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Top IT banking expert issues working from home security advice

By Dave Wickham, Head of IT at Redwood Bank

As thousands of people across the UK are now working from home amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a top IT banking expert has issued advice on keeping documents secure online.

Dave Wickham who heads up the IT department at Redwood Bank, which is the UK’s first challenger bank to be completely ‘born in the cloud’, believes companies should introduce new security processes to protect themselves amid this new way of working.

Working from home often leads to users working in a different manner and with that in mind, Redwood’s technology team has compiled five steps that can be used to help avoid making cyber-related mistakes.

  1. Maintain regular working hours but plan breaks to avoid making errors.
  1. Be aware of your surroundings. If working around others, try to designate a workspace to reduce the likelihood of distractions and potential data compromise.
  1. Ensure your home setup is secure, for example, ensure your router has a secure password and firewall switched on.  Don’t connect to unsecured WiFi. Connect to your mobile phone personal hotspot where possible.
  1. Internet speed may take a hit with everyone in the area working from home. Exercise patience when sending and receiving large files.
  1. Mobile providers will also likely be affected. Consider alternative solutions such as Skype, Teams, Zoom etc.

Dave has more than 15 years’ experience working within the IT sector and has extensive practical knowledge of complex system builds, hardware and software, network and technical support.

Dave Wickham, Head of IT at Redwood Bank
Dave Wickham, Head of IT at Redwood Bank

Since its inception, Redwood Bank has invested heavily in technology and partnered with Microsoft to deliver a secure service, via a completely internet-based IT system.

Dave said: “Being a Challenger Bank based in the cloud means security is crucial to our business. We just cannot allow our systems to be compromised in any way.

“With thousands of people working from home as the country experiences the COVID-19 lockdown, I strongly recommend that extra precautions are taken to ensure confidential documents remain secure.

“Employees should follow their data protection policy, which will be different for each company and all confidential documents should be stored in a centralised secure digital platform, such as a file server or SharePoint.

“Documents should be classified as “confidential” and policies should be in place to ensure these aren’t accidentally or intentionally leaked. Businesses could also consider putting restrictions on certain documents to prevent them from being printed. It is important to ensure there is widespread training and awareness across the business as soon as possible.”

Communication amongst teams is essential when there is no central meeting point, so Dave has suggested using Microsoft 365 which allows a large number of people to join. They can also share video, audio, files and screenshare.

He added: “Keeping dialogue open between teams and clients is especially important when working remotely, as it requires communication using technology as opposed to face-to-face. We utilise Voice over IP (VoIP) telephone technology and Microsoft Teams to communicate across the business and with our clients.

 Gary Wilkinson, CEO and Co-founder of Redwood Bank, said: “As a cloud-based bank, Redwood does not have office-based infrastructure, and is designed for all employees to be able to work securely from anywhere so we have been able to implement the working from home advice very swiftly.

“We’re taking the current global COVID-19 situation extremely seriously. The health, safety and well-being of our staff and customers are at the centre of everything we do. We would like to take this opportunity to reassure our customers that our working measures remain completely secure and we are confident that there will be minimal – if any – disruption to their banking services.”

Founded in 2017, Redwood Bank was launched to offer secured SME lending products to owner-occupied businesses, as well as to experienced commercial and residential property investors.