News & Blog

Cyber Crime and the COVID Pandemic

It’s been interesting looking through the various posts and their generally optimistic view of the current market conditions, not just within the IT and Cyber Security Industries, but generally.  It contrasts hugely to what we are seeing in both the on line, TV and printed media.  I get that people generally don’t want to appear pessimistic, or to advertise the fact that their business may have been adversely impacted by the pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns, but there has to have been some knock on effect.

 

My business has had to re-invent itself a little and has had to react with some agility to keep its head above water, and I don’t mind admitting it because it shows we are able to react to market forces, as well as changes in the various threats posed on line to our clients.  We have developed ways to carry out a considerable amount of our business remotely, but at some point, in order to do what we do effectively, we have to venture onto site.  And that explains why the full lockdown was such a problem.  But hey, I can either sit down and have a good whine (or actually wine in my case), or I can knuckle down and get on with it.

 

Many businesses are now having to have a number of its employees working from home, which in itself raises new issues and I am finding that many, particularly in the mid market, don’t really appreciate the additional and somewhat different risks that this poses, especially for business where remote working was not, in the past, something they did.  I have in fact noticed a tendency for some people to decamp to the various coffee shops, where they are open, and work from there.  I even saw and advert from one venue which offered a seat for 3 hours, with power and WIFI, a coffee and a small lunch, all for a tenner.  As recently posted by my erstwhile colleague, drinking partner and dare I say it friend (that’ll faze him), Ian Murphy, the risks posed by these unsecured WIFI connections are huge.   Of course these risks, both working from home and from the coffee shop, vary from business to business, there is no such thing as one size fits all, but the one thing I do know is, that sooner or later there is going to be some serious issues coming to the fore, both in terms of Cyber crime and data loss, the latter perhaps incurring the wrath of the authorities, assuming of course that some business haven’t already been hit and are keeping schtum about it.

 

What is not surprising is that when I speak to prospective clients, a recurring theme is that Cyber Security is currently not a priority.  OK, I understand that there are a myriad of things happening that businesses, both big and small, are having to contend with during this pandemic.  They are concentrating on keeping afloat, trying not to lose too many staff, remaining as responsive as they can to the continually changing circumstances, and who can blame them.  But all of this is creating opportunities for Cyber criminals, scammers and sundry rogues, to come up with new and inventive ways of relieving us of our hard earned cash.

 

So, what’s my message?  Well I suppose it’s that they shouldn’t leave it too long before re-assessing the risks posed by their new ways of working which aren’t going to go away anytime soon. Even another 6 months of this pandemic will provide the opportunity for criminals to get involved with your operations, to provide an opportunity for mistakes to be made which involve the loss of data which could be crippling for some businesses.  I know it’s up to you to assess what the biggest risks to your business are, but think about taking some advice before it’s too late.