Secure Remote Access in Critical Infrastructure Environments

Power X, a large energy conglomerate, allows remote employees and contractors to access company systems via a Virtual Private Network (VPN). The company’s technical team would prefer on-site access only, but they learned quickly during the COVID-19 pandemic that such security precautions seemingly hinder business continuity.


Joe Johnson works for a third-party vendor that contracts with Power X. He oversees software updates for a specific Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system, which monitors and controls power transmission and distribution of one of Power X’s largest subsidiaries.

While Joe is on vacation in Costa Rica, he remembers that he forgot to tell Bob, his coworker, about a specific patch upgrade available today. It’s not a big undertaking, so Joe decides to do it himself. He connects to the hotel Wi-Fi, immediately logs into the Power X VPN, completes the upgrade, and then heads to the beach.

Joe doesn’t realize that he has just fallen victim to a Man-in-the-Middle Attack (MitM). The hotel Wi-Fi that seemed legitimate was not. Instead, it was a fake hotspot created by a local hacker to collect passwords and other data from unsuspecting tourists. In the minute it took for Joe to connect to the VPN, the attacker gained access to Joe’s keystrokes, log files, and more. The hacker now has all he needs to exploit any weakness in Power X’s VPN – and negatively impact millions of Americans.

 

The Remote Access Balancing Act in Critical Infrastructure

Power X serves millions of customers across the United States through its subsidiaries. These companies offer a variety of energy resources, including natural gas, carbon-free nuclear, solar, wind, and more. Power X knows that regardless of the resource, its customers are looking for them to “keep the lights on” with affordable, clean, and reliable energy.

Power X is just one example of an organization within the critical infrastructure industry. Critical infrastructure companies provide essential assets, such as water, electricity, transportation, and healthcare, to the masses. Without just one of these assets, society as we know it would change forever.

While there is no Joe and no Power X in real life, the example above illustrates the importance of secure remote access in modern critical infrastructure environments. Companies must embrace the efficiencies of distributed workforces while safeguarding their systems' confidentiality, availability, integrity, authenticity, and non-repudiation.

VPNs have vulnerabilities. Alone, they cannot ensure secure remote access to any environment – let alone a critical infrastructure one. As a result, organizations like Power X need comprehensive, future-proof security strategies to meet today’s remote access challenges.

Epoch Axis Ensures Secure Remote Access?

Epoch Concepts has created an all-inclusive, bundled cybersecurity solution for critical infrastructure organizations needing a modern approach to secure remote access. We call it Epoch Axis.

With Epoch Axis, we make it simple: We uncover and analyze your problems – and design a solution that alleviates them. We then integrate and implement that solution, incorporating hardware and software that complement your specific business needs and technology environment.

 

Epoch Axis integrates with:

  • External user directories (e.g., Active Directory) for secure user management and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) computing.
  • Leading systems management and identity management solutions. It also includes an Application Program Interface (API) for even deeper integration.

Epoch Axis prevents:

  • The loss of sensitive data through extensive audit controls and the recording of support sessions.
  • Persistent threats by bad actors and reduces the overall attack surface thanks to granular, role-based access controls. Imagine matching access requests with the appropriate technologies!

Epoch Axis allows:

  • Exhaustive oversight of all trusted third-party actions, including the video playback of all desktop screen interactions.
  • Access over internal and external networks, as well as the internet. Epoch Axis works with multiple operating systems and various system formats, including laptops, servers, kiosks, etc.

The Benefits of Epoch Axis

At Epoch Concepts, we don’t sell solutions; we become a partner in your success. Our engineers and architects are expert problem-solvers, and they know the ins and outs of critical infrastructure environments. We understand that failure is not an option, and we are ready to become part of the security strategy that eliminates it.

With Epoch and Epoch Axis, you gain:
• Secure remote computing access that exceeds regulatory compliance requirements.
• Seamless access to remote data and processing capabilities for internal/external personnel while ensuring minimal Operational Technology (OT) exposure.
• Information assurance (IA) while enhancing user controls and monitoring.
• Reduced overall attack surfaces thanks to role-based access controls.
• An affordable, scalable solution with the flexibility to accommodate future security enhancements.

We are ready to become your all-in-one Information Technology (IT) solutions provider - from ideation to integration and innovation. Are you ready to revamp your security strategy? Call us today to see how Epoch can support your critical infrastructure environment and mission.