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Wednesday, September 22, 2021 at 12:28 AM

IT security's return to the office strategy

Most businesses will have to consider how they would do business after a pandemic at some point. Although many businesses are still reeling from the impacts of the epidemic and have not yet made final choices about how to deal with the new working reality, even a partial return to the office necessitates specific steps from IT and IT security teams to keep operations running smoothly.

It was tough to make the transition to working from home, but strangely enough, returning to the office may be just as difficult. Some modifications will have to be rolled back, which may be just as time-consuming as the process of implementing them initially. They will also need to re-evaluate internal service security and ensure that employees have access to the software that they were used to during the shutdown. We've compiled a list of cybersecurity action items for companies to assist overwhelmed IT security professionals prioritize their workload.

1. Continue to use cybersecurity workarounds while working from home.

As a result, many companies implemented additional protection measures such as security checks and centralized patch management of remote computers, the addition or expansion of VPN access, and the provision of dedicated awareness training to ensure the security of corporate endpoints while employees worked from home. A significant role was performed by endpoint detection and response agents in the identification and closure of network perimeter gaps.

Wether your staff is returning from home to the office or just traveling a great deal, deploying VPN, endpoint data loss prevention, and intrusion detection technologies on endpoints can guarantee their safe return to on-site work.

2. Re-enable any security measures that you have deactivated for remote employees before.

For remote workers to be able to access to the corporate network, particularly via personal devices, several companies have reduced or deactivated cybersecurity measures such as Network Admission Control and User Account Control (NAC). Before allowing access to the corporate network, the network access control system (NAC) examines computers for compliance with corporate security standards, such as the presence of up-to-date virus protection.

When workers return to the office and connect to the corporate network, NAC should be activated to safeguard the internal systems in the event that the computers represent a threat to the network infrastructure. However, since the computers have been disconnected for about 18 months, it is possible that some upgrades have been missed. As a result, activating NAC for a large number of such devices, maybe hundreds or even thousands, might result in many mistakes. It is possible that turning on the service may become a fine-tuning process for small groups of employees, rather than a one-time event.

Organizations must prepare ahead of time for such problems and have a strategy in place that includes resources, timelines, bug solutions, and, in certain cases, the assistance of IT integration specialists.

3. Keep internal systems up to date.

Please remember to verify internal essential services as well. IT security personnel must be aware of any unpatched servers present in the facility before allowing anybody access to the premises.

When we were all seated at our desks, our computers were continuously linked to the corporate network and were under the protection and policy control of the IT department 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Therefore, the dangers associated with an attack infiltrating a network from a PC and compromising an exposed server were reduced as a result.

Just one unpatched domain controller may give wide access to, for example, employee account data and passwords when everyone returns to the office and connects their laptops to the business network at the same time. Although a diligent IT security team should be able to identify the issue in time and prevent severe problems from arising, the additional effort of restructuring the network and resetting all passwords must still be completed.