Member News: Summer Cyber Safety

Jun 27th, 2017 - Last updated at Jun 27th, 2017

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It’s that time of year when many of us are counting down the days until our summer holiday. We look forward to spending stress free time in the sun with friends and family. We spend time planning the trip, car hire, insurance – the list is endless. How many of us have added getting our laptops, tablets or mobile phones holiday ready to our to do list? So here is an easy guide to ensuring that you, your family and your business stay secure over your holiday and make the most of your rest and relaxation time!

Before You Go

It would be great to leave the mobile phone, laptop or any IT equipment safely back in the office but modern life doesn’t lend itself to this. So, before you go it is vital to quickly put some initial measures in place:

  • Check that no personal data about staff or customers is held on these devices. You could be in breach of DPA if holidaying outside the EEA

  • Back up all your devices before you go – you don’t want to lose any data, but if you do at least you have a copy of what went missing. Even better, you could store the business documents on a secure cloud that you can access from abroad giving you extra protection.

  • Where possible set up controls on the devices to locate or remote wipe – in the worst-case scenario you want to be able to delete the information before it gets into the wrong hands.

  • For mobile phones make a note of the IMEI number so the device can be blocked or traced.

Whilst you are away

  • Be mindful about who you are talking to and what you are telling them! It’s natural to let your guard down whilst on holiday and to think that nobody has an interest in your work, but take the same precautions as when you are talking in the UK. We live in an interconnected world and information can be used by criminals anywhere within minutes.

  • Don’t access sensitive company material over free wi-fi. Or make sure it is a trusted connection that no-one can intercept. Not only do you deserve and need a break but you may be accessing sensitive data that you don’t need to putting it at more risk.

  • Look after your personal possessions – in tourist areas people are more likely to be robbed given their relaxed nature and the high value of the possessions. This applies to all devices, including phones, tablets, laptops, effectively anything that will enable an account to be hacked, especially if it lets you change your email password.

  • Think carefully about posting on social media sites that you are away as some insurance companies may not validate claims if they think that you have advertised the fact that your house/business is left unattended. Make sure that your social media accounts are set to private so that only friends will know that you are away.

  • If the worst happens then report the theft or loss as soon as you can. Tell your bank if it involves credit cards or your business if it involves company assets – phone calls may be expensive outside of Europe but it will be cheaper to deal with this then handle the fraud or data loss issues or the fall out from hacking attempts.

And for those unlucky ones that must stay in the office whilst you are away

  • Be aware of so-called urgent changes that come through whilst the boss is away. Attackers targeting Senior employees (spear phishing) will know when they are away so will target interims using time pressure to make payments or change details.

  • If you are a key member of the incident response team then make sure that your deputy knows of their responsibilities and others know who to contact in case of emergency. You wouldn’t want your absence to impact the company adversely.

CSP can help you identify and mitigate the security risks to your organisation and implement practical controls that work towards making your organisation secure so that you can really enjoy a wonderful relaxing summer break. Call CSP on 0161 791 0314 or email robert.briggs@csp.partners.