Returning to the office: 10 cybersecurity steps you must take first

David FlemingChief technology officer, Mitigo

David Fleming, Chief Technology Officer at Mitigo, gives his 10 top tips to help firms avoid a cyber incident and reduce the risk of a breach when returning to the office.

The move to remote working in March caused a spike in firms falling victim to damaging cyber attacks, including ransomware and email account takeovers. I now fear, as staff start to return to the office, that even bigger issues may lie ahead.

The things which would keep me awake at night are:

  • malicious software being introduced back into the office by ‘dirty’ devices
  • security protection failing, leaving known vulnerabilities
  • data being lost or compromised in the move
  • staff bringing digital behaviour into the office that is inappropriate and dangerous

Make these actions your priority:

  1. Roll out staff cybersecurity refresher training prior to an office return, and review / tighten browser controls.
  2. Work laptops, computers, and drives (including USBs) should have a full anti-virus scan before returning.
  3. Bring work mobile phones, laptops and computers up to the latest O/S versions.
  4. Once reconnected to the secure network, ensure that anti-virus software has updated and is reconnected to its central control.
  5. Personal computers and phones should only be connected to a properly separated guest WiFi.
  6. Review and re-enable automated software and O/S updates processes, as necessary.
  7. Remove remote connection software and ports and retain by exception only.
  8. Consolidate personal data and confidential information to follow existing company policy. Check for temporary use of cloud collaboration platforms.
  9. Review back-up configuration needs, to ensure it is working effectively and securely.
  10. Check local and external firewall configuration, ensuring alerting is directed appropriately.

There is of course more to do, but if you do the above well, it will dramatically reduce your risk. If you do not understand any parts of it, seek appropriate advice from a cybersecurity specialist.

The Law Society has partnered with Mitigo to offer technical and cyber security services with exclusive discounts for our members. For more information contact Mitigo on 020 8191 9205 or email lawsociety@mitigogroup.com.

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