Outsmarting the scammers: Tips for keeping your company’s data safe in the age of remote working

July 5th, 2021
Outsmarting the scammers: Tips for keeping your company’s data safe in the age of remote working

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With Ireland having the fourth-highest percentage of people in the EU working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, small and medium-sized businesses may feel concerned about decreased visibility of their employee’s security measures, and the risk this poses. We’ve looked at some of the latest online scams going around and put together a list of tips for preventing scammers from getting sensitive company information.

Don’t be duped by the name

The Gardaí have warned of increasing numbers of scams from criminals impersonating institutions such as banks and government departments to entice people to give out sensitive information.

The public nature of these organisations means that sometimes people don’t double-check whether messages from them are legitimate – especially banks. Checking email addresses to see if there are any additional numbers, misspellings or inconsistent domains in them is the first step in staying safe. Emails from generic email domains and not the organisation itself are a clear indication that it’s not a valid message.

Beyond that, if something looks a little odd, it’s best to rather look the institution up online and email or call them directly to confirm something. Once a link has been clicked, scammers have access to personal information and entire computer systems, putting themselves and their companies at risk. These types of organisations, along with big tech companies, are often impersonated because they have such large user bases, so scammers are betting that their odds are high that someone will slip up, but it doesn’t have to be you.

Language matters

Paying attention to the language of any messages is another safeguard. Companies using Microsoft SharePoint were recently subject to phishing attacks in the form of emails with ‘urgent’ requests for a signature on a document. The wording of the message was clumsy, but the link looked legitimate, which can make it tricky.

The key here is to look at the grammar and not the spelling. Spelling errors are almost always sorted out by a spellcheck programme, but strange language phrases are a big red flag that something is a scam.

Take a beat

Scammers also often try to get people to take action by creating a false sense of urgency. In reality, technology platforms and services won’t roll out even an important security fix without notice and will make a point of making the upgrade information publicly available so it can be verified. If in doubt, contact your IT service provider or look online for more information about an ‘urgent’ request.

Company responsibility

Companies can also do some important things to keep their data and their employees safer, even in a work-from-home reality. Making sure platforms are regularly updated is important and can help prevent criminals from finding ways into a system to steal data.

People are the easiest point of entry for any hacker, which is why phishing scams are so common and so successful. This means that another thing companies can do to stay safe is to regularly educate employees about what can go wrong for the company if data is hacked. This will help them remember what’s at stake and why it matters to remain vigilant.

Numata Business IT offers a range of month-to-month, pay-per-user cybersecurity subscription packages to meet your business’s specific needs. Get in touch today to find out more.