As the United States recovers from the pandemic, COVID-19 restrictions are slowly being lifted and businesses are opening back up. Some companies that shifted to a remote work setup last year are considering going back to the office as well. However, this decision isn’t as easy as turning the office computers back on. IT professionals have to be aware of certain technology issues that they may encounter, such as:
1. Unregistered devices
While working remotely, some employees may have used their personal devices, such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets for work. Since these are likely not company-registered, your IT team won’t be able to apply these with security measures, leaving your employees and company vulnerable to cyberthreats.
For instance, if a worker falls victim to phishing, cybercriminals may gain access to confidential company data. Or if their PC gets infected with ransomware, your company may suffer financial losses and reputational damage.
To mitigate security risks, ban the use of personal gadgets until all of them have been cleared of any potential issues. Afterwards, register these devices to an endpoint management software like Microsoft Intune. This software allows you to monitor your employees’ registered devices and prevent potentially vulnerable ones, such as jailbroken or rooted smartphones, from accessing company resources.
Alternatively, you can require employees to transfer company data and applications to company-issued devices.
2. New work tools
While working from home, your employees may have discovered new but not company-vetted tools that help them perform their tasks better. They may then be unwilling to give these tools up when they return to the office.
Should you opt to adopt these tools, make sure that your IT team implements the necessary security measures, identity access management, data loss prevention practices, and backup procedures. This way, these tools won’t put your business at risk of cyberthreats or data loss.
3. Bad security habits
Your employees may have picked up unhealthy remote work habits, such as forgetting to lock their PCs when walking away from their desks or not using your company password manager. They may have also turned off their devices’ automatic updates, software patches, and security other measures that they felt took too much of their time away from work.
These bad habits may result in a data breach or other cyberattacks. For example, if your employees’ have outdated programs in their devices, cybercriminals may be able to exploit software vulnerabilities and steal sensitive company information and infect your IT systems with malware.
Therefore, let them undergo a cybersecurity refresher training program that will help reestablish healthy security habits like installing software updates and patches, using strong passwords, enabling multifactor authentication, refraining from clicking on suspicious links, and being wary of public Wi-Fi networks, among others. Use a combination of lecture-style instruction, live simulations, and practical exercises to ensure that your employees will apply what they’ve learned.
Your employees may have turned off automatic updates, security patches, or anything in their company-registered device that may affect their productivity while working from home. But if their devices and programs are outdated, cybercriminals can exploit any vulnerabilities to steal sensitive information and infect your IT infrastructure with viruses.
To mitigate this risk, teach your employees to always install operating system updates and security patches, and ensure that security solutions such as antivirus software regularly receive updates.
These are just a few of the issues that your business might encounter when returning to the office. If you need further help in dealing with any problems, partner with Safebit Solutions! We will determine weaknesses in your current infrastructure and suggest solutions that will ensure a smooth transition back to an office setup.