Aside from posing a substantial worldwide health risk, research has found that Coronavirus also poses a significant security risk to businesses of all sizes.

According to reports from organisations, including the World Economic Forum (WEF), the pandemic has exposed businesses to a higher risk of cyberattacks. More specifically, the WEF has predicted that hacking attacks and phishing emails could become the new norm due to the fact more people than ever are now working from home.

Recently, the BBC surveyed 50 big employers from financial institutions to retail to gauge when employees would be asked to return to the workplace on a full time basis. Out of them, 24 firms articulated no plans to come back to the office. While 20 of them have opened their offices, it was to welcome staff who were unable to work from home.

With this trend being consistent with businesses in other cities across Britain. Companies must look at ways to improve their cybersecurity measures in the new normal of working from home. The time has come for business owners to recognise that cybersecurity should be a concerted effort from every department within the business.

Here, Ian Vickers (pictured) , Founder and CEO of next generation cyber secure cloud platform, METCloud, discusses some of the measures business owners and their employees can take to protect themselves from the immediate risks and future proof their operations from the risk of cybercrime.

Share the responsibility

Implementing new and updating existing software and systems that enable companies to operate remotely tends to be the responsibility of IT teams to execute from a practical perspective.

But from a best practice, cybersecure perspective, preventing security breaches is everybody’s priority. From making sure they’re sharing data in the right way to avoid breaches, to creating robust passwords and properly logging in and out of shared virtual drives and their own laptops and other devices. As well as sharing the responsibility, business owners should regularly provide guidance on the processes and information with their staff and keep them informed of all updates.

Maintain a GDPR mindset

Handling and processing data in the correct way, without compromising security, is central to maintaining General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance.

Just because everybody’s working at home, doesn’t mean GDPR no longer applies. If anything, it’s critical all information and data continues to be used and filed in accordance with the regulations. In fact, it’s a good starting point for businesses to make sure their remote operations are safe.

For instance, it is imperative for businesses to develop clear policies, procedures and guidance for staff who work remotely. Multi-factor authentication should be properly configured to avoid unwanted access.

Now, above any other time is the time to ensure data security. The GDPR checklist is a good resource to gain ideas and adapt to the operations of the company.

Check your connectivity

Connecting everybody to the internet in the office and making sure they can all still log on via remote access are two totally different things. Is your overall connectivity fast enough to cope with this additional strain? And, more importantly, what measures are in place to make sure it’s completely hack-proof?

Cybersecure measures, such as endpoint protection, next generation firewalls and email security ideally all need to be in place, at the very least. And it’s essential your internet connection is robust enough to enable day-to-day work to take place, as well as fuel that extra layer of necessary protection without slowing things down.

Protect all of your devices from afar

Thanks to the power of 21st century technology, it’s possible for staff to lock access to their devices, erase the data they have stored on them and get a backup of the data – remotely. All of this can be achieved, simply by installing mobile device management software that enables devices to be set up with a standard configuration, providing an extra layer of peace of mind protection in the process.

Back everything up securely

Don’t leave anything to chance. Not when there are services, such as Backup as a Service (BaaS) that enable companies to carry out backup and recovery via a highly-secure private or hybrid cloud. The alternative is to carry out backups, using a centralised, on-premises system, which is more geared up to pre-pandemic ways of working and not the new ‘norm.’

Monitor your operations

Cyberattacks are sophisticated and rapidly-evolving. One way to stay one step ahead of them is to monitor your systems and processes for any sign of vulnerability, which is what SOC-as-a-Service is designed to do. It’s essentially a subscription or software-based service that manages and monitors logs, devices, clouds and networks. It’s usually managed via a remote external security team and is considered to be a more cost-effective alternative to hiring in-house cybersecurity specialists.

The threat of cyberattacks is very real, but they aren’t inevitable, not with the right cybersecurity measures in place.

To find out more about any of the measures above or how to take more of a cyber secure approach to your remote working arrangements, contact METCloud on [email protected] or 0121 227 0730.