The world has changed over the past two years, and almost overnight in March 2020, the UK’s workforce started working from home and employees scrabbled to find a suitable place in their home to set up their IT equipment.

At the time this seemed like it was going to be a temporary solution but then in 2021 we were introduced to the hybrid mode of working where people worked both at home and on business premises.

Both of these changes posed challenges to IT teams across the country as first they had to find enough equipment to send the staff home, and then to ensure there was equipment both in the office and portable, along with the licencing, networking and security challenges in the background.

2022 is a year that we all realise that this hybrid method of working is the norm going forward, and that in many industries returning to the office on a full-time basis isn’t going to happen. This means all the temporary IT solutions which have been in place since March 2020 have to be changed for something more permanent and sustainable.

Security

The biggest change to make is with security as hackers and cyber criminals have seen the pandemic as an opportunity and therefore attacks have increased. In 2021 it is said that cyber attacks on corporate networks increased by 50% on 2020 with an average of 925 attacks per week per organisation, and one in 61 organisations being a victim of ransomware.[1]

This is not going to reduce in 2022. With everyone online for everything (personal, business, leisure, shopping and investments) the pickings are too easy for the cyber criminals.

So, in 2022, make it your New Year’s resolution to make life harder for the criminals. To do this when working from home, you need to make sure your networks, internet connections and devices areas secure as possible. Here are five tips on making working from mobile devices (laptops, phones) more secure.

1.  Unsecured connections – No matter what other security systems you have in place, if you are using an unsecured public network (e.g., free Wi-Fi in a coffee shop) then you are leaving your network open to criminals.

2.  Virtual private network(VPN) – A VPN can enable remote staff to connect with the company network securely whilst giving them access to everything they would have in the office. VPNs are safer than home networks as data is encrypted as it is sent over the Wi-Fi, and then it is filtered through company servers.

3.  Firewalls – All PCs / laptops should have a firewall installed which prevents any unauthorised access to the machine by filtering access to and from the internet. Whilst disabling a firewall may allow you to access Facebook on a business machine, it also leaves it vulnerable to cyber criminals.

4.  Malware protection – Installing anti-malware and ransomware software is essential to keep your devices safe. Once malware or ransomware is on a machine it can steal, delete or encrypt data and can be costly for your business.

5.  Secure Logins – It’s suggested that we all have about 100 live logins at any one time with different applications, online shops and devices. As 100 passwords are too many to remember most people use the same ones. Although not ideal if these passwords are complex with more than eight characters and a mix of upper and lower case, numbers and special characters it makes it harder for criminals to gain access. To make it even more difficult for the hackers, multi-factor authentication should be used wherever it is available. This means in addition to a strong password the user will be asked for another piece of information, a code, or to click on a verification email link to log in.

By starting 2022 by implementing these five security tips you will start the year on the right track. If you’re uncertain whether your systems are secure or would like some help securing them give SupportWise a call today.

[1] https://www.itpro.co.uk/security/cyber-attacks/361944/cyber-attacks-on-corporate-networks-increased-50-in-2021