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What happens when remote workers return ‘Home’ to the office?

12 April, 2021

There is finally light at the end of the tunnel thanks to the Covid vaccines. The long pandemic has isolated companies from their employees, and people from their friends and family. Pedab has played a small, but nevertheless important role, by enabling Pfizer’s Covid vaccine testing through the work we have done with Signant Health, as they ramped up to large scale vaccine testing programs for Pfizer and data collection devices thereto. You can read more about that case here.

Challenges await
The general optimism of returning to a new normal has some dark clouds lingering above, as many employees left for remote work unprepared. In the organizations were remote work was not commonplace before the pandemic, IT management will surely have some interesting times ahead. Many “remotees” have not accessed the company networks since the beginning of the pandemic, as various cloud services have tended to their needs. Petabytes of data is eagerly waiting to get home. Some of it may be years old and have seen the world having circled the globe via multitude of public cloud services by the time it is backed up in the office network.

This phenomena exposes several risks to the data itself, as well as to companies and their IT integrity. Data may be lost forever, if it only resides on remote employees’ devices or its distribution and versioning may be impossible to trace if it has only been accessed in the cloud. These issues, however challenging they may be, are manageable by enforcing appropriate data policies and emphasizing good data governance.

Far more troublesome are the related data- and IT-security issues like recovering all the shadow data, which have been on the loose for so long, or the crypto virus threat that all inbound data introduces. It is predicted that cyber security teams will be overwhelmed when their remote employees return to office and start uploading all their data from their various devices, apps and public cloud services.

How to ensure a smooth transition
Those who have served in the military know that by maximizing the “depth of defense” enemies are usually consumed long before they reach their target. In the case of “remotes comeback”, i.e. the workforce returning to on premises mode, that strategy translates to versatile remote device and software management. The remotes’ devices need to be managed before they come in contact with the office network. The data therein needs to be verified void of troubles before it is uploaded onto the company databases and other repositories. And lastly; all the users need to be reeducated on cyber security policies and processes in effect under these exceptional conditions again, before they return back “home” to the office.

All this is best done with PEDAB endpoint management services, which can be delivered as a stand-alone solution to mitigate this particular issue or as a part of our SOC (i.e. security operations service). The SOC is important to get a more holistic cyber security experience, providing counter measures on all depths of defense when the endpoints return home to on premise.

Get in touch if you want to learn more!