Cybersecurity and the ‘next normal’

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Cybersecurity is of course nothing new, but the need for upgraded cybersecurity systems has never been more apparent than it is now. While more and more have been working from home – a trend which is highly likely to continue long-term – cybercrime has been on the rise, as hackers have taken advantage of vulnerable IT systems which were not adapted to non-office based working or the blurring of private and professional lives, which means that employees are accessing work-related information on devices which may have security weaknesses.

Ways of working have been transformed and much more is required to raise employees’ awareness of potential cyber threats and personal responsibility whilst working at home.

The new normal means that work and home life is now merged, with personal phones being used for business calls and business data stored on personal devices. Although employees have a personal responsibility to keep business data safe through online safety practices, companies also have a responsibility to create a secure cyber infrastructure for them to work within. Working practices are becoming more fragmented and adopting good online safety polices has never been more important. Organisations must be forward thinking, adopting long term measures, not just short-term practices to adapt to the sudden shift to agile working.

As we move to the next normal, updated user awareness training is vital. Humans make mistakes, forget things and often fall for fraudulent practices. User awareness training involves a formal process of educating employees about how to handle computer security, ensuring that proper procedures are followed, thereby reducing risk and keeping your organisation’s data safe.

As the perimeter of our business environment has changed, we must also think about issues surrounding GDPR and compliance. Despite a huge recent overhaul in GDPR regulations, businesses may need to review once again how they are processing data in this new world.

Data protection is more important than ever in the next normal. Devices, both company-owned and personal, are synchronised with corporate networks to gain access to official information. This information needs to be guarded in several ways – mainly through encryption, antivirus and a decent firewall.

Device encryption is the process of scrambling text to render it unreadable to unauthorised users, therefore keeping data safe from cyber criminals. Anti-virus software scans, detects and prevents suspicious files and software infiltrating systems. A firewall acts as a shield between your network and the world wide web. It monitors the incoming and outgoing traffic and prevents suspicious packets from entering the network.

In the next normal, online backups will also become more important to protect business information from theft, fire or other kinds of disaster. Several copies of data in different locations, including cloud storage, provides the assurance that all your information has protection if an unfortunate incident occurs.

We have transformed over 2,000 clients’ organisations through cloud-based solutions that are tailored to enhance efficiency, flexibility, security and customer loyalty, and we would always recommend that businesses ask themselves what their next normal is. Business leaders must understand that. How they want employees to work in the future is essential to build in long-term business resilience through the correct cyber security solutions that flex and change in line with your company. In today’s world, there is simply no excuse for short term solutions.

Matt Parker Chief Executive