Remote Access Solutions
Since this article is about setting up remote access, the scope of our discussion will be limited to how we can secure the border. Note that when I refer to "the border", I'm referring to the logical network border that is established when a remote access session is created between a user's machine and a company's network.
That said, in the network world, it is a well know fact that the most secure network is one that isn't connected to the outside.
The good news is that there are many commercial solutions out there. Each solution provides remote access security by not extending the company's logical border to outside personal computers. In fact, all solutions are designed to keep the users' personal computer outside the company's network, where they belong.
Below are some well known solutions:
The ones listed above provide so-called "air gap"-like access to a company's network resources. This is done by providing a web-only interface to access company internal network resources. This means that the remote computer--i.e. the user's personal computer--isn't in a company's network. In effect, the remote computer is just a web client, and is only communicating with the remote access appliance (basically a middle man between the remote computer and whatever internal network resource is published through that appliance) using a secure protocol like SSL (secure socket layer).
Thus, even if the remote computer is infected, your company's internal network will never get exposed to it. The only computers or systems a compromised remote computer can infect will be those in its local network and other machines on the Internet vulnerable to the effects of such threats.
That said, which solution should you choose?
It really depends on many things. Key determining factors are price, and product support. For the above listed solutions, the cost can range anywhere from $10,000 to the $50,000 range. This is just for the initial non-recurring cost.
Also consider annual maintenance cost. Once your company becomes highly dependent on a solution, they'll want to keep it going. Typical annual maintenance cost is around 15% to 20% of purchase price.
Technical support is also crucial. Depending on your company's threshhold for wait time, you may choose a particular vendor or a particular support contract; but all this must also be justified from a business standpoint, taking into account ROI (return on investment).