A Holistic Approach to Cybersecurity

Cyberattacks have been steadily increasing over the past decade. However, over the span of 2020, the industry has seen an unprecedented rise of cyberattacks on businesses.

Although a gradual increase over time is expected, this current massive increase can be attributed to attackers capitalizing on the Covid-19 pandemic and the shift of the remote workforce.

The Initial Remote Work Challenge

It was challenging for businesses to pivot almost overnight to a secure remote environment. The security risks had to be assessed, looking at both corporate networks as well as employees’ remote environments. Then, ensuring employees had the right tools to work efficiently, along with additional security protocols in place to keep company data protected.

 What Does Remote Work Look Like in 2020?

After almost half a year of the pandemic, businesses have deployed secure remote work environments for their employees. Provisioning hardware to keep their staff agile and incorporating new security processes and policies. However, the most vulnerable component that plays an important role in the overall cybersecurity strategy, is the end user. 

Users are central to cybersecurity because they can be the target, problem and solution. They are targeted by cybercriminals who seek ways to exploit user’s curiosity. With the most advanced hardware and software protecting the perimeter of your network, an attack launched from within the network by an employee who is a victim of an email-based phishing campaign can prove to be detrimental to your business. However, through awareness and education employees can help prevent a cyberattack. 

A recent IBM survey of business professionals has found that individuals who are new to remote work pose a serious risk to their employer. This is because 45% of them said they haven’t received any additional security training since going remote. 54% also said they are unaware of any new policies put in place to protect their virtual meetings.

These numbers pose a serious threat. Without awareness or education on the vulnerabilities of working remotely it leaves employees disadvantaged and ill-prepared against attackers, who specifically target end users.

How do Employers take a Holistic approach to Cybersecurity?

It is the business’s responsibility to ensure their employees have all the tools they need to empower them to be the solution and not the problem. But what does actual good training entail? What is enough? A good formula entails a base knowledge of cybersecurity, threats, hackers, phishing and all the other hot button topics. After a base understanding is developed, consistent updates and reminders of the current threats and what is currently popular among hackers will help to solidify newly adopted security behaviours.

Instead of mandatory annual training where all the information is dumped at once and possibly just goes in one ear and out the other, another approach is to hold training sessions spread out over time, in digestible amounts.

Knowing that employees learn in different ways, the employer’s approach for training should let them learn at their own pace and in diverse ways.

Whether it be weekly newsletters from the IT department, or following certain accounts on social media that deliver current cybersecurity news, having constant reminders about these threats help nurture safer computing habits by employees.

For example, some cybersecurity social media accounts to follow on twitter are:

  • @TheCyberSecHub
  • @TechRepublic
  • And of course, Clarity’s account @Clarityhs!

Your employees play an integral part in the security of your business. Taking a holistic approach to your cybersecurity strategy ensures your company’s data remains secure and safe.

Bringing Clarity to Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Solutions

With Covid-19, many Canadian small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) rushed to accommodate remote work. This shift from the office space to the remote workspace continues to impact all SMBs. Especially as many employees in Canada’s largest cities such as Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver are opting to work remotely.

According to a recent study of Canadian workers, by the Angus Reid Institute, “only 36 per cent say they will likely go back to their place of work when Covid-19 concerns subside.” Resulting in about two-thirds of Canadian employees, who expect their employers to accommodate remote work. 

In addition, many Canadian employees said they expected to split their time between their company’s office space and their home. Raising the question, how will Canadian employers, especially SMBs, adapt their work environments?

Also, how can businesses cut costs, leverage cloud based applications, upgrade their IT infrastructure and meet their employees’ remote work needs?

One way is through a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solution. When implemented strategically, a VDI solution increases a business’s ability to meet their employees needs, reduce their IT overhead and save money.

What is a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Solution?

A Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solution is pretty straightforward. It’s a technology solution that allows a business to run its employees’ desktop from a secure central platform. 

Their employees login over the business’s network using their own endpoint device (laptop, tablet, home office desktop and so forth). This is a virtualization solution.

What does a virtualization solution really mean?

A virtualization solution refers to a technology solution that creates a virtual version, instead of an actual physical version. The process for creating a virtualized solution is called virtualization. 

Virtualization lets a business create IT services and technology solutions using resources that are traditionally tied to hardware. 

For example, a VDI solution frees a business from purchasing, maintaining and/or upgrading any legacy IT hardware, like an employee’s desktop computer. 

Using virtualization, a virtual desktop is created and hosted on a centralized server in a secure data center. Instead of employees using a company computer or device, they access the business’s network on their end, or endpoint, using their own devices.

Because employees are using their own endpoint devices, the hardware investment is greatly reduced. Also, a VDI solution is more flexible. Allowing for a diverse range of mobile and remote devices.  

How a VDI Solution Helps Business Owners.

A VDI solution helps businesses on a number of levels. It helps reduce IT overhead. By using a VDI solution, the cost of managing independent user devices is reduced. This is particularly helpful to businesses struggling with aging hardware and legacy systems. 

Leveraging cloud based applications is more seamless with VDI technology solutions. More businesses are already operating on or using cloud based applications. With a VDI solution, a business can integrate and scale their cloud based operations more efficiently. 

Also a VDI environment makes it easier for businesses, no matter their size, to work with remote workers or contractors. Providing access or deploying a VDI solution for a remote worker or contractor is more efficient. With a VDI solution, a remote worker or contractor can access the business’ core software systems and network. The employer can also control and grant access securely and quickly with minimal IT investment. 

The bonus is, regardless of where the employee or contractor is working from, they have access to the same consistent company network and resources. An employer can provide their remote worker or contractor with options when deploying a virtual desktop or VDI solution. They can opt for a persistent VDI or nonpersistent VDI.  

Persistent VDI Solution. Creating a persistent VDI solution means each remote worker or contractor is assigned a single desktop they can customize to their individual user needs or preferences. Every time the employee or contractor logs on, their user settings are the same. 

For remote workers, a personalized persistent VDI solution can increase their productivity. Because they access their user preferences, shortcuts, files and data on their own virtual desktop every time. It’s like having their own physical desktop computer in the office, but now it’s a virtual desktop. Accessible to them anytime and anywhere.

Nonpersistent VDI Solution. With a nonpersistent VDI, remote workers or contractors don’t have an assigned exclusive space. Their user preferences and data isn’t saved after they log off. The virtual desktop refreshes itself each time.

Some advantages of a nonpersistent VDI is the ability to quickly deploy organization wide applications to all remote workers or contractors. Managing and updating applications is easier. Also, since nonpersistent VDI solutions don’t allow remote workers or contractors to install their own software it reduces the potential for security breaches and decreases storage needs.

Finally, a VDI solution helps businesses manage configuration and cybersecurity quicker and better. Updates and configurations are automated and streamlined. This gives the company’s IT team extra support so they can focus on other key areas.

Also, because all data is hosted in a secure data center, it limits the exposure of the business. A VDI solution can also provide strict controls to minimize any remote workers or contractors deviating from the business’ security practices and overall company standards.

Where to Start When it Comes to VDI Solutions?

Any business, no matter its size, which has remote workers or contractors would benefit from a VDI solution. But the question most business owners have is where to start?

Switching to a VDI model that leverages cloud based applications isn’t daunting with the right expertise. 

Since all VDI solutions are hosted in a data center, start by working with a data center, like Clarity, that has deep cybersecurity knowledge and IT consulting services.  Particularly, because a VDI solution isn’t just about hosting a virtual desktop, it’s also about designing it, deploying it, protecting it, securing it and managing it. 

Clarity’s full spectrum technology solutions is why businesses, of all sizes, looking for remote work options connect with us.  

Clarity’s VDI Solutions Specialists start by working with your business and IT team. We assess your overall IT needs. This includes reviewing your hardware and any legacy hardware. As well as reviewing cloud based services and IT needs. Including reviewing any existing cloud contracts for savings, licensing requirements and data protection needs.

Plus, our deep cybersecurity expertise means Clarity provides both cybersecurity and cloud security assessment and support. 

After completing a comprehensive assessment, our VDI Solutions Specialists provide you and your IT team with a straightforward VDI implementation plan. We clearly outline your VDI solution options based on your business needs. 

By providing clear VDI solutions, we ensure business owners understand the benefits and see the cost savings. In addition, we make sure you understand your technology needs along with any compliance and regulatory requirements specific to your industry.

Our VDI Solutions Specialists know the rapid shift to remote work and growing demands placed on businesses to provide VDI environments is stressful. That’s why we work closely with businesses to make their VDI solutions clear. Taking the worry out of moving to remote working environments.

Connect with Clarity to learn more about how our VDI Solutions Specialists can help your business successfully and securely switch to a remote working environment. 

The Challenges of Pivoting to a Secure Remote Work Environment

Many businesses found themselves pivoting overnight to a remote workforce in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.  Some businesses were unprepared. Other businesses were already transitioning employees to work remotely.

Regardless of whether a business is ready or not to accommodate their employees’ ability to work remotely, there are a number of challenges in creating a secure remote work environment.

Assessing the Security Risks of Your Remote Workforce Comprehensively

In some cases, the rapid change to remote work leaves holes in a business’s network. Especially, since evaluating the security risks of a remote workforce requires a business to shift its perspective. Meaning gauging a company’s security risk from the other end: the employee’s remote work environment.

One of the challenges is identifying whether or not employees working from home are using  unsecured networks. If they are, then a business’s security risk is higher. Also, are employees using their devices such as tablets and personal computers to access the business’s network?  Many personal devices and home computers aren’t setup with the right endpoint protection and the necessary security controls needed for remote work. 

Not to mention, with more phishing scams and cyber-attacks targeting remote workers, businesses need cybersecurity strategies that look at the whole picture.

Calibrating Accessibility and Capacity Issues

The challenge of accommodating a sudden move to a remote workforce is ensuring your employees have access to the tools they need. Such as basic applications like video chat, email, file sharing and syncing and access to remote desktop IT support. This also means ensuring employees have the needed bandwidth. It’s a matter of calibrating existing employee accessibility and assessing a business’s bandwidth capacity.

Looking for the Right Virtual Private Network (VPN) 

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) provides a secure end-to-end encrypted tunnel and greater privacy protections. With the pivot to working remotely, many CIOs, IT Managers and IT Departments find themselves looking for the right VPN solution.

Some businesses have a VPN with only a limited number of employees accessing it due to a non-scalable solution impacting their employees’ productivity and ability to work remotely.

Additionally, their network capacity may not be able to sustain the sudden increase in data traffic. Matching the right VPN solution to a business’s needs that accommodates their traffic requirements minimizes bottlenecks. Then there is the necessity of increased cybersecurity and proper VPN tech support to ensure a secure remote work setting.

Responding Quickly Needs a Holistic Cybersecurity Approach and Creative Tech Solutions

When the Stay-at-Home orders were announced, Clarity found businesses and organizations, in some cases, struggling to accommodate remote work. The challenge of pivoting to secure remote work raised the issues previously outlined.

Start with a Holistic Cybersecurity Approach

The immediate need was assessing cybersecurity risks and strategies comprehensively. Looking at both their network and their employees’ remote working environment. As well as assessing access and capacity issues. Plus, ensuring their VPN is the right technology solution. This requires a holistic cybersecurity approach.

This type of holistic approach is grounded in conducting a comprehensive security assessment of the entirety of a business’s remote work needs.

An Example of a Creative Tech Solution — Clarity’s Ready-Secure-Go™ VPN

Some clients needed an affordable secure VPN solution that matched their capacity needs, cybersecurity strategies and privacy requirements. But also, it needed to be quickly integrated into their network with very little onsite involvement. That’s how  Clarity’s Ready-Secure-Go™ VPN technology solution came about.


Clarity specifically developed our Ready-Secure-Go™ VPN which creatively combines both a hardware based and a software based VPN solution. While there is a cost for the VPN hardware, the deployment or set-up is included. Making it also affordable.


Our Ready-Secure-Go™ VPN is secure. Clarity’s cybersecurity specialists ensure it’s setup to meet security and encryption needs.


When Clarity’s Ready-Secure-Go™ VPN solution arrives, it’s ready to go. Simply plug it into the business’s or organization’s existing infrastructure.

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to test businesses and organizations, meeting the challenge of setting up a secure remote workforce should be clearer. Taking a holistic cybersecurity approach and adding creative solutions helps. Right now, that’s what is needed— helpful technology solutions.

Author Snippet: 

Raff Bisceglia is a Partner and Head of Technical Services and Cybersecurity at Clarity, a Canadian based data center and technology solutions company. With over 25 years experiences, Raff’s expertise ranges from managing network and systems deployment, change and capacity management, software development, network and server architecture, infrastructure design and implementation as well as cybersecurity. As Clarity’s Head of Technical Services and Cybersecurity, Raff leads the technical services and cybersecurity teams.