Bringing Work Computers Back to the Office: How to Reconnect Work Computers to the Office Network Without Compromising Security
Most companies didn't have employees take the computer from their office desk home when the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders went into effect, but some didn't have a choice.
Buying and deploying company laptops for every employee at a moment’s notice wasn’t feasible, and that’s okay. You had to keep operations running and avoid downtime, so employees took their desk computers home in a hurry to stay productive.
Now, you may be getting ready for employees to come back to the office and you’re wondering what (if anything) needs to be done to safely bring those computers back onto your office network.
We’re here to help you get those computers back online at your office when the time is right, without compromising security.
Here Are 3 Steps You Should Take Before Reconnecting “Dirty” Computers to Your Network:
1. Have Employees Remove Personal Data
It’s only natural that personal data – photos, documents, files – ends up on work computers when they’re brought into an employee’s home. It might have been used as their primary computer for personal matters too.
There could be attachments downloaded from personal emails, family photos, receipts, tax documents, and who knows what else, on your company-owned computers.
You don’t want the risks that come with that data. You also don’t want to back up that data once those devices are reconnected to your network.
Ask employees to check their desktop, as well as their downloads, documents, and pictures folders, and remove anything that isn’t work-related.
2. Check User Permissions
Computers have permissions settings to make sure only designated users can do certain things with the computer, like download new programs. This ensures the user doesn’t download anything that contains hidden malware or is against company policy.
When these computers went home, it may have been necessary to give local administrator rights to the employee so they could do what they needed to at home. This may have been the right move at the time, but when that device to comes back to your business network, it should be disabled again if that user doesn’t need admin rights.
3. Do a Computer Health Check
Just like we’re doing “health checks” on ourselves before returning to the office to make sure we don’t bring illness in with us, your computers need it too. Your IT team should run through a series of checks to make sure the computers are fit to go back on your network
They’ll make sure the computer has the proper software installed so they can monitor and manage it on the network moving forward. They’ll scan it for security threats and remove anything dangerous. And they’ll make sure everything is up to date (antivirus, patches, applications, etc.) so any security holes related to outdated software are plugged.
Worst case scenario: the machine may have to be reformatted depending on what IT finds during their check.
When you’re ready to bring computers back to the office, let your IT support team know. Please don't try to do this yourself unless you’re an IT professional. It may sound simple, but missing a step could put your company in a vulnerable IT security position.
If Accent Computer Solutions is your IT support team, reach out to your Technology Advisor to develop your "Return to Work" strategy. We’ll make a plan to review the devices and safely get them back on the network.
There’s a lot of uncertainty in the world right now, but you can rest easy knowing there’s a plan to bring your computers back to the office without compromising security.