5 Technological Pitfalls to Avoid During the Pandemic

The recent global pandemic has forced an increase in the number of people working from home, with around 20% of US workers now doing their jobs remotely. Alongside this change has come much greater risks when it comes to cybersecurity and the use of technology in business.

Many companies have had to swiftly adapt to new working practices, and as always happens when major change is forced, some best practices have fallen through the cracks. It may be time to review your systems and protocols to ensure they are still effective under these new circumstances. To help you on your way, here is a list of five common but easily avoidable pitfalls for you and your company to avoid during the ongoing pandemic.

1. Not using a VPN or the cloud to securely access data

If you aren’t using a VPN or the cloud to securely access your data, you’re missing out on a seriously useful way of protecting your company’s data. With employees working remotely, a closed network linked to office computers may simply no longer be feasible. However, you also want to avoid sending unsecured or unencrypted data across the internet, as this will leave you extremely vulnerable to attack and data theft. By using a VPN (Virtual Private Network), you are able to create a secured, private connection even across the unsecured infrastructure of the internet. This will allow you and your employees to access and interact with your data remotely, while minimizing the risks.

2. Using traditional PBX phones (use VoIP instead)

PBX stands for Private Branch Exchange, and they are the traditional phones used in most office spaces, which uses an analog, line-to-line system to connect and communicate either internally or externally. In contrast, VoIP phones, standing for Voice over Internet Protocol, use the internet to convert your voice into a digital package through your broadband. This means they are protected by the same security systems as the rest of your network. It also makes it much easier for employees working remotely to connect with those who might still be in the office.

3. Allowing BYOD without a clear security/privacy policy

BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device, allowances are one of the most dangerous and risky policies for a company to implement. The moment an external device is brought into the network, it represents a weak link in your protection. Data breaches, hacking, industrial espionage and viruses are all risks associated with BYOD.

However, with many employees working remotely, it may not be feasible to supply everyone with a company device—in these cases, BYOD may become a necessity. If so, it’s vital that you institute clear security and privacy policies around their use. This could include a requirement to install specific security software, keep the device for work-use only, and even policies about where employees are allowed to work to prevent prying eyes from seeing sensitive data.

4. Continuing to lease onsite equipment

If your entire workforce is working remotely and your offices are empty, consider where you may be able to economize. Are you leasing printers and other onsite equipment which is currently standing dusty and unused? Leasing office equipment can be highly expensive, and though it usually proves its worth, that may not be the case right now. Streamlining may be a vital factor in how businesses survive the pandemic, and you should be cutting costs wherever you can.

5. Neglecting to update your cybersecurity

The pandemic has had a striking effect on cybercrime, with online threats rising by around six times their usual levels in the month of April 2020, and hacking or phishing attempts increasing by 37%. This increase in cyber-attacks means it is more important than ever for businesses to utilize an IT company to upgrade their cybersecurity.

An effective upgrade will use a variety of methods, including a network assessment to identify present risks, followed by the installation of anti-virus software, the encryption and back-up of data, and working with you to institute effective and up-to-date policies. Protecting your business from cybercrime should be a number one priority, particularly given the increased risks as a result of the global pandemic.

Conclusion

The pandemic has caused upheaval in every area of life. Businesses have had to adapt quickly, changing practices and policies to accommodate new circumstances. Now is the time to review those policies, ensuring you are protecting your business’ digital presence and avoiding any risky pitfalls.

Chris Turn