Remote Access Fire Extinguisher:
Ad-hoc Access in a Box
“Remote Access – We’ve already got that covered with our PAM and corporate VPN,” is often the initial response we hear from IT Managers at large corporations when introduced to BifrostConnect. These time-tested solutions have been providing access control and remote capabilities within organizations for decades.
But what happens when traditional methods fail to deliver remote access in critical situations?
This blog post delves into the essential role of ad-hoc remote access solutions, particularly vital for companies aiming to maintain business continuity in third-party scenarios.
The Sprinkler System and the Fire Extinguishers
Imagine protecting a building against fire. A permanent sprinkler system acts as the main line of defense. Yet, strategically placed fire extinguishers are equally crucial; offering targeted intervention in areas unreachable by the sprinkler system or when activating the entire system for a localized fire is impractical. This analogy aptly represents the landscape of remote access solutions in the IT and OT world.
While most remote access tools are akin to the “sprinkler system,” addressing the broad needs of traditional IT infrastructure, BifrostConnect functions more like the “fire extinguisher.” Our approach isn’t about replacing existing primary solutions but rather complementing them, particularly when they fall short.
When Traditional Solutions Don't Cut It
Traditional or Primary Remote Access solutions (PAM, VPN, Remote Access Gateways, etc.) are excellent for day-to-day internal use in modern organizations.
However, as highlighted in our previous post, Top reasons your security protocols are bypassed during third-party access primary solutions don’t always provide the necessary level of access. Examples include:
- Equipment that traditional solutions can’t access because it is:
- Technically unique/different from the norm.
- In a state where it can’t communicate via traditional solutions (e.g., during restarts or in BIOS).
- Equipment that shouldn’t be accessible for security reasons:
- Critical equipment that should stay offline and detached from the traditional solution.
- Legacy equipment no longer receiving security updates and thus shouldn’t be online connected to any permanent solution.
- Situations where the primary solution is inaccessible, like during a hacker attack when IT has disconnected the main server from the internet.
Traditionally, addressing these unique scenarios involved either sacrificing security, sending specialists on-site, or shipping the equipment to them. This approach is costly, time-consuming, and inefficient, particularly given the limited availability of specialized IT/OT professionals whose time is better spent addressing issues rather than traveling.
Ad-hoc Remote Access
BifrostConnect’s hardware-based ad-hoc approach fundamentally diverges from static software- or network-centric solutions. Its portable nature enables clientless plug-and-play access to any device. It facilitates secure one-to-one connections, linking a third-party user to a specific endpoint. With built-in LTE connectivity, remote access can be isolated from the company network. Adhering to least-privilege principles provides granular access control at the user, device, and session levels, ensuring users have only the intended access.
In essence, with ad-hoc access in a box, companies can offer secure third-party access on demand that:
- Minimizes attack surfaces
- Prevents lateral movement
- Reduces IT management overhead and bottlenecks
- Ensures business continuity
- Scales without requiring global implementation
In conclusion, the remote access landscape is diverse and nuanced. Situations arise where primary solutions, much like a broad-reaching sprinkler system, are insufficient. Here, an ad-hoc solution like BifrostConnect, comparable to a fire extinguisher, proves invaluable. It’s about having the right tool for the right situation, ensuring comprehensive protection and efficiency in today’s complex IT environments.
Product Manager at Bifrost