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Home Working and IT Security

by | Sep 11, 2020 | Uncategorised

Almost like a bolt out of the blue, Covid-19 invaded our daily lives and left normal daily routines, let alone working practices, completely disrupted. It may now seem a while since people experienced the shortages of tinned tomatoes and pasta in supermarkets, but the impact of Covid-19 has been with us for a while and looks set to continue for some time longer it would appear.

Almost overnight, staff were told that they would either be furloughed, or be working from home, with no time whatsoever to prepare or plan procedures and systems to manage this. Simply breaking out the home laptop and taking up residence at the dining table, resplendent in pyjamas and coffee to hand at 9.00am is becoming the new norm. Through necessity this may well be fine short term, but as the pandemic continues, business and management are having to take a look at a number of daily issues that are manifesting themselves as a result of this enforced situation, as well as implementing some essential strategies and procedures for maintaining the security of business data.

Once lines of communications and physical working areas have been established, then security of systems and protection of company data start to creep into  considerations. Home computers and broadband routers do not represent the most secure of networks, and many people do not realise just how easy it is to hack into a home internet router. Sharing ports with a variety of home-based devices can present a huge security threat. Even remote accessing devices through popular software packages can leave ports open and vulnerable to attack.

Systems Implementation to Manage Home Working IT Security

Added to the dilemma of weaknesses in IT systems designed for the home is the issue of the daily usage and storage of data. Most business have not had the time or opportunity to set up a secure VPN for home working staff, and certainly, many are only just starting to consider issues of data access and storage. What appeared to be a short-term issue is becoming something of a marathon, with many people expecting home working to become the new norm for many employees.

What needs to be done initially, and as a matter of urgency, is a risk assessment of working practises as well as the systems and infrastructure in use. Home laptops, phones and connections present critical weak areas and potential points for people intent on attacking a network, but there are also key issues with the data access of company information that is being both used and stored on local IT equipment. Shared laptops and personal mobile phones do not represent ideal security environments.

Data Management and Data Storage for Home Workers

There will be different hierarchy levels of data security and access in most business in place, but Covid-19 threw these working practices out of the window. Suddenly workers at home had to adapt as quickly as possible to ensure continuity of productivity, and security most likely took second place to productivity and continuity.

As the Covid dust settles a little, businesses are now considering not just data security but also data access and management as well as data disposal. Simply deleting documents on home laptops is not a solution in many instances where sensitive data is being accessed. And in the event of failure of personal IT equipment, a policy needs to be in place  to manage the data as well as the device disposal and replacement. 

Managing Data Access and Storage – What Businesses Should be Doing

As the pandemic looks to be around for some time, it is becoming a requirement for businesses to implement and manage processes to address security for homeworkers, data access, data storage and the end of life of IT equipment solutions. Very few businesses have had the opportunity to supply home workers with business owned IT equipment, let alone set up secure VPNs behind firewalls, and there may well be potential issues that arise from the use and any potential damage to personal equipment being employed for business purposes.

Downloading viruses, or having personal equipment damaged whilst using it for business use may well bring a wave of claims for not just new equipment, but also for the loss or damage to personal files and photographs stored on those devices.

Making IT security decisions, creating and implementing strategies and adhering to them has never been more important and, in some instances mission critical than in these current times. Plan for the immediate future and ensure that staff do not become wholly responsible for any security breaches or leakage of data through no fault of their own.

With the forthcoming months bringing uncertainty around your organisations IT requirements, home working, office closures and office relocation’s, tier1 are here to help and we are offering new services to ensure that you can plan and prepare, for all eventualities.
Contact us today on 0161 777 1000 or visit https://www.tier1.com to find out more.

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