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London: In the run up to Christmas, businesses need to ensure that they have checked their list twice when it comes to IT security. Not only do employees browse for Christmas gifts online during their lunch breaks, but an increasing number of people work remotely over the festive period.


Employees can unknowingly put their business at risk from the inside by inadvertently opening the door to a virus or spyware, which can have devastating consequences to a business and its customers.

Jeff Finch, head of security at Interoute, reveals some top tips to help businesses think more laterally about how to protect themselves this time of year:

1. Shop around

Whatever the size of your business; you don’t have to plunder the Christmas party fund to afford proper protection during the festive season. Smaller businesses can be an easy target because they are less likely to invest in the most expensive corporate solutions. However, there are plenty of cost effective options to be had for the savvy shopper. Look for reputable antivirus, anti-spyware and anti-spam packages that will block hackers when installed across all corporate devices. Of course, the best and most cost effective option is to have security built into your network if you want to stop cyber-attacks at the source.

2. Consider the cloud

Father Christmas isn’t the only one who can travel around the world at the speed of light. The cloud has made storing data and accessing Apps from anywhere much easier. Partnering with a cloud provider whose service is optimised for high security standards can strengthen the safety net around your data. However, make sure you take control of your data in the cloud by choosing a trusted provider who is open with you about where your data is held and how this may change. Ensure that you can decide where your data is stored and how it is moved, and choose a provider who will offer you a robust SLA and has a proven track record.

3. Education is the perfect gift

Enforce a thorough internet security policy for employees that covers threat management across PC, mobile and social media activity. It is imperative that employees understand the risk that cybercrime poses and the costly consequences of a breach during the Christmas period, in order to motivate adherence to the guidelines you provide.

4. Take responsibility

It may sound simple, but ensure that someone within your organisation is taking responsibility for monitoring the current security threats. Patching software and making staff aware of the latest scams will ensure that full protection is maintained and no chinks in your security armour go unnoticed.

5. Stay one step ahead of BYOD

Whilst, of course, it is essential to implement adequate protection at the business edge, it is equally important to ensure that employees aren’t unwittingly putting the business at risk. Research earlier this year revealed that nearly one in two small businesses have experienced a security breach caused by staff. With the growing popularity of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), employees intending to take new gadgets from their Christmas stockings into the corporate environment need guidance on how to do this without compromising business security.

6. Protection for remote workers

The same security rules apply for all employees, whatever their working environment this Christmas. Make sure you take the necessary precautions to protect staff that are accessing the corporate network and applications outside the office. Working smarter and more securely on the move requires the likes of endpoint protection, along with a closely maintained corporate data usage policy.