriately manage and respond to incidents detected by monitoring solutions. It is important that these procedures are regularly tested alongside disaster recovery testing.

5. Buy the right product

The first step in securing your communications is to identify the needs of your own organisation.

Is your focus primarily on encrypted communication, or is authentication, authorisation, or metadata visibility important? Are the devices you use considered to be at risk, is the end-user able to install software, and are security policies enforced locally?

These are all logical questions that need to be addressed before you can start to design and develop a solution that meets the secure mobility requirements or your organisation, whilst at the same time providing users with the functionality that they need to perform their job correctly.

A valid approach to achieving a solution that meets every employee’s needs, is to begin with the management of devices, then to look at platform security and maintaining integrity; finally, you should consider implementing a secure voice and messaging platform with the surrounding cryptographic management wrap, providing your users with the ability to communicate securely.

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If you’d like to find out more about serbus secure call us on +44(0)1432 870 879 and we’ll be happy to chat.