Although we are all still feeling a lot of uncertainty, as a nation we’ve called upon our resilience and are adapting to what we’ve got. It is becoming clear that the old normal won’t return for some time, and that technology will continue to be the business superhero powering that all important flexibility.

Now is the time to make the first steps of building a roadmap for the future, beginning with shoring up your IT infrastructure. Keep reading for the top 8 IT priorities that we recommend you address right now.

 

Hardware maintenance:

Whether it’s upholding essential infrastructure for our NHS or enabling small businesses to push through with online sales, IT hardware is working harder than ever – which calls for robust maintenance. Hardware maintenance is essential to ensuring that your business systems will remain highly available, and you can continue servicing customers and processing sales.

Although larger projects are inevitably on hold at present, in the immediate term look at extending manufacturer’s support or purchasing third party support (such as our hardware support managed service). Having this support service in place will help maximise a hardware asset’s lifespan – especially that involved in remote working infrastructure and order processing. We also recommend checking that emergency on-site hardware break/fix support is in place for ultimate peace of mind.

Read more about hardware maintenance here.

 

Bring Your Own Device:

A sudden move to home working has caused Bring Your Own Device use to rise. Although we’re grateful for modern technology (even more so in these times of self-isolation), there are risks with BYOD, among the amazing positives.

It is worth reviewing Bring Your Own Device usage policies with all remote staff, making sure you cover how to safely connect to the corporate network using a VPN, the importance of refraining from mixing work and personal devices and data protection best practice.

Watch or share our BYOD in 60 seconds video here.

 

Fraud awareness:

IT is helping us work remotely, connect with colleagues and remain safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. But cybercriminals are exploiting the crisis – and the very technology that is helping us to retain business operations while socially distancing – to target companies and consumers with fraudulent communications.

When it comes to fraud – such as phishing emails and scam text messages – colleague education is your best form of defence. Keep IT users in the loop with the latest scams in circulation and consider arranging a remote training session or even running some fake phishing email tests to help raise awareness and build vigilance.

We’ve compiled the latest and most prevalent COVID-19 scams here.

Cybersecurity:

This leads us into cybersecurity, which we’re all understandably concerned about at present. The last thing we all need is a cyberattack causing systems downtime, inaccessible applications and stolen data or finances. To identify any vulnerabilities in your cybersecurity defence, K3 advises booking a remote security audit as a priority.

This should cover policies, accounts and passwords, network, perimeter software, databases, backup, disaster recovery plus connected hardware, operating systems and applications, and provide a risk score and comprehensive report. K3’s remote security audit can be completed in just 2 working days.

Read about what our audit includes here and check out what we uncovered in one unsuspecting business here.

 

Data management:

When your colleagues went out into the world of remote working alone – and potentially for the first time – you armed them with the tools to process, store and access company and customer data safely, and in line with your policies. But this does not necessarily guarantee that everything was done by the book.

So, now is the time to review any new sensitive data added to the network and confirm with users that they aren’t storing any data on their device, or a personal cloud platform. You should also check that multi-factor authentication is implemented for any systems and applications that handle this data, particularly when accessed via smartphones and other portable devices.

 

Backing up:

With companies needing to adapt quickly and efficiently to overcome the COVID-19 crisis, many have made the pragmatic decision to use cloud-based Microsoft 365, whether utilising current subscriptions in greater capacity or signing up for the first time. However, did you know that Microsoft 365 products do not fully back up files – if data is deleted from SharePoint, for example, it’s gone forever.

Microsoft have a “shared responsibility” model which means although they offer data storage replication and redundancy, they aren’t responsible for restoring any data lost through intrusion attacks or user error. To ensure you’re not at risk of data loss, we recommend a tailored Microsoft 365 Backup product.

Check out K3’s Microsoft 365 Backup here.

 

Firewalls:

With the vast majority of colleagues accessing your network remotely and depending on the internet to do their jobs, your corporate firewall has never been more important. As such, now is an ideal time to review firewall configurations (after all, misconfiguration is the main cause of firewall failure) to check they’re appropriate for current conditions, or even consider upgrading.

The latest firewall products for businesses are flexible to individual user needs, allowing you to establish a resilient structure that’s suited to various activities being undertaken in your organisation.

For example, the latest SonicWall client allows a greater range of firewall rules to be applied to a local device, such as separate rules for accessing the network, using Zoom or homeschooling.  Newer firewalls are also deploying machine learning and artificial intelligence traits to become better at identifying and blocking internet-based threats.

 

Disaster recovery:

When disaster inevitably strikes, an effective plan could mean the difference between an hour of downtime and the doors permanently closing. All businesses have disaster recovery plans of varying degrees of detail. But, if the plan does not reflect the current state of play in your company – including its reliance on IT – you’re putting business continuity, data protection and financial stability at enormous risk.

Given our upmost dependent on technology during the COVID-19 pandemic, we recommend revisiting your DR plan and making any necessary adjustments. If you need a hand getting started, read our How to Create a Disaster Recovery Plan blog here. Or, compare how a disaster advances in a prepared business versus a vulnerable one here.

 

Do you need help implementing the IT tasks discussed in this blog? If the answer is yes, please email enquiries@k3btg.com or call 0844 579 0800 to speak to a K3 consultant.

by Craig Bradshaw

Head of Account Management

A technology enthusiast working in the Technology industry for almost 20 years, looking to deliver exceptional customer experience.

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