In March this year, the world saw one of the most extensive transitions in the professional sphere. Hundreds and thousands of organizations the world over moved to remote work settings due to the coronavirus pandemic. For some organizations, remote work-to-office transition remained smooth. Others kept on struggling to adapt to the remote work environment.
Organizations falling in the latter group have started to move back to office spaces as virus restrictions ease up. If your business is also among the struggling entities and desperately needs the transition to regular work fixture, make some considerations in the cybersecurity context. With those measures, you can make your remote work-to-office transition smooth with no major network and system security threats.
Is It Right to Make Remote Work-to-Office Transition Despite Strong Probability of Second Wave?
Before we move to discuss cybersecurity measures for remote work-to-office transition, you need to answer this critical question. First of all, we need to understand that no organization would risk COVID-related vulnerabilities without any legitimate reason. Most organizations want to get back to regular working setup because the remote setting has made their network and servers susceptible to cyber attacks.
As per one survey, over 20% of network security leaders indicate that their organizations have experienced more cyber attacks since they have moved to a remote working routine. Also, 50% of them think they had robust remote network security, but they still became a victim of cyber attacks. All these businesses are right in mulling over reversing the work transition.
Moreover, many organizations have also witnessed productivity loss during this remote work phase. Most enterprises where workflow hugely depends on in-person interaction have experienced a drop in their productivity levels. They are also justified in moving back to offices.
Nonetheless, every business opening up its offices needs to maintain the utmost COVID-related safety compliances. They need to ensure safe distance among employee workstations. They also need to leverage contactless technology to ensure employees can use the workspace without needing to touch shared surfaces.
Cybersecurity Considerations for Smooth Remote Work-to-Office Transition
Besides ensuring employee safety, you also need to consider how the transition can play out in terms of cybersecurity. These are the four measures your IT and security teams need to take to keep remote work-to-office transition cyber-safe.
1. A Detailed Device Scanning and Updating
A lot of remote workers have banked on their smartphones and laptops to work from home. However, the extended use of these devices from less secure personal networks and ISPs has increased the likelihood that they have become vulnerable to cyber attacks due to a lack of updates. It is also possible that the devices used on the organization’s VPN remained unconnected to that secure virtual network for a long duration, causing them to fall behind on regular updating and patching.
Many of those devices may have already been infected and become a ticking bomb for your corporate IT network.
Therefore, before letting employees connect their laptops and phones to your organizational network again, scan them for malware and updates. Many of these devices may not have been updated for recent AV patches, application upgrades, and GPO updates. One or two days before opening the offices, ask your employees to bring in their work devices for scanning and updates from your network and IT team.
Likewise, the IT personnel also need to update the in-house devices that have remained offline during the lockdown.
2. Implement the Zero Trust Model
Make sure that the device scanning and update practices are not done just for showing employees your diligence. If the IT and security team can’t clear a device and are unsure of its safe and secure use in the organizational network, don’t allow them for the time being. Have a detailed security analysis of those devices. Once you fix the detected issues, allow the device in the network with limited access. Observe its activity for a couple of days. If nothing suspicious is found, green-light it for full network use. This device quarantining will minimize the risks of unseen cyber threats.
3. Leverage EDR and SIEM Tools
You can also use EDR and SIEM tools to monitor and report any suspicious activity in the network in the following days of opening the office. These tools can help identify a range of anomalous user behaviors. For instance, your team can monitor VPN abuse, unauthorized attempts to access particular network areas, and privilege escalation. This proactive and attentive attitude will ensure you can get back to the regular work fixture without security lapses.
4. Revise Your Cybersecurity Policy
Remote working has given IT teams space to step back, reflect, and identify loopholes in their organization’s existing cybersecurity policies. Before opening the office doors again for workers, you have an opportunity to review and revise the existing cybersecurity policy. The revision of cybersecurity policy and updating will help your organization to comply with relevant IT regulations in a more effective manner.
5. Educate the Workforce
Before calling the workforce back to offices, you need to run refresher courses for them on cybersecurity. The long span of work-from-home has pushed many employees to develop a laidback attitude towards network support and security. You need to nudge them to get back to active cybersecurity practices. A quick crash course on network security, safe and secure login, and phishing attempt will ensure your transition to offices is not spoiled by a cyber attack stemming from a human error.
If you need any IT support services in Toronto to keep your get-back-to-office transition smooth, get in touch with Microsys. The company’s mission is to deliver affordable and high-quality technology solutions that enable small, medium, and enterprise businesses to meet their goals more efficiently. You can also hit us up for free professional IT assessment.