Is Data Breach Risk Increased During a Continued UK Lockdown?

Everybody knows that suffering from a data breach is bad news, but are we all more suspectable to committing a digital faux pas during the ongoing UK lockdown? To find out, read on…

When the first UK lockdown was put into action in March 2020, the general consensus amongst the majority of the public was that it would all be over in a few weeks. A few months at most!

Yet, as we look ahead into 2021, there is no clear end in sight when it comes to lockdown procedures. While remote work does have its benefits – an unlimited number of judgement free trips to the kitchen being amongst them – there are also a number of potentially serious risks that can arise, such as data breaches.

You don’t have to consult a data breach database to understand that suffering a data breach is likely to have damaging consequences for your business. That said, it’s easy to underestimate how often they can occur. Keep reading to learn more about how data breaches could pose an ongoing threat during lockdown…

Is Data Breach Risk Increased During a Continued UK Lockdown?

How Serious Can a Data Breach Be?

The consequences of a data breach can be devastating, both in a personal and commercial context. There are, of course, plenty of financial implications to a data breach, such as revealing sensitive information that belongs to you or a businesses’ clients.

However, that’s not the only data that can be accessed by cyber criminals. Personal data may also be compromised which, as well threatening your liberty, can lead to irreparable reputational damage and operational downtime. For the victims, this can have untold emotional consequences.

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In cases where the data breach hasn’t been properly addressed, legal action can also follow.  It should go without saying that you don’t want to experience any of this happening!

Why Is the Risk of Data Breaches Increased During Lockdown?

So, are the chances of a data breach occurring really increasing during UK lockdowns? The short answer is…yes.

The longer (and more helpful answer) is that the risk of data breaches is increasing during lockdown for a number of reasons, including:

Remote Working

When people work from home, they might not have access to the same security software as they would when they are working in an office environment. This means that, when data is being handled, there is a higher chance that the correct procedures aren’t carried out to keep it secure.

In fact, a 2020 survey found that 57 percent of IT decision makers believe that remote workers will expose their firm to the risk of a data breach at some point.

Cyber Criminals Making the Most of Uncertain Situation

It’s a sad truth that criminals tend to profit from periods of uncertainty. That’s already been clear to see during the first national lockdowns and won’t be changing any time soon.

Cyber criminals will understand that many people rushed to work from home when lockdown measures were first introduced. In some cases, simple data protection practices have been ignored in the process.

More Transactions Being Carried Out Online

The surge in online shopping as a direct result of lockdown measures has meant that more and more data is being transferred online. While, for some people, that’s been a simple adjustment to make, for others it’s a brand-new experience.

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That means people are much more susceptible to falling for fraudulent activity, such as phishing, which can then lead to a data breach.

Five Tips to Help Avoid a Data Breach During Lockdown

So, it’s all doom and gloom and everyone working from home is going to be responsible for a data breach at some point, right? Of course not.

Yes, the risk of a data breach increases during periods of lockdown, but that doesn’t mean they are an inevitability. Far from it – there are plenty of simple steps you and your business can take to help mitigate the risk of a data breach from occurring.

If you’re handling sensitive data, then you’ll want to clarify your legal obligations so you know what is expected of you and the procedures you should follow when you’re working from home.

The data you store might be different depending on the industry you work in, so understanding exactly what you need to look after is essential.

  • Make Sure All Staff are Fully Trained

Nobody’s perfect, right? That’s probably why the vast majority of data breaches are caused by human error. So, that means every member of staff that’s responsible for handling data should be fully trained so that they are aware of their duties.

Regular training will give employees the tools and skills to identify security issues, as well as helping to promote a conscientious work culture that exists beyond the confines of the office.

3.)  Automate Systems Where Possible

If human error is likely to be an issue, then why not automate wherever possible? Automating processes means that you’ll avoid the possibility of a simple mistake from happening in the first place.

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Automating processes doesn’t have to be complex either; it can be as simple as implementing filters on inbound emails.

  • Install User Authorisation and Passwords

Just because staff are using devices in their homes, it doesn’t mean said devices are completely secure. For data security purposes, multiple levels of authentication should be applied to restrict access as much as possible.

5.)   Have a Data Breach Response Plan

Things don’t always go to plan. That’s why having a clear response plan for data breaches is essential, particularly during riskier times, such as being in lockdown.

Responding quickly and efficiently could mean the difference between the consequences of a data breach being minimal and catastrophic.

Concerned About Suffering a Data Breach During Lockdown?

Clearly, data breaches could be a cause for concern during an ongoing lockdown. But, if you remain vigilant, then you should be able to avoid them from happening in the first place.

Have you got any more tips related to data breaches? Feel free to leave a comment below with your own advice so we can get as much information out there as possible!

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