A year ago, no one could have predicted that countless businesses would shift to a remote work model. The pandemic hit hard and fast, and small businesses had to think on their toes. Most had only a few weeks to adapt. For many, it was a time of unprecedented challenges.

Looking back on it, many SMBs wish they’d had a plan in place that would have made things easier. When the pandemic hit in early 2020, SMBs had to absorb the huge cost of getting their employees up and running off-site. Not only was it costly, but it also took a lot of coordination and on-the-fly planning. This meant that some things inevitably slipped through the cracks, including cyber security.

As they say, hindsight is 20/20. You may wish you had a plan in place or had more time, but you didn’t. A vast majority didn’t. However, you can still plan for the future! While you never know when disaster is going to strike, you CAN be prepared for it. Whether that disaster is a pandemic, flood, fire, or even hardware failure, there are steps you can implement today that will put you in a better place tomorrow. Here’s how to get started.

Put Your Plan Into Writing.

First and foremost, you should have a standard operating procedure to call on should something go wrong. For example, in early 2020, many SMBs didn’t have a security plan in place, let alone a remote work security plan. They had to make it up as they went, which just added to the stresses they were already experiencing.

To overcome this challenge, it’s imperative to work with a professional IT team to create a plan that includes a cyber security protocol. This plan must clearly outline which software employees should be using, what number they should call for 24/7 support, who to contact when they receive suspicious e-mails, how to identify suspicious e-mails, and so on.

More than that, it should outline exactly what needs to happen when disaster strikes. Pandemic? Here’s how we operate. Fire? Here’s what you need to know. Hardware failure? Call this number immediately. The list goes on, and it can be pretty extensive. This, again, is why it’s so important to work with a professional IT team that is already experienced with implementing plans for SMBs—they will know where to start as they work to customize a plan with you.

Invest In Security And Backups.

While every business should already have a network security protocol in place, the reality is that many don’t. There are many reasons why—from cost concerns, to lack of time and lack of resources—but these excuses aren’t going to prevent hacks and breaches. Cyber criminals don’t care that you didn’t have time to put malware protection on your PCs; however, they will take full advantage of your unsecured networks by wreaking as much havoc and making as much money as possible.

When you have a comprehensive IT security protocol in place, including firewall protection, managed detection and response (MDR), regular dark web scanning, ongoing cybersecurity awareness training, and a company-wide IT security policy, you put your business and all your employees in a much better place. All of this should be in place for both on-site employees and remote workers. With more people working from home than ever before, having reliable IT security in place has never been more critical.

On top of that, you should have secure backups in place. Investing in cloud storage is a great way to go. That way, if anything happens on-site or to your primary data storage, you have backups you can rely on to restore lost or inaccessible data. Plus, having a solid cloud storage option gives remote employees ready access to any data they might need while at home or on the go.

Where Do You Begin?

Some SMBs have the time, money, and resources to invest in on-site IT personnel, but most don’t. It is a big investment. This is where partnering with an experienced IT services firm can really pay off. You may have employees in-office or you may have a team working remotely – or you may have a mix of both. You need a support team that can take care of everyone in your organization while also taking care of the data security of the business itself. This is where your IT partner comes into play. They are the ones you can rely on 24/7 during a pandemic or any other disaster—and you can rest easy knowing your business data and technology are well-cared for.

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