Mandy Pattenden – Marketing Communications Manager
Christmas conjures up cosy images of twinkling lights, presents under the tree and time spent with family and friends enjoying the festive cheer. But for IT teams, the holiday season is often a time for increased stress and worry, as they contemplate the challenge of securing customer data during the run up to the Christmas break and the January sales.
I can certainly forgive the raised anxiety level, considering that more and more people are avoiding the high street and buying their presents either over the phone or online. The sheer volume of information being generated by each individual purchase is immense. And with more data comes the need for increased security, and this ultimately falls on the IT team to make a reality.
No one wants to be held responsible for the latest data breach, so it’s understandable that many IT staff feel the pressure when it comes to protecting customer details, especially when you consider the enormous reputational and financial damage a data breach can have on a company. A recent study by AlienVault found that a fifth of survey respondents (21%) believe that IT teams are blamed for security breaches.
This blame is undoubtedly misplaced; it’s up to senior management to alleviate some pressure for the IT staff and make it the responsibility of each and every team member, along with the business itself, to ensure data is kept safe and secure.
Here are a few tips that are simple to implement, and can make all the difference:
- Educate staff to be wary of suspicious or unusual emails
Keeping staff informed is vital. A security-savvy team member is far less likely to click on a suspicious link in an email. Make sure they understand the current IT security threats facing the business and all the ways cybercriminals may attempt to hack into internal IT systems.
- Use a password vault to store all your passwords
This will mean no website login has to use the same password. What’s more, you can create long, complex passwords that you never have to remember again!
- Review your data security standards
The first step to being secure is knowing where your risks lie. The UK government has a designated website – that details the bare minimum security standard. The site’s simple survey takes only a few minutes to complete, and will provide a review of cyber risk and how you can protect yourself.
- Keep your software up to date
This might seem like an obvious one, but you would be surprised by how many people put themselves at risk simply by neglecting to update to the latest version of security software. All it takes is 10 minutes to download and install the newest patch, and it can save everyone a lot of time, effort and pain down the line.
Follow these simple points to make sure that you and all your staff have a happy (& secure!) Christmas.