TECH, BUSINESS AND CAREER INSIGHTS

The top 5 cybersecurity practices for transitioning back to the office

By: TSP Blog | @TSProckstars

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Life for everyone has dramatically changed from what it was just over six months ago. In the workplace specifically, people have gotten used to the idea of working from their couch. After months of this altered work lifestyle, it’s daunting to think about what the new normal will be as companies potentially begin thinking about the slow transition back to the office. For some, swapping sweatpants for slacks is a start, but interactions in the office will be different, layouts will change, and people will have an array of reactions to interacting with coworkers in person again.

The top priority during this kind of transition is protecting your health and the health of those around you. Another vital consideration is the health of your company, and more specifically, the status of your company’s technology. Therefore, companies should look into creating a plan to minimize cybersecurity threats and secure networks as devices and people return back to the office. Check out these five cybersecurity practices to consider as you begin hauling monitors back into your workplace.

UPDATE ALL DEVICES
The first step is easy — update all operating systems to protect from external attacks and test that all backups of your devices have been saved. Operating systems include OS, software updates, anti-virus updates and more.

It was estimated that 62% of people installed additional software, like Zoom, to allow for greater productivity and easier video conferencing while working from home. However, this new software could have vulnerabilities that put your company at risk. Run an anti-malware scan and a vulnerability scan to ensure that devices have not been compromised. These programs will also help to identify new and unknown devices. Be sure to check the patch status of a computer by scanning for updates and installing the latest critical patches.

MANAGE AND/OR DISABLE ANY UNNECESSARY REMOTE ACCESS
The transition from office to home was new for many, resulting in possible security breaches for companies, as many didn't have the time or knowledge to properly equip employees for the transition.

Since many employees have been using personal devices to access services, applications and systems from unsecured networks at home, almost half of work from home companies have malware. For any necessary remote access, replace temporary access (i.e., RDP, L2TP, VPNs) with secure, permanent solutions. While many employees will be returning to the office, some will remain working from home, so some offices will need to incorporate security for in-office and remote employees alike.

ALLOW TIME TO COMMUNICATE ANY NEW SECURITY PROCEDURES TO EMPLOYEES
Connect with your IT department or vendor to reset passwords and enhance password complexity for all accounts. Experts recommend using a minimum of a 16-character password and to update passwords every six months. Consider using a multi-factor authentication (MFA) or two-factor authentication (2FA). These authentications require recognized devices to enter a passcode and unrecognized devices to send a code to a registered device, an extra security measure.

REFRESH SECURITY TRAINING WITH EMPLOYEES
Your goal should be to provide employees with a seamless shift into a reinvented office space with security as a top priority. Some initial steps to take are reviewing general security training with employees, updating employees on all security concerns related to COVID-19 (particularly email scams) and checking that all employees have implemented your company’s specific security measures. A simple refresher with all employees can also save you time from working with employees individually.  

ENSURE EMPLOYEES HAVE THE NECESSARY TOOLS FOR PRODUCTIVITY
Clear communication during the transition back to the office is imperative. Remind employees to have passwords and login credentials updated before they return to the office. You should also take the time to address small security procedures to increase productivity when employees make the home to office transition. It’s also beneficial to do an inventory check to ensure all devices have been returned from former employees.

Security and communication are critical during this transition, so be proactive in taking every precaution to protect your employees and your company. Be aware that people will be distracted catching up with coworkers, getting back in the office groove and learning how to ensure a safe office environment, so continue to remind your staff of the importance of being on top of cyber threats.

IT-Assessment