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Skills Spotlight: COVID-19 + Cyber Security

Skills Spotlight
Published - 17th April 2020. This article is a 5 min read

We've launched our first Skills Spotlight article where we showcase a set of skills available on-demand through our platform. This week we focus on cyber security.

During March, in the UK alone, online threats have risen as much as 6 times their usual levels. Take a look at what you can be doing to make your company cyber sound.

Security camera
Image taken by Nathy dog on Unsplash

The world is a chaotic place at the moment, but amongst all this uncertainty its heart-warming to see people and companies pulling together to unite as a global community. Sadly, not all people are acting in such a way. Many cyber criminals are looking to take advantage of the COVID-19 outbreak. Whether this be through social media hacks, the sale of counterfeit licenses and products or the spread of misinformation, the opportunities are endless.

The pandemic is acting as a global distraction and this is when cyber threats are at their highest. In the past natural disasters and health concerns have been accompanied by cyber-attacks as companies and people have their eye off the ball. The industries most at threat during this time are those deemed as critical and severely impacted by the outbreak such as; Healthcare, Financial services, Medical Suppliers/Manufacturing, Governing bodies and Media outlets.

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Image taken by Philipp Katzenberger on Unsplash

So, why should Startups be concerned?

Stereotypically early stage Startups do not invest in cyber security. In the midst of focusing on growth and that dream of eventually becoming a unicorn, such as the Monzo and Airbnb’s of the world, security measures are ignored. This is rather ironic as most Startups use technology at the core of their business and have transformed our technological landscape.

Large corporates spend a lot on cyber security as they are aware of the potential damage cyber-attacks can have on finances and reputation and have also had to consider cyber security as part of their GDPR policies. They are also more robust and can often bounce back from losing customers due to these attacks as they have strong brands. Whereas, this is a different story for Startups, as they do not have a hefty budget to fall back on and cannot afford to lose customers.

Most Startups lack a culture in prioritising cyber security, however, if this was considered early stage and became part of the company’s culture then this would be a proactive and sensible approach to safeguard from any future attacks. It’s easy to not factor this into the budget, but every year we see more and more attacks so this should be an automatic consideration for a business of any size.

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Image taken by NORTHFOLK on Unsplash

And why now, more so than ever before?

So, as mentioned above, people are capitalising on this pandemic. In fact, online threats have risen as much as 6 times their usual levels during March in the UK. These attacks are being orchestrated by recreational hackers who now have more time on their hands, and cyber criminals who act on a large scale.

Companies across different sectors are facing cyber threats due to the transition from office to remote working. Working from home removes any face-to-face interaction, therefore putting total reliance on technology. This is risky for companies for a number of reasons:

  • Not every household has a secure WIFI, meaning criminals could potentially infiltrate a home network and use this to compromise a corporate network without the right protection
  • Individuals are likely to be using their work device to access entertainment which could leak viruses
  • Parents may allow children to download games on their laptops which also brings risk
  • There is an increased pressure on IT help desks, resulting in users installing software and taking tech problems into their own hands, which could result in cyber danger
  • There has been a boom in tools such as Zoom being used across the world for conference calls. It is not clear in their terms about privacy and security so it’s difficult to know if calls are truly confidential

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Image taken by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

So, as a Startup what should I be doing right now?

Taking into account our current global situation and the cyber threats posed, its highly recommend to look into your companies cyber health. It will perhaps be a cost you will not want to incur at the moment, however, the potential loss from a cyber-attack is going to be much higher.

Something to also think about is the fact that cyber security readiness is playing a part in the valuation of companies today. This is becoming ever more important when investors are looking into the value of startups.

At You’ve Got This, we match skilled professionals with Startups on short term projects. We have cyber security professionals within our database who will be able to help ensure your company is cyber sound. You can submit a project form here or email [email protected] and we will do our best to match you with the support you need to get through this.

We have skilled cyber security professionals signed up on our database who will be able to help ensure your company is cyber sound.

Don’t worry, We’ve Got This!

Author - Sophie Goddard

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