Crime stops for no man - not even Santa Claus.
Cyber security matters at all times - and Christmas is no different from any other part of the year. For most of us, the festive period means spending some time at home with our families, eating copious amounts of chocolate, having a few beers or glasses of wine, and generally just kicking back with our feet up. But for criminals, it's an opportunity. All those empty offices and unattended computers are gifts just waiting to be unwrapped. While you're relaxing in front of the TV watching endless repeats of Only Fools & Horses, criminals could be causing chaos for you at work, having themselves quite the merry little Christmas.
And even before Christmas starts, businesses are vulnerable. As staff become distracted by annual deadlines, office parties, their Christmas preparations and so on, they're more likely to make mistakes. In their haste, they might, for example, open a link in an email that they would normally have checked. Before you know it, you can end up with a nasty malware problem.
Just last Christmas, security company ThreatMatrix predicted more than a million cyber attacks for holiday season - a figure that was soon picked up the mainstream press. Around the same time, notorious hacker groups were threatening high-profile targets like Sony and Microsoft.
It's a horrible thought, but the reality is that cyber attacks tend to peak around holiday periods. Do they know it's Christmas? Yes, but they just don't care.
Step Into Christmas
Don't cancel Christmas just yet, though. Panicking about your cyber security is no way to spend your time off, and it's probably not necessary either. Just being aware that extra vigilance is needed around the holidays is a good start. Remind your team of the dangers of phishing emails, rogue websites and other security threats. Tell them what to look out for and what they can do to be safer in future. They might have heard it all before, but nudging their memory a little certainly can't hurt.
You have even less to worry about if you use a managed service provider like TMB, which offers proactive system monitoring, service desk support and backup and disaster recovery (BDR). These are all available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, including weekends and bank holidays. In short, your IT solutions are all taken care of, so you can relax and concentrate on having a proper Crimbo.
Christmas Cyber Security
Realistically, letting your guard down a bit at Christmas probably won't mean hackers instantly turn up and destroy your business, but the risk of it happening does increase around this time of year. If your cyber security is weak and you don't have a good backup system, then yes, you have something to worry about. But if that's the case, it's not just the festive period you need to think about - you could run into problems any time of the year.
Get your cyber security sorted, though, and you'll have not just a merry Christmas but an even happier new year.
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