In this advertorial, Carolyn Baker-Mellor, Head of Care and Charity at Towergate Insurance Brokers, explains the new cyber security risks hospices might face as a result of Covid-19.
The challenges facing hospices with the new way of working
While many businesses are beginning to ease out of lockdown in line with Government guidance, it certainly is not business as usual for most, and particularly not for those in the hospice sector. Looking after members of society who are most vulnerable is a huge responsibility, so limiting the risks they face is of utmost importance.
The hospice sector has an additional challenge, to protect those who volunteer in their shops; which are a key source of income for the hospice itself. As shops begin to re-open, they are unlikely to look the same as they did previously, with Government-required measures in place to protect workers and members of the public.
Has your hospice shop been affected?
There are a number of ways your shop may have been affected by these new measures. For example, you may have had to implement a contact-free payment option if you didn’t have one before; you may be asked to collate details of customers for track and trace purposes; or you may have introduced flexible working for vulnerable or high-risk employees or volunteers, where they are doing more work at home where possible.
What does this mean to your risk of exposure?
These measures are absolutely the right thing to do, but if you’ve had to make any changes to the usual running of your hospice or related businesses to allow you to operate in the “new world” you need to be aware of any additional risk exposures you face and ensure you mitigate them as much as possible. One particular area of focus is cybercrime.
The new world has opened new doors for cybercriminals, who are looking to exploit processes and procedures, technology and the general confusion brought by the easing of lockdown and ongoing preventative measures.
Unfortunately and disturbingly, as we have seen in recent years, hospices are not safe from those attempting to exploit this type of crime.
These top tips can help you become more cyber secure:
- Ensure all devices and documents where personal information is stored are password protected with a password that contains a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols, and is not something that is easy to guess
- Never share passwords or write them down
- Ensure all devices have up-to-date malware
- Be cautious about opening emails, attachments or clicking links from people you don’t recognise or are not expecting
- Give employees and volunteers full, robust training on all processes and procedures, including any new software introduced, to minimise mistakes
- Ensure all these processes and procedures are followed as usual, particularly around approving invoices or sharing information
- Consider how long you need to keep personal information for and destroy it in an efficient and secure manner quickly after this time expires
Preventative measures won’t stop all cybercrime
Even if you take all appropriate measures and consider everything mentioned above, you can never be 100 per cent safe from the threat of a cyber-attack. It is not only the incident itself that causes issues, it’s also the inevitable disruption and the impact that can have in the short and medium term.
We know that with the measures in place to support the easing of lockdown across the UK, there will be many hospices that never considered they have a cyber risk exposure before now, that are suddenly finding themselves in need of support. Towergate’s team of hospice advisors are on hand to offer advice and specialist knowledge.
For more information visit Towergate Insurance Brokers