Summary: How much do you trust your intranet security: are you willing to risk it all? Whether it’s invoices, social security numbers, home addresses or medical records, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to protecting the information you store on your intranet, especially if you require remote access.
Intranet Connections specializes in *on-premise* Intranet solutions. There are a number of inherent security benefits to having an on-premise intranet and in fact, certain regulated industries (such as finance) basically require you to have complete control over your data warehouse, the connections to it, etc. But what if you’re among the growing companies whose workforce is working remotely, how do those off-site users gain access to the intranet?
The best solution is a VPN; though they come with their own set of challenges as well. Challenges such as speed, price, trust, and data retention policies. Any time you take security controls out of your own hands you need to trust that the provider will be able to ward off a security threat and stick to their word about retention of user data. Usually, as long as you don’t go with the cheap new VPN service that has no reviews and has only been around for a day, you’ll do fine.
Generally speaking, we find that the majority of customers are happy with giving VPN access to their Intranet for those remote workers that need it. As seems to be a general truth of business; cost is always a factor. The trade-off you make between saving some money, vs exposing a higher security threat of wanting to externalize your intranet (vs having everybody on VPN) is one for you to make, yourself. We strongly recommend going the VPN route as you do not face the risk of exposing your ENTIRE site to the web. Think about it from your bookkeeper’s point of view – can’t you realize some tax write-offs by considering VPN price a cost of doing business? Might make most sense vs exposing your systems. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are several review sites that rank VPN providers — just check to make sure the suggestions aren’t also funding the site.
It’s tempting to use a cloud host because A) Costs (at least short-term) B) it’s fancy and new and C) somebody else is managing it. However, there’s a big difference between doing something fast or cheap and doing something *right*. Cloud technology is developing faster than the security measures for it. Almost every day we hear about another system or service that had a breach, didn’t say anything about it, and now the users have found out. How many times have you been the recipient of a message that inevitably suggests that you change your password for that service and any other connected ones? It’s probably become a bit normalized, but it *is* a big issue. Look at Cambridge Analytica – they told Facebook ‘oh yes, we deleted that data’ but then here we are, with Zuckerberg answering to Congress.
On May 28, 2018, the EU General Data Protection Regulation comes into effect. With an on-premise solution, you have complete control over your compliance. Even if you are a US-based company, if you are selling goods or services to, or monitor the behavior of, any EU citizen, or could in the future, you need to comply with the GDPR. There are three main areas that GDPR covers: 1. The consent and storage of personal data 2. The right of a person to have their data ‘forgotten’ and the notification policies around a data breach. Some may argue that if North America had data regulations similar to those being enacted by GDPR, we wouldn’t be facing the issues Cambridge Analytica and Facebook are now dealing with.
On-premise software brings with it a psychological element to the security aspect. If you have your own server, you control all rights and access to the data and can make changes as quickly as you want. No need to wait for a service ticket, or consultant to address your problem while your security hole is leaking valuable ‘knowledge water’. Intranet Connections is staffed with highly knowledgeable support staff that will help you configure your server with the most appropriate security provisions for your needs. Additionally, if externalizing your site is necessary for your requirements, we have the know-how to help you do that as certainly there are legitimate reasons to do so.
Looking internally, security settings are also an important factor with respect to access to documentation and knowledge among your organization. If you are coming from an organization that already has Active Directory roles in place, those role-sets are easily transposed to your new Intranet.
An on-premise intranet from Intranet Connections is your best bet at a secure digital workspace. We are a natural fit for those companies that are more security conscious or come from a more regulated industry such as Banks, Credit Unions, Finance and Healthcare. If you are an IT professional considering the move to an on-premise intranet, don’t hesitate to get in touch! We are happy to answer any technical questions and our goal is to ensure the right fit for your needs.