The UK has witnessed a seismic change in the way people work throughout early 2020, the biggest change being undoubtedly the huge leap in the numbers of people working from home. According to the Office of National Statistics, in 2019 only 30% of employees worked from home, yet as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic, this is predicted to rise to at least 50% of the UK workforce throughout 2020. 
One of the biggest changes for workplaces is the need for online conference and video conferencing calls and software. There is no doubt that being able to connect remotely to our work colleagues is essential if we are to maintain the momentum and energy that come with working in physical offices and buildings.
The boom in conference calling
Businesses are already familiar with conference calls for occasional meetings, client briefings and training. The Covid-19 crisis, however, will take the reliance upon conferencing software to another level. No longer will it simply be the odd meeting that will be conducted in this way; now the majority of business will take place over video calls and emails. The role of IT security just took on a whole new dimension and it is essential that businesses are not only prepared to provide safe and secure systems in the office, they must also implement ways to ensure the whole workforce complies and follows suit.
The pandemic has catapulted once small conferencing software suites into multi-national business channels. Zoom and Facebook live are in direct competition and Zoom has seen an increase in active daily usage to 300 million users. 
Data is knowledge and power
The huge popularity of Zoom, Facebook and other video-conferencing software packages has revealed a vulnerability in the system. According to the Fox news channel in the US, ‘hacked zoom accounts are being sold on the dark web in the thousands’. The huge spike in demand recently revealed vulnerabilities in the software which were not apparent before. Business meetings have been interrupted as hackers join calls and listen in to business meetings and potentially sensitive information.
Data ownership and dissemination is now big business. As companies become ever more stringent as to what data they keep and what they share due to stricter GDPR rules, this has effectively given data a whole new value. Anyone with an unscrupulous desire to access and distribute data can earn a lot of money. The data can be used by businesses and individuals to sell their products and heavily market themselves.
Businesses need to put IT security at the top of the agenda
As the world acclimatises to the ‘new normal’, business leaders must look forward. They need to plan for a workplace where only half or even fewer of their employees will be on site. Giving employees access to the company network and video conferencing facilities will need to be heavily risk assessed. Companies must implement rules and provide guidance to their employees as to how they should and shouldn’t connect, which email systems they should use, and more importantly, which video-conferencing software they advocate.
Investment in technology for home workers should be the job of the employer, but more importantly, investment in clear guidance, processes and disciplinary procedures should also be clearly laid out. The sooner employers create a new working infrastructure with stringent rules and regulations regarding what should and should not be done from home, the sooner businesses can start to function again and the wheels of industry can once again begin to turn.
If you are worried about security for employees working remotely or need to set up remote working for your business quickly then give Cloudworks a call. We are specialists in cyber-security, cloud technologies and support. In addition, we continuously monitor our clients IT cloud infrastructure to ensure they are secure and protected against the latest threats. Give us a call to find out more and we will find the best strategy and solution to fit your business.
Call us on 0115 824 8244 or email firstname.lastname@example.org