How Companies Can Safeguard Their Data During Festive Periods

Instead of rushing to respond to a security event, you can secure your company and take advantage of the festive season by making preparations and putting security measures in place

With the festive period around the corner, many workers are taking longer vacations, with others opting to work from home to spend more time with their family. As business laptops and other devices leave the sanctuary of corporate networks and enter the hectic and frequently hazardous world of foreign travel and public internet, this poses an additional risk to data security.

A security breach is the absolute last thing you want to be dealing with as a business owner during the festive season. Unfortunately, hackers profit from companies being closed or understaffed. Fortunately, there are a few simple actions you can take to defend your company against online dangers. Let’s investigate them in further depth.

Secure Networks and Devices

While much of the security landscape has changed over the last few years, the importance of data privacy has remained the same. As apps and websites are requesting more information from users, putting them at risk for potential data breaches, it is essential for individuals to stay vigilant and use methods such as multi-factor authentication to ensure they are protected from potential threats as
the attack vector continues to expand. It is also important to note that data privacy is not the sole responsibility of the user. Companies must also be accountable for the proper governance and oversight of their systems to achieve proper risk management. When all parties exercise best practices, they are setting themselves up for success regarding data privacy.”

Karen Worstell, Senior Cybersecurity Strategist, VMware

Securing all desktops, laptops, and other connected devices is the first step in enhancing your company’s cybersecurity throughout the festive season. Make sure your antivirus program is up to date and that two-factor authentication is active on all of your devices. As an additional security precaution, you should think about encrypting any data saved on a device that is linked to the internet.

  • Update security patches

No matter how busy the organization is at the moment, teams should make sure that their systems are up to date and that any new patches are tested and implemented as soon as they are published. In order to prevent the delay of essential patches, individuals should also be assigned to remotely monitor alerts while the company is closed or when employees are not in the office.

  • Require workers to setup multifactor authentication

When employees become weary of checking in and out via an authenticator app, push notification, or text message, it is known as multifactor authentication (MFA) fatigue. Workers may be busier than normal around the holidays, which might make them more irritated with MFA obligations. However, MFA is essential for protecting your company against DDoS and ransomware assaults. Employees should set up their MFA credentials right now so that systems are more secure as we approach the holidays.

Conduct Phishing Simulation and Train Employees on Good Cybersecurity Practices

To reduce risk, organisations should educate their employee base, particularly around major events or public holidays so they have a security mentality reinforced. They can also adopt proactive intelligence to understand the latest threats as well as modern security solutions to gain visibility into the risk factors in their network, immediately responding to phishing threats to keep malicious actors away and protect sensitive data. It is also the individual’s responsibility to be cautious on their end – for example, should you receive unsolicited emails from people or organisations you have not done, or are not currently doing business with, then take a hard look before acting on any potential asks.

Scott Jarkoff , Director, Strategic Threat Advisory Group, APJ & EMEA, at CrowdStrike

Conducting phishing simulation training at the start of the season, and ideally on a monthly basis, is a crucial step that enterprises can take to maintain security throughout the holidays. Employees may test out their abilities to spot dangerous links and attachments through this type of training without any immediate danger. It’s a wonderful chance to explain to staff members the value of email confirmation and the necessity of never sharing login credentials via email.

By teaching staff members on the best practices for internet security and privacy, you can also increase the cybersecurity of your company. This includes educating people on how to recognize dubious emails or links that could be phishing or contain malware. Additionally, you should warn staff members not to disclose any private information over public networks or websites, such those accessible from coffee shops or libraries.

Review The Company’s Security Policy with Employees

As the festive period approaches, every organization should assess its security procedures. Make sure every employee is aware of the value of protecting access credentials, how to recognize cybercrime, and what to do if one occurs. Regardless of whether they work in-person or remotely, your team should all be familiar with your security procedures and any unique holiday situations.

Unplug All Unnecessary Devices

Many different tools and technologies are needed for businesses to operate well, so it’s simple to leave everything running nonstop. But keeping gadgets plugged in and running gives hackers a chance to target them. If a place will be closed for a lengthy period of time, this is extremely crucial. Unplug everything that isn’t necessary to keep your business operating when it’s time to close for the holidays to lower your total risk.

Adjust The Property Access Security

You might be shocked to learn that physical security can also be used to prevent cybercrime. The sections of your facility that need the greatest protection are the doors and equipment. Make sure you thoroughly evaluate everyone’s access credentials before the holidays to ensure that no one has more access than is required for them to carry out their job. Additionally, make sure any outside doors, windows, and other access points are completely secured before shutting down for a much-needed break. Before you return to work, don’t forget to update any automatic systems to keep things secure.

Do not Advertise That The Business Will be Closed

It’s customary to inform clients when a business will be closed in order to minimize any disruption. Nevertheless, this technique may put your company at danger during seasons of the year with higher crime rates, such as the festive period. It’s preferable to utilize an automated voice or email response to notify consumers of your closing rather than putting signage or making a statement on social media stating that no one will be in the premises for a specific amount of time. Opportunistic criminals will be less lured in this way.

Businesses and fraudsters both benefit financially during the festive season. Make sure your business is secure so you may enjoy the festive season rather than offering fraudsters a quick payday.

“Create a response plan that covers the who, what, when, where and why for using your backups to stay up and running in the event of a ransomware attack. Back up your data on a regular basis and keep both online and offline copies to ensure data and applications can be restored quickly and seamlessly across business networks and operating systems. Make sure your plan specifically outlines how these factors change for holidays and weekends. Then test it and test again. Regular fire drills will help IT team to shorten the threat response time with a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities, and enhance their ability to recover from a real cyber incident.”

Andy Ng, Vice President and Managing Director for Asia South and Pacific Region, Veritas Technologies