How to Plan Your Return to the Office: 6 Steps for Securing Your IT
With the rolling out of the vaccines, things are finally starting to look a little better for 2021. There’s light at the end of the dark COVID-19 tunnel, which businesses are starting to take advantage of. If your company is also ready to resume working in an office space environment, you should take the time to plan your transition to avoid any technological setbacks carefully. Checking over your network and devices is essential for your employees’ performance and the security of your IT infrastructure. Here are our top 6 steps to securing your IT when returning to your office:
6 Steps for Securing Your IT
1. Choose an IT leader
It’s challenging to move an entire business from remote work back into an office space, even if you have a small one with few employees. There are many steps and factors to consider when transitioning, and it can be overwhelming for you to handle among your many other responsibilities. It’s best to assign one person to be in charge of the entire undertaking and delegate tasks. They’ll be the only ones in control and can make sure everyone meets the guidelines, is informed, and fulfills their assignments. Your project leader should have a firm understanding of most technical complexities and IT requirements that can affect your business in day-to-day life.
2. Review Your Office Policies and Protocols
Nearly all companies during the pandemic had to flip their business practices completely and protocols upside down. As you transition back to an in-house office, review your current policies to see if they are still applicable to your operations or if you need to update them again. Will your employees be allowed to bring and use their own devices? Will some of them come into the office while others continue to work as remote employees? Consider how you wish to change your structural organisation and whether you need to put new policies in place to protect you, your business, your employees, and your data. You should also update your safety protocols to ensure it protects your sensitive data and IT network.
3. Backup Your Data
It would be best if you were doing this throughout the entire year. The only way to fully protect yourself and your data are by regularly backing it up. Using cloud-based computing storage is ideal since you can access your files and accounts anywhere in the world. When you come back to the office and start using different computers, you need to ensure that your sensitive business data is wiped off of the employee’s personal devices. You must maintain standards and adhere to privacy regulations by deleting client information whenever applicable. Remember to back up your data correctly and keep it protected from system failures or hackers.
4. Run an Audit on Your Devices and Technology
As you move your office back into an onsite location, you’ll need to run a device audit. With it, you can decide whether your employees should keep the devices that they have been using over the past year or switch to different ones. This would be an essential step, especially if you had deployed the machines for remote work. Take some time to inspect the devices and decide whether the technology is adequate or if it needs to be upgraded to meet the demands of your employees’ work. You need to ensure that it’s secure and sufficient enough to encourage productivity and increase their efficiency. Your IT department should go over everyone’s devices and workstations to see if the systems are operating correctly or if they need improvements.
You should also conduct a review of the applications and software that your business utilises to decide whether the tech meets your tasks’ demands. Are you paying for services that you don’t even utilise or need? Many people used Zoom over the past year for remote work and meetings, even though they were already paying for the Microsoft 365 subscription package. Don’t overspend or ignore applications you already have. Check to see if it is sufficient for your needs or if your tech needs to be revamped.
5. Analyse Security Gaps
With constant remote work and personal device usage, there might be weak points in your security network. Your IT department should run an audit on these devices not only to inspect whether it’s strong enough to handle your applications but also whether it’s sufficiently protected. Test your firewalls and antivirus software and make sure they are operating correctly. Alter your IT system and increase your device monitoring to analyse any potential security gaps within your business. You don’t want your employees to have weakened your network because they mistakenly let in threats through their devices while on your network. Check their user accounts to see if they are having difficulty accessing their files and storage when back onsite.
6. Keep Your Employees Informed
It is crucial to keep your employees up-to-date with any changes in your security protocols and procedures. You don’t want any misunderstandings or lulls in their workflow because you weren’t clear on the new measures. You should also communicate ahead of time whether they need to return to the office or are allowed to continue working remotely. If need be, spend some time training and enforcing protective measures, such as deleting sensitive data or correctly using personal devices to access work accounts.
Create a plan to ensure that your business devices and accounts are correctly set up, your files are appropriately stored, and your IT network is secure. There might be some IT difficulties when moving back onsite, but you will have a much easier time helping your organisation and employees with the transition by following these steps.
If you like the sound of the ‘hands-off’ experience and having your IT and Cybersecurity taken care of by highly trained professionals, we would love to hear from you. Call our friendly team of experts on 0345 314 2001 for a relaxed chat about how we can make all this happen for you.
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