Like many businesses, we are taking the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic seriously.
What does this mean for you?
- We are fully set up to continue to operate in a large-scale event such as a pandemic. We have a pandemic response plan that has been refined through past experience with SARS, Bird Flu, and Swine Flu.
- All of our staff have company issued laptops and the majority of our staff have a home office set-up allowing similar productivity to that experienced in our office. We are now providing equipment to the few who don’t have the same productive environment.
- For us it is essentially business as usual, but with one exception – we are promoting social distancing of 2m separation from people if the contact is going to be more than 15 minutes. This means we will be reducing the incidence of in-person meetings as much as is practicable, and replacing them with phone calls or video conferences.
- For our clients we are requesting the ability for our staff to work remotely (either from our office or a home office environment) and where it is not possible, to provide assurance that they have implemented sufficient measures to minimise the risk to our staff prior to them visiting client sites.
What measures have we already taken?
We want to do our part to minimise the impact to New Zealand but also to protect our staff and those of our clients. We have implemented specific changes including the following:
- We are cancelling all business-related international travel, and almost all domestic travel.
- Our staff will self-isolate for 14 days if they travel internationally, and 5 days if they travel domestically.
- Self-isolation for any of our staff who exhibit symptoms of illness, continued for 5 days after symptoms cleared up.
- Increased social distancing through having staff working from home and increased spacing of desks within our office.
- Reducing face-to-face meetings with clients and suppliers.
- Encouraging our staff to avoid social gatherings and public transport.
- Ensuring our staff have sufficient infrastructure to support working from home if needed.
- We have implemented no-touch hand sanitising stations at our office.
- We are regularly advising our staff on how to stay safe.
We are actively monitoring the New Zealand Ministry of Health advisories and to date have been extending beyond the suggestion actions. If you would like to read more about this, you can read more here: https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus
A few points relating to IT security
COVID-19 themed email threats
We are seeing an increase in COVID-19 phishing and malware attacks. Some of these look very credible. Please alert your staff to the threat and discourage clicking of links or downloading of any COVID-19-related applications.
You can read more here: https://www.cert.govt.nz/individuals/alerts/attackers-using-covid-19-themed-scams/
How to secure your staff working from home
Several of our clients are also implementing ‘work-from-home’ policies. Here are a few tips to keep them (and you) safe while they are working remotely.
Ensure all staff devices are protected from malware
If you do not have enough corporate devices to set everyone up, make sure their private machines are secure. Sophos Free Home (https://home.sophos.com/) is an excellent choice, and if you are a Sophos customer, then Sophos Home Advanced may be available to you. Contact us on 0800 777 001 to discuss this.
Secure your network and cloud environments
- Use a secure connection to your network and/or cloud environments.
- Enable multi factor authentication.
- Test to see that you can cater for the volume of traffic you are expecting.
Consideration should also be given to the load from your video conferencing systems.
If you purchase these solutions through SSS, then we are happy to help if you require assistance with setup and/or testing.
- One of our partners, Swimlane wrote an excellent article on best practices for safe and secure remote work: https://swimlane.com/blog/5-best-practices-for-safe-and-secure-remote-work/
- NSCS released advice relating to working from home here: https://www.ncsc.govt.nz/newsroom/working-remotely-advice-for-organisations-and-staff/
- One of our partners, Sophos will be running a 30-minute webinar on best practices for safe and secure working. You will get practical advice on how to protect your cybersecurity health while looking after your staff’s physical health. Friday 20 March 2020 at 16:00 NZST. You can register here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/8410558471522128908