Hybrid World, Cyber & Data Security

The much heralded ‘Freedom Day’ this Monday did not see the stampede back to the office that many had anticipated or perhaps hoped for. By way of example and as reported in the Metro, Transport for London said Tube travel was at 38 per cent of normal demand on Monday and unchanged from last week.

There are of course multiple reasons for this reaction but Monday 19th July, is still very likely to be the start of a process of reintroducing many employees back into the office environment after around 16 months of working from home (WFH). Whilst some employees will be required to return to the office fulltime, others will inevitably be expected to adopt a hybrid of working from the office and home and some, to continue to WFH fulltime.


Quite early on last year when so many employees were sent to WFH at relatively short notice, the issue of cyber and data crime and the threat it posed to the business was suddenly elevated to the top of many businesses’ priority list.


With so many employees utilising personal devices and networks for work purposes, much needed to be done to enhance cyber and data security measures. Whilst some companies did this, many only undertook very basic measures and some just ‘took the risk’. However as the new working practices are implemented, increasing numbers of employees will be commuting with company critical information on smart phones, laptops and tablets, the risk of cyber and data crime is once again being elevated.


Irrespective of the company size, it should be the responsibility of the employer and the employee to ensure robust cyber and data security measures are implemented and updated on a regular basis.


10 tips to help minimise cyber and data security threats:

  1. Implement a strong password login policy for all devices and domains. Consider using a password management tool

  2. Use full disk encryption so company data on a device is not accessible if it is illegally accessed

  3. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to connect remote workers to internal networks

  4. Protect the VPN connection and access to other devices with Two-factor or Multifactor Authentication (MFA). Similar to ‘one off codes’ that many will have experienced with bank account logins.

  5. Control the use of external storage devices such as USB sticks or portable external hard drives

  6. Keep Software up to Date

  7. Update Anti-virus and Malware Protection and Firewalls

  8. Get employees to audit their home working environment for security vulnerabilities before connecting work devices (routers, firmware, unique passwords)

  9. Provide education and guidance on Phishing scams

  10. Discourage employees from making public, their sensitive Personal Identifiable Information (PII). PII includes name, address, phone numbers, DoB, Social Security Number, IP address, location details, or any other physical or digital identity data

For further information on some of these, please click here.


FACT:

£8,170 is the average annual cost for micro and small businesses that lost data or assets after breaches Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2021 Gov.UK


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