COVID-19 has had a significant impact on businesses and forced many to change the way that they work entirely. In a short span of time, companies have had to abruptly switch from fully office-based workforce to having all staff members work from home. Interruptions such as downtime, security incidents, and lower productivity levels are increasing due to these workforce changes not being optimally implemented, and businesses are left hurting.
While the coronavirus pandemic may be unprecedented, it has demonstrated how dependent companies are on their IT teams to prevent such major disruptions. A quick shift to a home-based workforce puts your IT team to the test and magnifies any weaknesses in your IT capabilities. Successful remote working requires a robust approach—now, more than ever before, your business is dependent on your IT team to deliver.
So if your IT team has failed to prepare a robust contingency plan in preparation for remote working, it’s a clear sign your business could be in trouble if you don’t seek better continuity services. From threats to your cybersecurity through to reduced productivity and system downtime, improper preparation can have significant repercussions on your business operation.
Here are five signs that your IT team may have fallen short of preparing your business for COVID-19 and what you can do about it:
1. Your Systems Are Facing Cybersecurity Risks
Protecting your business from cyberattacks should always be a priority for your IT team, but have they taken increased precautions to protect your organization during the pandemic?
In a joint warning, the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) and the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) warned businesses of the elevated risk of being targeted by cybercriminals. CISA and NCSC state: “Agencies have detected cyber criminals scanning for vulnerabilities in software and remote working tools as more people work from home during the pandemic.”
The reason for this increase is that hackers understand the abrupt nature of businesses’ switching to remote operations and know that it can lead to significant cyber vulnerabilities if not planned for and executed correctly. If your IT team has not adequately prepared cybersecurity measures to protect your company, you’re more of a target for hackers.
If you’re in this situation, it’s wise to switch to advanced managed IT services for business. A Managed Service Provider who is equipped to properly implement remote working security can address the genuine threat posed by cybercriminals during the COVID-19 outbreak and protect your systems against it.
2. You’ve Experienced Problems Accessing Data
Finding a way to allow staff to access work on files remotely without compromising security is an issue that your IT team should have addressed well before the pandemic as part of your business continuity plan.
Allowing your files to be accessed from multiple locations without implementing additional precautions leaves your data extremely vulnerable. If your IT team has failed to take measures to protect data that is accessed away from the protection of your in-house server, you need to take action.
File security can be addressed by using secure cloud computing that enables your employees to access files from anywhere and to work in real time, without jeopardizing security. VPNs are another crucial tool to protect your business if you normally rely on in-house servers. A VPN allows your staff to access files through a private network even when they are using a public internet connection. These solutions will provide you with secure ways for staff to access files from home and ensure that your data stays protected.
3. Your Team Is Dealing with Collaboration Issues
One of the most frustrating aspects of working remotely is that it makes collaboration between teams complicated. This is an issue that your IT team should have remedied before your staff began working from home.
Productivity can be significantly harmed when employees are unable to collaborate effectively from home and across many different devices. Choosing the right online collaboration tools—such as Microsoft Teams or custom software—for your business is an invaluable asset at any time, but increasingly crucial while employees are working from home. Being able to work in real time and securely share files is all possible when you have the correct collaboration tools.
4. The Communication Between Coworkers and Clients Isn’t Secure
Has your IT team implemented a reliable VoIP system to keep calls secure? If not, you are likely missing out on both cost savings and added security.
Without a VoIP telecommunications system, calls are left open to be intercepted. With so much sensitive data being shared over the phone these days, such as credit card numbers and other personal information, this leaves your business open to severe data theft.
If your IT team has overlooked the security implications of personal cell phones being used for work, this is an issue that needs to be addressed fast. Mobile security issues caused by employees using personal cell phones for business needs represent a significant risk to companies.
Using a cloud-based VoIP system will keep your employees connected, and most importantly will help keep your business secure by keeping calls private. VoIP also uses an Internet connection rather than hardwiring to connect calls, which saves you money in service fees and onsite setup fees.
5. Your Business Had No Clear Plan for Dealing with the Pandemic
The clearest sign that your IT team has fallen short of preparing you adequately for the COVID-19 pandemic is the lack of a clear business continuity plan altogether.
Your IT capabilities are the backbone of your business, and a proactive approach is crucial to keeping your company operating efficiently. IT teams need to have contingencies in place for all eventualities. System downtime and failing cybersecurity measures leave your company especially vulnerable at a time when your business depends on technology to survive. Using an IT support service will help you to improve your cybersecurity and enhance your remote working practices.
As you seek to improve your business to better handle the challenges of the current pandemic, these signs can help you recognize if you need more thorough IT servicing and planning. The most important step to ensuring your business can survive through this pandemic is to prioritize your technology, as it is likely being used for most of your business processes. Doing so will help you mitigate a range of security incidents, increase productivity, and prepare for the future.