As the coronavirus pandemic continues, one thing organisations can count on is cybercriminals making the most of this stressful and uncertain time by expanding the scope and capabilities of their attacks.

Many companies have already sent employees home to work remotely in response to concerns about the coronavirus, and thousands more likely will follow suit until concerns about the contagion ease.

The need to send employees home to work is understandable, but companies must make sure they have secure IT solutions in place to keep their businesses safe and secure. With the right network security, data storage and application delivery solutions, you can rest assured that your business is protected from the growing number of threats posed on a daily basis.

Here’s just a few things you and your employees can do to help make sure your business is safe and protected:

Provide secure devices for your employees

It's common for employees to use their personal devices instead of the ones supplied for them by the business. When employees use their own devices, they could potentially cause harm to the business by allowing corporate data to be stored on a less secure computer. We recommended that employees only use devices that have been provided by their organisation, as these should be properly protected with antivirus, web filtering, firewalls, and other preventative software.

Set up firewalls

Firewalls act as a line defence to prevent threats entering your system. They create a barrier between your device and the internet by closing ports to communication. This can help prevent malicious programs entering and can stop data leaking from your device. If you don’t have a built-in firewall or are looking for some added protection, our team at Custard can help set this up for your business.

Use a VPN when you are working remotely

One very simple way to keep your data safe when working remotely is it to use a VPN. Any unprotected internet connection is a risk, and a VPN encrypts all of your internet traffic, so that it is unreadable to anyone who intercepts it. This keeps it away from the prying eyes of any snoopers, including your Internet Service Provider (ISP), government agencies, or hackers.

Install updates regularly

Updates to device software and other applications can be a source of annoyance, but they really are important. Updates often include patches for security vulnerabilities that have been uncovered since the last iteration of the software was released. In many cases, you can set updates to run automatically, so you don’t have to worry about downtime.

Enable two factor authentication on your device

It’s pretty obvious now that passwords are no longer the best form of security to prevent criminals from gaining access to data. Two factor authentication is a password and another form of security, which could be anything from; a retina scan, thumbprint, pin number, security question or a text verification code. There are numerous forms of security to choose from, and an even more powerful method of security is multi factor authentication, which is usually 3-4 different types of security, with one of them being your password.

Lock your devices

If you do have to work in a public space, or if you live with people who you can’t share work information with, then it’s important to keep your device secure. Password-locking your device will usually encrypt its contents until someone enters the password.

Look out for fraudulent emails

When working away from the office, employees will naturally turn to email when communicating with colleagues, making it even more important for them to be able to spot fraudulent messages. Raising awareness around phishing emails and email best practice are great ways of mitigating these threats, as well as policies around what information should not be involved in this method of correspondence. It will also be worth looking into chat apps like Microsoft Teams or Slack as a great alternative to email communication within the business.

Continue to train employees on the risks

Organisations must continue to communicate with their employees to train them on what to be aware of and exactly how to respond if they think something is a risk. And while some organisations may find ways to whether the storm with minimal changes, with an extended outbreak, even more organisations will have to enable work from home so the attack base would theoretically grow.

Make the most of support from your Managed Service Provider (MSP)

At times like these, working with your MSP will help ensure you have the support needed to enable your employees to work from home effectively, with a dedicated team of friendly IT support specialists on hand. Make sure your MSP has a way to see and check what users are doing on their devices to ensure patches and updates are made and help troubleshoot and analyse any issues that arise while working from home.

Now more than ever, there is a real need for MSPs who can help organisations with a solid work from home plan, as well as offer much needed support to employees who will be working remotely over the next few weeks. Contact our friendly team to see how Custard can help your business, as the need to work from home becomes more essential.