As stay-at-home orders begin to expire and the economy reopens, it’s more important than ever that employees do their part to keep the community safe. After all, the threat of COVID-19 is far from over. If anything, the gradual return to normal life means that the virus has far more opportunities to spread than it did during the quarantine.
Many employees are mitigating these risks by continuing to work on a remote basis — and many will do so for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, this is not possible for all employees or in all industries. While some managed as best as possible during stay-at-home orders, it’s now crucial for many to return to work.
In an effort to get companies up and running, business owners are currently focused on implementing safety protocols. From spreading out desks to providing hand sanitizer, a variety of measures can keep employees safe. However, many have forgotten to prepare for digital hazards, which loom large. This type of neglect could prove devastating, especially given the fragile nature of the economy.
There are many concerns – such as security vulnerabilities and poor internet connections – that should be addressed long before you make the transition from remote to in-person work. The sooner you tackle the following issues, the better:
Improve Network Coverage
The layout of your office could look quite a bit different following the stay-at-home order. If employees are not already spaced six feet apart, you’ll need to rearrange desks and computers. Many companies are also implementing one-way walkways to prevent workers from coming into close contact with one another.
If you lack quality internet coverage, connections are bound to suffer as you take on a new layout. You’ll no longer be able to get away with problematic routers. Consider investing in router extenders or even a mesh network to ensure that all employees enjoy a strong connection. This scalable solution will make it easy for you to implement changes as necessary, depending on how many employees are allowed to work onsite and where they’re able to set up shop.
Establish Stringent Security Measures for BYOD
Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) is already a popular IT solution for many companies, but some are looking to adopt it for the first time in response to the pandemic. This approach delivers impressive flexibility but comes with the notable downside of sparking security concerns. Data breaches, for example, are more likely when employees are allowed to use personal devices both in and out of the workplace. Still, BYOD may prove necessary if you intend to have employees split their time between in-person and remote work.
Risks associated with BYOD can be minimized by developing and implementing airtight protocols. Your policy should highlight which devices and apps are allowed, as well as which security features these devices should use. Your security plan should also cover how SSL certificates and other company-provided components will be handled.
Be sure to develop a plan for the worst-case scenario. For example, many businesses utilize remote wiping if devices are lost or stolen.
Level Up Your Security Software, Hardware, and IT Infrastructure
Unfortunately, many hackers have sensed opportunity during the pandemic, leaving the public that much more vulnerable to tech problems that lurked long before COVID-19 entered the lexicon. Common issues include:
- Malware downloads that resemble Zoom and other videoconferencing apps.
- Phishing emails in which malicious parties pose as officials sending information about FMLA or other policies.
- Phishing campaigns with delivery lures such as FedEx or UPS.
- Credential-harvesting spam campaigns that grant hackers access to private accounts.
Employee training is critical, of course, but a variety of technological upgrades can also reduce the potential for falling victim to COVID-19-related hacks.
To begin, take a close look at your firewall. Is it strong enough to keep malicious traffic out? This could be an excellent opportunity to invest in a next-generation firewall (NGFW), which goes beyond conventional systems to include application-level inspection and intrusion prevention.
Antivirus software is also crucial. Aim for a corporate system that provides continuous protection against today’s most sophisticated threats. And if you’re interested in taking your security system to the next level, consider investing in remote monitoring and management (RMM), which provides proactive supervision for your network security, devices, and critical endpoints. RMM is especially well-suited to setups that combine remote and onsite solutions. Under this approach, all devices can be monitored regardless of location.
Like your BYOD policy, your tech setup should include means of mitigating damage if hackers ultimately get through. A strong data backup system is especially important, as it can make your business less susceptible to ransomware attacks.
Seek Expert Computer Repair
Are you currently preparing for a safe and secure return to the workplace? The experts at NerdsToGo can help streamline your transition by providing computer support. We understand the stresses you currently face, and we also know how those feelings can be amplified if cybersecurity problems arise.
The NerdsToGo team offers the proactive approach you need during this sensitive time. Contact us at your earliest convenience to learn about our IT support and how we can help you prepare your workplace for your return.