Technology and working: discussing the latest trends

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Every business is digital in some way. It could be that all your meetings take place online, your files are all stored in the Cloud, or that you simply use email as your main form of communication with your clients. No matter what industry you’re in, you will likely be having to use technology to do your day job.

In a fast-paced digital environment, it’s important to know what the latest trends are, and no one knows this better than the expert team at Sure Business. We sat down with Iain Davidson, Head of Enterprise Products, and Joe McCusker, Group Professional Services and Product Director, to talk remote working, cybersecurity and more.

What do you think is the biggest change in the digital landscape in recent times?

Joe McCusker: The digital environment is reflective of our real-world experiences, so the changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic are undoubtedly the greatest we’ve seen in some time. Just as society was changed almost overnight back in 2020, so too was technology. The pandemic accelerated digital transformation massively, and many of those changes are still with us now, like working from home and remote working.

Iain Davidson: Joe’s right, the flexibility around working now is a huge difference. However, I do think we’d have got here eventually. Hybrid and home working was around before 2020, it was just for the select few: either management level or those working in IT who were comfortable with the technology required.

What are the challenges of hybrid working models for businesses?

ID: Businesses of all sizes have spent years putting sophisticated protections in place and locking down their networks, and now they find their people working on their home networks, which the business has no control over. Understandably, home networks are not as secure as business ones so employers have to have a degree of trust in their employees’ setups.

JM: When working in the comfort of your own home it’s completely natural that you feel more relaxed; that’s great and it’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it might mean you’re less vigilant than you would be at work as you’re in a different mindset. Employers need to find a way to ensure that their employees remain alert to threats when at home just as they would be at work.

Are cyber criminals reacting to people working in different ways and from different places?

JM: Cyber threats are constantly evolving, these criminal actors are always looking for new ways to access networks and data, so any social changes are bound to be noticed by them. Working remotely definitely gives them different routes that they’ll look to exploit.

ID: Attempts to scam people, get access, and steal information are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and change all the time. Ransomware is one example where we’ve seen an evolution in strategy from criminals: previously they’d gain access to your data, steal it, and ransom it back to you. Now they get into your data and change it – just small things here and there – and not tell you what they’ve done until you pay them. Imagine if you’re a bank and they’ve changed a whole series of customer direct debits and you have no idea which ones, that can have serious implications.

What can people do to keep themselves safe when working remotely?

JM: Keep all your devices updated, patch laptops and phones whenever they require it to keep the security measures up-to-date. Don’t log onto random coffee shop networks all the time, these are rarely secure. Use a VPN – most devices have an inbuilt free one you can use.

ID: Password management is so important. It is staggering but true that the most common password in the world is still ‘password’. Use at least 8-10 digits for a password, or use a password manager to generate completely random ones for you. Change your passwords every 90 days or so, perhaps more often for the really important things like internet banking.

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