Andy Horn, CEO at IntraLAN

Protecting your business during this time is important. You might have had to adapt your plans and rapidly implement remote working solutions to ensure the safety of your team.

Nearly all of us are extending our workplaces into the home and opening up a world of unplanned, uncontrolled network devices that, whether accidental or not, could provide easy access to corporate systems for unscrupulous individuals.

Hackers are taking advantage of vulnerabilities and it’s important to remain vigilant.

In the current climate, thinking about the bigger picture can be difficult so it’s important to focus on controlling what you’re able to by focusing on the tangibles. Here’s what you can do as a business owner to keep your business data secure:

Help employees understand cybersecurity best practice

This should always be the first and most important tool in your armoury.

We know from experience that the majority of attacks occur due to lack of education or distraction. Many phishing attacks rely on knowledge gaps or missing procedures. This is especially true during this current situation.

Provide a thorough cybersecurity best practice guide to your employees, offer additional assistance to anyone who needs it and ensure that every employee is informed and understands the signs to look out for. Education is about guidance, not chastising people or making people feel silly for not knowing something.

Remote working can feel isolating at times so it’s important you stay in touch and communicate with staff about what they need to do to prevent a breach occurring and who they should speak to should the worst happen – the sooner you know, the faster you can resolve it.

Ensure your backup plan keeps your business working

The increase in remote working could put a strain on your systems.

Business continuity should come hand in hand with cybersecurity as keeping secure and regular backups means business can continue as usual if systems fail. There are even 4G backup options available that provide a failover solution if you or an employee’s internet goes down at home.

Make sure all software and firmware is updated

This is an easy one to communicate to employees, however it’s difficult to implement in reality.

With more endpoints, come more potential routes to breach a business. Hackers have already been trying to take advantage of vulnerabilities in video conferencing software and it’s likely they will be looking for other easy access points to exploit.

Inform employees as soon as there is a software update and provide them with the guidance they need to install immediately and keep your data secure.

Protect your sensitive data with encryption and VPN

As much as possible, it’s important to keep work activities separate and avoid downloading sensitive data onto personal devices if it can be avoided.

If your team doesn’t use work laptops or mobiles it’s crucial that you have strong encryption and provide a VPN for employees to remain compliant and ensure business data stays secure.

Sensitive data such as customer records should be encrypted to remain GDPR compliant – a fine for a data breach is the last thing anyone wants right now.

Business leaders and IT professionals have a lot on their plates but it’s important to take the time to evaluate your networks, systems, devices and applications with short and long-term solutions that strengthen cybersecurity.

But as always with cybersecurity, the key is awareness and knowledge sharing across the business.

The more your employees know, the better they can work with you to keep business data secure.