Hackers don’t take holidays: How to prevent cyber security incidents during the holiday season

December 18th, 2019
Hackers don’t take holidays: How to prevent cyber security incidents during the holiday season

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‘Tis the season to be jolly, but you won’t be having a happy new year if your data is hacked or your security is breached over the festive period. Sadly, hackers don’t take Christmas off, and they can still cause damage to your business while they’re stuffed with mince pies.

Fortunately, in between the annual office quiz, the secret Santa session and the party to end all parties, there are steps you can take to keep yourself safe and concentrate on being merry and bright.

In the run-up to the Holidays

Most companies tend to be more relaxed in December. Parents are busy ticking things off their children’s Christmas lists, nights out are happening in one department after another and the ladies’ toilets are awash with sequins and glitter.

There’s nothing wrong with staff enjoying themselves, and the managers too, but when you let your guard down or allow people to do things they wouldn’t normally do in the workplace, there’s a higher risk of a cyber security incident.

With postal strikes, inconvenient delivery times and local shops being out of stock on the must-have toy of the season, it can be nice to allow staff to have parcels delivered to the office. Just make sure, though, that staff remember your phishing policy.

Ask them to check that the email they’ve received asking them to confirm a delivery really is from Amazon or Apple, and if they’re sent a limited time special offer, that the link to click looks genuine. And urge caution when they’re asked to enter credit card details – they probably shouldn’t be using company computers to do this anyway.

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You might have a special screening of Santa Claus the Movie or Elf – if that’s being streamed through Dave from sales’ Netflix account, is it secure? Be cautious if people bring in their own devices to play films or Christmas classic hits.

Games and quizzes are a lot more interactive than they used to be, so if Suzy in marketing is downloading a festive version of snakes and ladders or you’re competing online against another office to see who can eat the most Quality Street, check that the sites are secure.

Over the Holidays

If your office is going to be locked until 2 January, make sure you have some kind of monitoring in place. Cyber criminals are based all over the world, but they’ll know that most of the UK are on holiday in December.

Do you have an external IT partner? If so, ask them what remote monitoring they’ll be carrying out over Christmas, and make sure that your servers will be included in this. Pay extra if necessary.

Will any staff be working in the office between Christmas and New Year? Make them aware of the importance of being careful with accessing the internet, particularly if they’re tempted to browse the Boxing Day sales.

If they’re there mostly to answer an occasional call and take messages, you may allow them to watch TV; again, make sure they’re thoughtful about how they access programmes and any devices they bring from home.

It’s important not to be a Scrooge about security, but to make it an inclusive conversation, where staff are made to feel involved and appreciated. Encourage them to be vigilant and help you keep data safe, so that it’s just a chocolate hangover and the January blues to contend with when you’re all back in the office.


We want you to enjoy the Holiday season to it's fullest, so if you have any concerns about security over this festive period, give our dedicated team a call.