I get by with a little help from my friends….

We are constantly hearing that the current pandemic crisis is a once in a lifetime occurrence; the words ‘unprecedented’, ‘exponential’ and ‘self-isolation’ are now being used on an hourly rotation.

“Coronavirus measures are ‘draconian’ but absolutely necessary,” says health chief Brendan Murphy.

He also warns, “This virus will be with us for some time.”

The fact is the world as we know it has changed and is continuing to transition to a new way of life every 24 hours. For businesses, it feels we’re on quicksand without any concrete foundation to plan for the future. However, “flexibility” is the key.  

Over the past few weeks, we have successfully moved to a quarantined workforce who are predominantly now ‘working from home’.

Technology for Accountants has fielded approximately 800 calls each week (plus additional emails) and we’ve worked around the clock to set up our valued clients securely offsite. However, social-distancing isn’t the only challenge to remotely-working individuals and businesses but also the growing number of Scams and Security Risks that could see you potentially compromised during this exceptional period of our lives.

We ask that you be mindful of the following IT threats as you transition to home-based enterprises and remind your workforce to exercise an intelligent approach when considering these following issues:

THREAT #1

Coronavirus scams
Cyber criminals are exploiting the coronavirus epidemic across the globe, and we expect to see an increase in targeted scams directed at our clients in Australia and overseas over the coming days, weeks and months.

There have already been examples of coronavirus-specific threats, including scams relating to:

  • Phishing – where cyber criminals pose as Centre for Disease Control (CDC) or World Health Organisation (WHO) representatives.
  • Social engineering – criminals seeking donations to fraudulent causes relating to coronavirus.
  • Non-delivery – In-demand medical supplies are advertised, but once up-front payment is made, they’re never delivered.

THREAT #2

Working from home – managing confidential information and conflicts
As most people work from home, we need to remember to follow the same rules that apply when working in the office, including:

  • Undertake all communications using company approved systems/devices e.g. email on company Remote, company mobile phones, company video conferencing systems – other platforms like Gmail or Hotmail do not have the security protections we require.
  • Always be aware of who is around and only share information with others who “need to know”.
  • Adhere to clean desk policy even when you are working from home and lock your computer when you step away.

In the situation where your home environment could give rise to a potential conflict of interest (for example – you share your home with somebody who works for a competitor) you must take extra care to avoid inappropriate sharing of information. Additional steps you should take include:

  • Not using speaker phone for any calls – use earphones/headset or phone.
  • Take calls and work in a separate area (preferably a room) away from other members of your household.
  • Setting up your working environment so that it would be difficult for someone to look over your shoulder.

Technology for Accountants has ensured that our own strategic approach to the pandemic has not disadvantaged our clients and our service to you – we know a successful IT set up and security strategy are at the forefront of allowing for successful Business Continuity. If you have any concerns or would like further information on the topics mentioned above, please contact us on 1300 765 014.

Stay well.