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Intranet Cybersecurity 101


Mohammed Umar

Intranet Cybersecurity 101
In today’s digital era, where the protection of sensitive information is paramount, the impact of cybersecurity practices cannot be overstated. Given the rise in data breaches and cyber threats alongside a similar rise in hybrid and remote work, the stakes are bigger than ever. By bigger, we mean the threat doesn’t just apply to third-party applications, but also internal applications like your intranet. The landscape may pose challenges, but with each challenge comes an opportunity for innovation and growth. We’re here to guide you through the exciting journey of choosing the perfect intranet solution for your organization, making sure it not only meets but exceeds your cybersecurity expectations.

Cyber Security and Remote Work

The advent of remote work brought significant changes to the cybersecurity landscape. As organizations adopt flexible work arrangements, employees now access sensitive data from multiple locations and devices, expanding the number of potential breach points.  

66% of organizations see an increased cybersecurity risk when utilizing a remote work model (SEC). This shift has given rise to new challenges like securing remote access, protecting endpoints, and ensuring data privacy in home environments. To address these threats, the intranet you choose must prioritize robust security measures, including VPNs, multi-factor authentication, employee cybersecurity training, and regular threat assessments.  

On-Premises Intranet vs. The Cloud

On-premises intranets offer direct control over infrastructure and security – you own the servers. Though on-premises intranets grant you more control, they also require more maintenance and lack the flexibility and scalability of cloud solutions.  

By contrast, a cloud-based intranet provides more security and scalability, ensuring compliance with industry regulations. Both options have distinct advantages and limitations, necessitating a careful consideration of specific organizational needs, resources, and risk management strategies when choosing between on-premises and cloud-based solutions. 

Zero Trust Policy

Never trust, always verify. This security concept assumes that no user or device should be automatically trusted, whether they are inside or outside the organization’s network. Astonishingly, 60% of remote workers use unsecured personal devices to access their employer’s network – Bitglass. By implementing zero trust policy, all users, devices, and resources are continuously verified and authenticated before being granted access to sensitive data or systems. The Zero Trust approach is designed to minimize the risk of data breaches, insider threats, and unauthorized access by implementing strict access controls and robust security measures.

Encryption and Data Protection

Consider your data’s value and the importance of safeguarding it. When selecting an intranet provider, prioritize top-tier security measures. Make sure they use modern encryption, both during data transit and while at rest. Look for protocols like SSL/TLS, which thwart hackers. I Also find intranet providers compliant with GDPR and HIPAA. This ensures not only data security, but also legal compliance that reinforces protection.

Access Controls and Permissions

Your IT team serves as the gatekeeper for your intranet, managing user access. Think of access controls like a velvet rope, separating VIPs from regular guests. Access controls and role-based permissions within your intranet are vital for data security. These features help you finely tune and restrict who can access specific information, enhancing data protection and ensuring that only authorized individuals can interact with sensitive resources. 

Secure External Access

If you need to extend intranet access to non-employees like vendors, contractors, or frontline workers who don’t have a work email, SharePoint-based intranets are the best bet in terms of security. You can give them special access through Live accounts. SharePoint-based intranets like our very own PeopleOne has an External Users feature that empowers administrators to manage and invite external users. If the invited user lacks a Live account, Microsoft guides them through the sign-up process with their personal email ID. The initial visit to the intranet site prompts user visibility to the administrator, who can then explicitly grant and deny access to modules.

Single Sign-On

Single Sign-On (SSO) is a critical authentication mechanism within intranet environments, streamlining user access to multiple applications and systems with a single login like their Microsoft credentials. SSO eliminates the need for users to remember multiple usernames and passwords for different applications, fostering efficiency and reducing the risk of password-related security vulnerabilities. This centralized authentication approach not only simplifies the login process but also enhances overall productivity by minimizing the time spent on repeated logins throughout the workday.

Authentication Methods

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) serves as an essential layer of security for your intranet, significantly enhancing protection. MFA requires users to provide multiple forms of verification, such as passwords, tokens, or biometrics, before granting access.

Consider SharePoint-based intranets built upon the secure Microsoft 365 environment. They include three-layered security – infrastructure level, user level, and content level, providing a comprehensive defense. Just as medieval castles featured moats, drawbridges, and fortifications, SharePoint-based intranets offer similar protection.

Wrapping It Up

From implementing robust firewalls and encryption protocols to fostering a culture of cyber vigilance, every security step is critical in the modern digital age. Security must be a top-of-mind consideration before choosing an intranet.

Why PeopleOne

Choosing the right intranet platform is crucial for embracing a world-class digital employee experience, and PeopleOne is perfect. With its employee-centric approach, seamless integration of digital tools and platforms, and empowering employee self-service capabilities, PeopleOne provides a comprehensive solution for your organization to create a digital workplace that enhances communications, engagement, and overall organizational success.

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