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What can I do to improve the Cyber Security in my business in a post-pandemic environment?

When COVID-19 hit the UK shores back in March 2020, the face of business was changed forever when we were all placed into a national lockdown as employees had to be sent home to work remotely indefinitely. For some businesses, remote working was already a thing which was being adopted on an occasional basis so simply had to be upped to being full time so didn’t require many changes at all. However, for the majority of businesses this represented a major challenge as many didn’t have the infrastructure in place to enable their employees to work from home.  

As a result of COVID-19, many businesses found it difficult to source laptops as the supply chain had been severely impacted. This in itself represented a significant challenge for the IT teams in businesses all over the UK who had to somehow manage systems from the personal devices of their employees. 

What Cyber Security threats will businesses face in 2022? 

The biggest threat to businesses in the world around remote working is the constant security threats that are associated with doing so. Most businesses rushed into getting people working but didn’t have time to consider the cyber security issues that could arise as a result of doing so. 

Please find our top 3 cyber security risks to businesses working remotely. 

Shadow IT on the rise 

It goes without saying but remote working has seen Shadow IT on the rise as a result. Employees have been completing tasks remotely by using apps and software that hasn’t been vetted by the IT team. To give you an example of this, team collaboration & screen-sharing software have been installed by employees to help them work much more effectively and efficiently. 

However with doing this has posed serious problems for the IT team around IT security which consists of data losses, financial risks or compliance issues. 

In order to remain in control of this and reduce the risk, businesses need to regularly complete IT audits of apps that are being used by employees offsite. After these have been completed, software identified as posing a risk would need to be removed. Furthermore, employees would need to be informed of the threats surrounding installing software or systems without the prior consent of the IT team. Better still, your employees would need to be encouraged to be honest about the software that they use to do their job. As well as this, the IT team in your business would also need to consider having secure cloud solutions that would work for all stakeholders of the business. 

The risks posed by insiders 

This happens when ex-employees, current employees or contractors that have inside information about the business’s cybersecurity leak data to people outside of the business. The types of insider leak can be split into one of two categories: someone that does it on purpose and someone that leaks data by mistake through poor work practices. 

This is a trend that has very much been on the rise particularly during the pandemic as potential malicious insiders working from home have had access to vast quantities of potentially sensitive data from the comfort of their own home. 

This is where your IT team can come in to make sure that they are keeping an eye on things at all times particularly across key data sources. This way they would be able to easily identify those individuals accessing the data to stop anything happening. 

The breaches from personal devices 

Before the pandemic, employees had been working in the office on desktop PCs and the thought of taking them home to use them was completely out of the question. In other cases, applications were only permitted to be accessed from inside the office space within a stone’s throw away from a server. As we’ve mentioned earlier, laptop shortages made this even more troublesome. 

The difficulties have come as a result of IT staff having to setup up employees with VPNs from their own personal devices to allow work to be completed. However, this in itself has led to even more security problems for businesses. The use of anti-virus and anti-malware software which had been used on work desktops is no longer available on personal devices opening up businesses to breaches. 

As well as this, the need for regular updates to be provided and secure passwords to be used has fallen by the wayside. This had a significant knock-on effect as more devices have been compromised, making installing dangerous applications much higher. 

In order to stop this from happening, businesses need to be able to easily identify these risks and the threats associated with using devices. VPNs from personal devices need to be stopped as they can make it easy for ransomware attacks to occur. Any potentially sensitive data should be encrypted to avoid falling fowl of the regulations set out by GDPR and where employees are able to use personal devices as well as systems that provide cloud access without data being actively held on the device should be included. 

Next Steps? 

If you are a business that is looking to improve your overall IT security, nullify any Cyber Security threats or looking to meet the COVID challenges head on with Advantage then please give our IT team a call today to discuss how we can help you to protect your business. 

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