As we continue to navigate the effects of COVID-19, newly remote offices are being presented with new challenges for their IT infrastructure and cybersecurity.
But, with the crisis bringing chaos to the economy, superfluous IT investments aren’t an option for many small businesses. This means that business owners are often walking a fine line between avoiding overspending and funding necessary updates to their infrastructure.
For those considering how to prioritize updates their infrastructure on a budget, here’s what we suggest:
DO: Review Your VPN Needs
If your employees need a secure Internet connection to and from their private networks, there's really no substitute for a VPN (virtual private network). VPNS allow users to connect their devices to a physical or virtual concentrator or firewall in the organization’s network.
Over the years, VPNs have continued to grow in popularity by serving as a reliable, effective way to secure sensitive information and prevent potential cyberattacks.
Now that your business may be working remotely, consider if your VPN solution has the bandwidth and licenses to continue to support all of your employees’ connections as they’re working from home.
If it’s been a few years since you originally chose your VPN and you realize it’s no longer doing the job, check out the latest ratings of top VPNs here.
DON’T: Forget to Update Your Software
One key action to keep your data safe is to make sure your systems are consistently updated. Without the security patches or bug fixes these updates provide, your devices could be vulnerable to attacks.
Remind your employees to stay timely with any updates of your:
- Anti-virus programs
- Anti-malware programs
- Internet browsers
- Operating systems
- Necessary work applications
- Cloud storage systems
This is also the time to review your current anti-virus and malware systems. Are they still keeping your computer adequately protected? You may want to do a little research and see how your programs stack up against the current competition.
DO: Protect Your Passwords
As we previously mentioned, cyberhackers aren’t missing out on the wealth of opportunity this global crisis has provided. Phishing and ransomware schemes have ramped up, and even platforms from trustworthy companies like Microsoft are being targeted.
Many of these cybercriminals can get access to people’s computers through insecure passwords. In order to optimize the safety of your passwords, it’s important to change them with regularity, along with taking additional safety precautions like enabling multi-step authentication.
It’s also a good idea to invest in a password manager for your company, keeping your passwords more secure and your data less vulnerable.
DON’T: Fall Behind on Employee Training
It doesn’t matter how effective your IT infrastructure and cybersecurity systems are – if your employees aren’t taking the necessary precautions to stay safe online, your business is at risk.
A major component of cybersecurity is ensuring that your employees are engaging in safe internet habits. This includes:
- Not opening suspicious emails or attachments
- Knowing the signs of potential hacks or phishing schemes
- Reporting unusual activity right away
- Staying off websites your VPN considers dangerous
- Keeping password information secure
- Storing information in secured cloud storage or external local solutions
Keeping your employees trained doesn’t have to drain your budget, either. Plenty of helpful cybersecurity training materials are available for free online, like our webinar for avoiding common cybersecurity mistakes.
DO: Get Advice From a Managed Services Provider
With remote employees on different networks, browsers and devices, the methods that once kept your vulnerable business information protected are being spread thin. Even on a budget, it’s important to prioritize the right cybersecurity measures for your company that will keep your data safe.
That’s why it’s time to consider a managed services provider (MSP). Investing in a qualified MSP ensures that your company will be safe whether your employees are back in the office, on the road for business trips or (most likely, for the time being) working from home.
They can also work with your budget and recommend the best updates for your current IT infrastructure and financial situation. This way, you can be sure you’re only making the most important investments and getting the most out of your money.
How Can We Help?
Whether your company needs a hand with employee cybersecurity training or you’re ready to invest in a managed services provider that fits your needs, we’re ready to discuss your company’s unique needs.
In the meantime, you can get started on your infrastructure updates with our Technology Roadmap Guide. This free download will help you:
- Prioritize your technology needs
- Create a summary of your current infrastructure
- Identifying your IT challenges and more