Bondgate IT is already experiencing an increase in enquiries as businesses again prepare to resume home working practices.

The Darlington-based firm says that those unable to return to their workplaces over the summer are also seeking further support to improve long-term cyber security measures.

Garry Brown, managing director of Bondgate IT, said that while most businesses and organisations have the ability to introduce remote working, the importance of IT security is growing.

He said: “During the first lockdown many believed that working from home would be a temporary measure but as the months have passed, the emphasis is now shifting to ensuring businesses are protected by effective IT security.

He said that since the initial lockdown in March, there have been a series of high-profile cyber security breaches – with hackers continually evolving their tactics and attacks growing in sophistication.

A recent study by PwC found that more than a fifth of UK workers feel more vulnerable to cybercrime – with some 19 percent saying they did not feel properly trained or equipped to deal with a cyber-attack while working from home.

Garry added: “The threat of a security breach to a business or organisation from something as seemingly innocuous as a phishing email or malware link is huge and can bring a company to its knees.

“This threat is even greater when employees are working from home, often using the same device for work as well as socialising.

“Many employees are using their own laptops, tablets, and smartphones to access sensitive company data while, at the same time, operating outside their company’s normal security protections.

“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to provide fertile ground for hackers to gain access to computer systems and take advantage of people working in isolation.

“IT has already played a pivotal role in helping overcome the challenges presented by coronavirus but it is essential that businesses undertake regular risk assessments and adopt a long term and multi-layered approach to IT security which represents a critical investment.”