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1. Have a security awareness session with your employees

In order for security training to be effective, it must be done regularly. However, there are situations in which training must be completed sporadically and the holidays are such a time. Being cautious and alert is always important.

People get so caught up in the holidays that they tend to forget about basic cyber vulnerabilities. Hackers know this, which results in increased malicious cyber activity at the end of the year. Make sure you remind your colleagues that protecting themselves and their devices is critical.

2. Confirm that all employee devices have encrypted disks

Theft or loss of electronic devices is common during the holidays. Be prepared and make sure that all devices containing sensitive data or that act as entry points to your networks have encrypted hard drives, so if an incident occurs, the risk is minimized.

3. Test your monitoring systems

Most of your staff will be offline as you could be traveling to places lacking internet access or a phone signal, so getting online to troubleshoot will be cumbersome.

Make sure that your alerting systems work properly and that you have backup and recovery plans ready. If an outage occurs, every second matters.

Test your incident response procedures and prepare for the worst. You must take into consideration that while you rely on your employees, you also rely on vendors and other third parties.

4. Keep an eye on your logs.

If you can’t afford 24/7 staff, make sure to at least check your alerts and logs throughout the day to spot malicious activity. Hackers don’t take vacations and they’re waiting for the right moment to strike. (Their holiday is breaching your privacy and stealing your personal data.) They know that during the holidays they’re less likely to get caught because most defense teams are focused on personal matters or out of the office.

Many companies, especially smaller ones, shut down during the holidays and when offices are closed or understaffed, suspicious activity such as data exfiltration mat go unnoticed. You may already have hackers in your systems waiting for the opportunity to gain access and steal company data, so use this opportunity to catch them.

5. Confirm that your security systems work

Employees preparing for their holidays may not notice a suspicious person(s) sneaking into the office. Remember, a single device connected to your office network could compromise your enterprise. Lock your office doors when necessary and secure your networks.