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Bringing More Than Your Laptop Back to the Office

Working from home.  It was fun while it lasted for many of us.  Some people are scrambling to get back to the office to escape makeshift dining room desks that compete with family life and chaos, or just crave the social interaction and other structure that office environments provide.  You might be in a combination situation, where you are putting in hours both at home and in the office.  Either way, you’re back, and you’re ready to go.

So is that malware that’s been sitting on your laptop for a while.  Quietly gathering information, unbeknownst to you.  Like you, it’s been taking it a little easier while you worked from home, waiting for the alert that it is no longer on a home network, and now tied into the “mothership” of your office network. 

We know you did the best you can.  Sometimes the coffee shop was the quietest place to be, and really, the emails that you were writing didn’t contain sensitive data, so there’s no concern, right?  Unfortunately, you’re wrong.  Like most things that you look back on with regret, it only took a moment.  You turn your back – or your VPN – for one minute, and snap, it happens. 

What should you do to help to prevent any catastrophes? 

Regardless of the industry you work in, you’re a target.  So don’t go back to work thinking that you are low risk and unlikely to be the problem.  Some companies may think in advance to put policies and procedures in place, but if they don’t, there are suggestions for actions to take BEFORE you connect at work.  First, scan all devices for vulnerabilities before returning to the network.  Once you’ve scanned them, validate that all software is up to date and that there are protective measures in place moving forward.  For ongoing protection, ensure that your employees are trained on what they should look for with all emails, clicks, and views that are done on company hardware.  As a Managed Service Provider, it’s a great idea to have a conversation around this with your clients to ensure they have a plan in place for their employees who may be returning to the office, and for ongoing cybersecurity training moving forward.

While one approach would be to wipe all machines clean, when done with professional guidance, you can return to work safely by taking less dramatic action with a few steps.

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