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Returning to Work Post-Lockdown: 4 Security Steps Employees Need to Take

NEWS BITES / 08.07.20 / Natasha Rohner
We’ve all felt it. That looming anxiety associated with those half-feared, half-longed-for words arriving in your company email inbox: “Return to the office.” What will your office look like post-lockdown? What kinds of new physical and digital security policies will you have to follow? And more importantly, how are you going to drink your morning cup of coffee while wearing a mask?

All these questions and more are covered in DarkReading’s latest post on the keys to a safe return to the post-quarantine office. This report makes an important point: in the coming weeks and months as our collective workplaces start to reopen, we’re all going to have to get used to more restrictive policies than we have been following at home – and I’m not just talking about getting back into your skinny jeans. Here is what the experts have to say on what we can expect on our return to the office:

#1: Returning to ‘normal’ office security protocols
"If and when people come back to the office, they will need to get a few things back in order from a security perspective," says James McQuiggan, security awareness advocate at KnowBe4. "At home, they've been relaxed, wearing sweats and being casual. Back in the office, they will have to start using their access badge to gain entry into the building, and they will need to bring that with them every day." 

#2: What’s on YOUR laptop desktop?
A major challenge facing IT teams upon our return to work is the fact that employees left out there ‘in the wild’ for so long may have tampered with their computer settings, to ease the strain on limited or weak home WiFi. They may have turned off automatic updates or installed unpatched or outdated software. As a result, "systems coming back online should be audited and updated in accordance with organizational standards," says Joe Dibley, security researcher at Stealthbits Technologies.

#3: Remember to use your lock screen
At home, the main threat to your work data is likely to be your keyboard-walking cat. Returning from a lunchbreak to find your carefully worded email to your boss has been replaced by ‘yyZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZyy” is a work-from-home cliché we’ve all become used to. But back at the office, a five-minute water-cooler break is more than enough for an unscrupulous delivery person to get a good look at your unlocked screen and at whatever you’re working on – whether it’s your LastPass® login screen or confidential customer financial records.

#4: Trust in Zero Trust
Following the move from office to home, security and IT teams most likely will have paid a great deal of attention to securing each employee’s endpoint. Moving back to the office shouldn’t mean that all that good work is reversed. Ali Golshan, CTO and co-founder of StackRox, agrees. "Organizations should implement additional controls that help them move toward a zero-trust model, as many of these efforts were likely started when remote/work-from-home trends kicked off earlier in the year," he says. "An organization is inherently more secure and flexible if it can apply zero-trust principles successfully from its endpoints all the way to its cloud applications."

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Natasha Rohner

About Natasha Rohner

Principal Threat Research Publisher, BlackBerry

Natasha Rohner is Principal Threat Research Publisher of the BlackBerry Blog, BlackBerry’s cybersecurity publication.

As an internationally published author, writer, and editor, Natasha has 25 years of experience in both traditional and digital publishing. An avid science fiction fan, she's published 8 novels for large media companies such as Rebellion and New Line Cinema, including the official book adaptations of Hollywood movie franchises such as Blade, Final Destination, and Nightmare on Elm Street. Her original horror trilogy Dante’s Girl was published by Solaris, a division of gaming giant Games Workshop.

Natasha’s books have been translated into 9 languages including French, Polish, and Italian, and she's appeared as a guest speaker on author panels at Comic-Con in California. She has a BA Honors degree in Film Production from the University of Wales that she has literally never used.