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Martin’s View: Make IT Security Part of Your Agenda

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Only 90 days to Christmas! But why should you put IT Security, of all things, on your New years resolution list?

Yes, you read that right! Only 90 days until the seasonal period. The last quarter of the year is a particularly dangerous time for businesses – it’s typically when cyber crime spikes to a level higher than normal – as activity increases and to-do lists grow.

But it isn’t just Christmas that is on the horizon. Brexit, and all the uncertainty that it brings, is only a month away. With uncertainty the arena in which cyber criminals thrive, the final quarter of 2019 is shaping up to be a particularly vulnerable place for businesses to operate in.

For many businesses this time of year sees a huge increase in business activity, with a substantial increase in transactions – meaning an increase in emails as a consequence.

This deluge of workload will inevitably contain, and to some degree mask, the phishing emails that your people will have to assess and hopefully ignore – but it’s a tiring time and fatigue could play it’s part in the lowering of defences and a subsequent security incident that could endanger your business.

This makes your staff the number one target for cyber criminals. With greater uncertainty in their lives, and information overload, they’re far more likely to fall for something like a phishing attack, meaning greater risk for your business.

In the final quarter of the year every business will see their staff begin to let down their guard as they race through the extra effort of the season and find time to relax – it’s easy to forget to change the backup tape or to ensure critical files are not stored on a laptop.

All this means an increased workload, tired and distracted workforce, market uncertainty, and heightened cyber crime activity – leading to greater vulnerability and risk for your business.

Here are my recommendations to protect your business and your staff over the next three months:

  • Make sure your staff are aware of all the basic cyber security best practices available – we have an entire Free Resources section on our website to show people how to stay safe online. For example, do they know how to spot a phishing email? If not, you’re ripe for exploitation during this busy period.
  • What are your existing cyber security measures? Have you got endpoint security in place? How about network security? And arguably just as importantly, especially with the increase in business email activity – is your email security up to scratch?

At this time of the year we all have extra stress – we’re all busier. So now is the time to ensure everyone understands the risks, that whilst constant, are likely to be greater in the run up to Christmas.

Make IT security a top agenda item in your management meetings and remind everybody to remain vigilant. Let’s avoid shocks and disasters before Christmas.

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