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Cyber security and COVID-19

Staying cyber-secure while keeping your social distance

There will be many lessons learned from the COVID-19 crisis that currently has a grip on our world. 

Two that spring to mind are the importance of personal hygiene and the fact that many of us are better equipped than we might have imagined to work from places other than the office. 

But amid all the talk about working from home, there’s something we shouldn’t lose sight of  the need to stay cyber-secure. 

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Away from the office environment, the temptation might be to skip some of the safeguards businesses normally have in place. Don’t give in to it! 

Here are five easy, starting steps to ensure you can work from home while also preserving cyber and password security. 

  1. Ensure your internet connection is secure (ideally by using a VPN) and ensure you have changed your wifi router’s password from the one it came with (some routers are sold with the same passwords and can therefore easily be hacked). 
  2. Ensure anti-virus and security software is in place. This might seem like a no-brainer but you’d be surprised at how many people don’t use them, particularly with their personal laptops and computers. 
  3. Have a back-up strategy, even if you can access the work server from home. For many organisations, Office 365 comes with a built-in solution with 1TB cloud storage – but you need to save your documents to that folder, and NOT just to your desktop! Doing it this way also means your files are more secure as well, as they live behind the security of Microsoft’s cloud storage. 
  4. Speaking of which, ensure your accounts are protected with multifactor authentication. This is probably the single best strategy to keep your emails and services secure. It means even if someone gets your password, they would also need access to your mobile phone, which is unlikely, to complete the logon. For the sake of a few simple steps, you can significantly improve your security. 
  5. And finally, don’t send passwords by email. Tempting and quick as it is, if an email account is accessed, then any passwords which you’ve been sent or have sent are accessible as well. Using a service like LastPass across an organisation allows access to password-protected sites without anyone needing to see or use a password. 

 Right now, there are a lot of unknowns in our world. We don’t fully understand how COVID-19 will affect our country and our businesses or how long we’ll be working away from our usual environments. 

But with a few simple steps, we can maximise the security around the systems and equipment we use daily. 

Cannings Purple Director of Digital  Jamie Wilkinson is an expert in proactively preparing communications strategies to respond to data breaches and managing communications during a data breach or cyber event. Email  Jamie. 

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