IT security experts are warning businesses to take steps to combat hackers as working from home becomes more common during the Covid-19 pandemic.

TruStack, based in Cramlington, specialises in Agile Working Solutions and Cybersecurity and has enabled hundreds of organisations to work from home during the recent lockdowns.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics show a quarter of all employees are currently working from home (https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/coronavirustheukeconomyandsocietyfasterindicators/latest#social-impacts-of-the-coronavirus-on-great-britain), but this number could increase if more areas are put under tighter regulations in the coming months.

Now TruStack’s experts have warned that many businesses may not realise the full security implications of its employees moving from working in an office to working from home.

Technical Director Russell Henderson said: “Business data of all types is of value and anybody can be a target, with methods of stealing this data more sophisticated than ever.

“Continuous scanning to find vulnerabilities in businesses security and to exploit threats occurs, and it is likely attacks will become more frequent as well as more complex, so no matter your business size you need to be focused on keeping your data as secure as possible.

“Home networks tend to be far more open, with so many devices – e.g. smart speakers, internet games consoles, smart phones, smart TVs, doorbells, home alarms – potentially sharing a network and broadband with work devices.

“All of this increases the possibility of a piece of malware, or ransomware, finding a weakness and exploiting it, potentially allowing it to find and spread in the local network.

“Remote workers need strong security and those systems need stringent monitoring to protect the business’s data.”

It is predicted globally that companies will spend more than $137 billion in 2020 to protect against cyber threats.

Meanwhile technology research company Gartner has predicted the global cost of security attacks on businesses will be around $3.9 trillion.

Mr Henderson said there are many steps businesses can take to shore up security but that a multi-layered approach is needed to keep data safe.

He added: “No business can rely on a single product, platform or device to protect its data but there are some key steps to take to give your business the best chance of protecting against cyber attacks.

“These include having a quality firewall, implementing a quality antivirus platform for user devices and servers, carrying out security patching, having a multi-factor identification process and investing in a robust backup and recovery solution.

“These are just some of the protection measures that TruStack consults around. Ultimately, businesses must have a security-first mindset, from bottom to top, where protection of data is an absolute priority, as we transition towards a largely agile workforce.”

TruStack provides end-to-end managed IT services and specialises in Cybersecurity, Unified Communications and Agile Working solutions.

Amongst its many clients it counts several of the North East’s Top 200 companies – including Muckle LLP and Collingwood Business Solutions – as well as big names across the UK such as the Natural History Museum and Vertu Motors.

It has enabled many of these clients to work from home recently, and has also been following its own advice with almost all of its workforce undertaking agile working.