As companies embark on the process of reintegrating employees into the office environment, it becomes imperative to not only ensure the readiness of physical workspaces but also to meticulously evaluate the associated security risks of online viruses. Given that employees have spent an extended period working from home, the prospect of their return raises concerns about potential cyber security vulnerabilities that may accompany them.
The Home Network ConundrumDuring the pandemic, many employees worked from home. While this provided flexibility, it also introduced new vulnerabilities. One of the notable challenges arises from the fact that home networks tend to be inherently less secure than their corporate counterparts and online viruses. This is particularly exacerbated by the coexistence of children engaged in online learning on the same network, potentially exposing sensitive corporate data to unforeseen risks. Furthermore, employees have, during this period, frequented public spaces like cafes and utilized public Wi-Fi hotspots, which are often less secure by nature.
In this context, it's prudent to draw a parallel with how school-going children can inadvertently bring illnesses home. In a similar vein, employees could unintentionally introduce security threats, metaphorical 'viruses,' into the corporate network. To mitigate these potential risks, we strongly recommend that small and medium-sized businesses take proactive measures by implementing additional security precautions as part of their comprehensive strategy to prepare for the return of their workforce.
5 Ways to Safeguard Your Office
1. Cyber Test EmployeesPhishing attacks, email scams, and social engineering threats are rampant in the digital landscape. To mitigate these risks, it's crucial to educate employees and offer them the opportunity to practice identifying and responding to potential scams. Consider running phishing tests that simulate real threats. Services like Trend Micro not only provide phishing tests but also offer online training and feedback to help employees recognize and avoid scam emails, texts, or calls.
2. Secure NetworksFirewalls are no longer enough to keep hackers at bay. Sophisticated cybercriminals can find their way into your network. For small and medium-sized businesses, it's recommended to invest in a robust business firewall, like Netgate, that safeguards both inbound and outbound traffic. Implement strict controls to allow only known and necessary traffic in and out of your office network. Utilize tools like Microsoft Defender for Endpoint to automatically check URLs before they are accessed, thus preventing employees from accidentally inviting unwanted guests into your network. Additionally, set up network monitoring to stay alert to any suspicious activities and online viruses.
3. Antivirus SoftwareIn a hybrid work environment, employees are more susceptible to digital threats. Antivirus software plays a crucial role in defending against common security risks like viruses, phishing, and malware. Microsoft Defender is a reliable choice, providing enterprise-grade protection and a range of features including threat and vulnerability management, next-generation virus protection, and data protection.
4. Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)Two-factor authentication is a powerful security method that demands two forms of identity verification to access protected data and resources. Passwords alone are no longer sufficient. Whether employees work from the office or remotely, 2FA offers an additional layer of security, safeguarding vital information and thwarting cybercriminals. It's user-friendly, easy to manage, and effective in protecting digital assets.
5. IT Assets Disposal and RecyclingAs IT assets reach the end of their lifecycle, proper disposal is essential. Failing to dispose of IT equipment correctly can lead to data breaches and operational challenges. Ensure that confidential data and hardware components are destroyed in compliance with recommended procedures and standards. Request a 'Certificate of Destruction' for hard drives and other IT equipment to ensure data is handled and removed securely.
ConclusionThe return to the office is far more than a physical transition. It's a journey that requires thoughtful cyber safety measures to ensure a smooth and secure reintegration of employees. As organizations gear up for the big return, these precautions along with the online virus protection acts and cyber safe guidelines will be pivotal in keeping digital assets and sensitive information protected and remain cyber safe.
So, as your organization prepares for this pivotal shift, remember that the path back to the office is more than just turning the lights on. It's about ensuring that your organization's digital infrastructure is as resilient as its physical one. Let us assist you in making that transition. Contact us today for a free initial consultation, and IT asset disposal too. Together, we can ensure a secure and successful return to work.
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