With the UK government recently confirming that the lockdown will be extended for a further three weeks, we hope you’re comfortable in your remote work set-up – or, at least, as comfortable as one can hope.
The isolation will be challenging in the best of situations, but plenty of people – such as those with children or unruly housemates – are facing a particularly tough time.
We can’t do anything about the company you keep, but we can help you manage the difficulties you face in the workplace. We’re all in this together, so hopefully our advice can help prevent things from being harder than they already are.
Disney+ and Netflix have been lifelines during the coronavirus pandemic, giving us a near-infinite number of TV shows and films to watch while we’re stuck inside.
It’s no surprise to learn, then, that cyber criminals have created more than 700 fake websites mimicking the streaming platforms in an attempt to harvest people’s personal information.
Although many of these bogus sites are poorly designed and shouldn’t fool anyone, some are extremely convincing and could easily trick you into handing over your login details or payment card information.
Fortunately, there are often tell-tale signs that you’re being scammed, such as poor grammar and website addresses that differ from the official site.
You should always keep an eye out for those clues, and if you’re in any doubt about whether an offer is genuine, Google the details and see if anyone has reported it as a scam.
In more positive news, the NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre) has created a new service that’s designed to spread awareness of cyber crime.
The Suspicious Email Reporting Service allows people to send any suspicious emails they receive to the UK government’s cyber security agency. The NCSC says that it if it discovers any activity that it believes is malicious, it may:
- Block the email address that the email came from;
- Work with hosting companies to remove links to malicious websites; and
- Raise awareness of the scam and the methods it uses.
Your organisation should have a policy that requires employees to lock their laptops when they’re away from their desk, and although you might have thought this doesn’t apply now that you’re working from home, it’s a good habit to maintain – at least if you don’t live alone.
Even if you’re certain that no one else in your household would deliberately misappropriate sensitive information, they might still accidentally view something they shouldn’t. This will be the case if, you instance, you leave a document open and they happen to walk past and see it on the screen.
That might sound harmless, but remember that these details have been entrusted to the organisation and its employees only. If anyone outside the organisation views it, that’s a data breach.
Similarly, imagine if you’re on a video call and leave the room for a moment. Unless you mute the call and lock the screen, someone in your house could walk in and inadvertently overhear a private conversation or find themselves on camera.
For the same reason, you should be careful that no one can listen in while you’re discussing sensitive work information with colleagues. This is particularly important now the weather is getting better, as you might have your windows open, potentially allowing neighbours or passers-by to hear you.
IT Governance employee tips for working from home
During the lockdown, we’ve noticed that many of our line managers have set up regular one-to-one video calls with their team in addition to scheduled work meetings.
The ongoing crisis is bound to have an emotional toll, so it’s good to catch up with the people you work with – not only to break the social isolation but also to see if there are any personal problems that might be affecting employees’ productivity and wellbeing.
Employees might not be comfortable sharing their concerns in a group setting, and it can be hard for managers to spot if a team member isn’t acting like themselves when you have half a dozen or more people on the line, so a direct conversation gives you both the opportunity to talk about how you’re coping.
Managers must therefore be able to tackle the situation deftly. That means spotting when something isn’t right, giving them the opportunity to talk frankly and ensuring they get the support they need.
You can find an introduction on how to do this by reading our free green paper: Managing Remote Workers: With a Mind to Mental Health.
- Advice on how to help employees feel less isolated;
- Examples of signs that that an employee is struggling; and
- Guidance on how managers should address these problems.
With the lockdown in force for at least three more weeks, organisations must have a semi-permanent solution to the challenges they face. Cyber criminals are ready to capitalise on chaos and uncertainty, so you can’t rely on tackling crises as they appear.
Our COVID-19 – A challenge to business green paper outlines the problems you are likely to face as the lockdown continues and explains the steps you can take to address them.
By downloading this guide, you’ll discover the latest coronavirus-related security threats, examples of security oversights with remote working and practical solutions for protecting your organisation during the pandemic.
Coronavirus: your biggest challenge yet
We hope that, a month into the lockdown and the novelty of the situation waning, you’re settling into a rhythm of working from home. However, that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with whatever steps you’ve taken to stay safe during the pandemic.
Cyber criminals are continuing to thrive on the disruption, as they work unhindered and from the safety of their own homes. Meanwhile, small issues that you might have been successfully avoiding up to now, such as software updates and vulnerability scans, could come back to bite you.
Likewise, some risks may well be lurking in the background, ready to explode unless you identify and address them soon. We’re talking about things such as employees’ mental wellbeing, which may well deteriorate with another three weeks of working from home and lead to costly mistakes.
We wouldn’t expect anybody to be at peak performance under these circumstances, so if they’re left with mounting problems, the stress could cause them to neglect essential tasks, accidentally share information with the wrong people or fall for a phishing scam.
This is just part of the reason why coronavirus presents an unheralded challenge for organisations. It affects all parts of your business and there is no end in sight.
Indeed, one of the only things you can know for sure is that it’s more important than ever to remain vigilant and aware of the threats your organisation faces.
One virus is enough to contend with. Make sure you’re prepared to tackle whatever else comes your way with our series of packaged solutions, which include tools and services to help you address remote working best practices, network vulnerabilities and a host of other issues.