Home News Shutting down the office for Christmas? We’ve got you covered with our 8-point IT checklist.

Shutting down the office for Christmas? We’ve got you covered with our 8-point IT checklist.

December 7, 2021 Nick Expert advice

Like many, you’re probably looking forward to the big office shutdown over the festive season. But there’s a nagging worry at the back of your mind… we all know burglaries and cybercrime increase over the holiday period. Have you got all precautions properly in place IT-wise?

To make it easy, we’ve drawn up this handy 8-point checklist, so you can get your baubles in a row and not stress about the proverbial Xmas hackers coming down the office broadband chimney to steal your presents. 

What’s the biggest risk while staff are away?

Without a doubt, losing data – digitally stored personal information, files, accounts, sales figures, orders, reports and more – is a huge risk, and can be devastating to any business. A successful infiltration by hackers or malware can result in significant losses in terms of suspended operations, the costs to replace lost data and the trust of your customers, partners and staff. Recovering your finances and reputation after data theft can be an uphill battle.

But, of course, preparations should not only focus on digital security. Losing physical assets through an accidental fire or theft not only results in more expense and inconvenience, but also a similar loss of all data held on those machines. Insurance can compensate for the costs involved, but not for the strains on time, effort and relationships.

So, getting properly prepared and ready for the festive break will allow you all to relax and enjoy the fun, and decrease the chances of an unwelcome phone call on Christmas Day. Find out more below.


What to do when closing the office for the festive season.

Back everything up
This is easily the simplest, most straightforward and most effective measure you can take to protect your business’s data and documentation from any kind of loss. Whether you use an external hard drive (and perhaps a second back-up too) kept in a different location, or store everything in the cloud (possibly a reliable long-term measure anyway), you can be sure that you won’t lose vital material should the worst happen.
Monitor online access
Check amongst your staff – who will have access to your networks, data, operations software, etc, over the festive season? Make sure they only use a protected network, either at home or in a public location, perhaps via a VPN, preferably with second-level authentication. Many smart devices at home connected to the internet, like a Switch or Amazon Echo for example, can provide an unintentional gateway for malware to enter your employees’ domestic network. If they are using a work laptop on their home broadband, hackers could gain access to your business data. Give your staff clear guidelines over what they should do to avoid malware.
Update all firewalls
To follow on from the above, even though everyone in your office should be taking all proper precautions, hackers are continually getting smarter – finding new cracks in anti-virus software and inventing new ways to get users to unwittingly invite them in. Make sure you and your IT people are getting regular, automatic updates to your firewall protection.
Monitor physical access
Taking all precautions online is one thing, but this can be undermined by staff physically accessing your office during the festive shut-down. Check who might need to come into the office for whatever reason, and try to avoid anyone working alone on the premises. This can attract criminal interest and prompt an attack or burglary while your office’s security is turned off.
Check building security
With so much emphasis on the digital and online side of things, it’s easy to overlook physical precautions to protect your infrastructure. Specify who is responsible for setting alarms, closing shutters and being the last out to lock up. Keep a list of key holders and their details. Check your alarm system and inform your security company (if you have one) of your office closure. Ensure all necessary staff have all the contacts they need in an emergency. Perhaps install a CCTV system linked to your smartphone. Draw up a list specific to your office so everyone is clear on procedures during the festive shut-down, and make sure it’s repeatedly spelled out in the run-up to the break. It’s surprising how things like this can slip under the radar!
Protect the power
If you have machines running vital systems while the office is closed, it’s worth investing in an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to ensure they stay running. A UPS will maintain a consistent supply in the case of a power cut or surge.
Allow for acts of God
Plummeting temperatures or flooding can cause problems with pipes, building structure and electrical connections, all of which can have knock-on effects with your business network and IT systems. It’s a sensible precaution to leave some heating on to ensure temperatures don’t fall too low and take appropriate measures if you think heavy rainfall could occur (even if that means simply moving machines up off the floor). This said, be sure that anything you leave running is in good working order and won’t be liable to overheat or cause an overload on your mains electrical circuit.
Get remote IT support
An essential precaution, and one that’s increasingly easy to implement as broadband has evolved, is a remote IT solution to monitor your servers, systems, data flows, external access and more. At Comms Unite, our systems are set up to automatically monitor your services, so we can detect any malware or downtime and usually solve problems before the client is even aware of them. This support operates around the clock, 24/7, with engineers’ shifts rotated so that someone will be available at all times in case of an emergency, even in the holiday season. And if there are any issues requiring personal attention, we can easily log on to your machines remotely (either those in your office or any staff working from home) to resolve them.

Got any questions about your office IT infrastructure?

Need help getting everything sorted? Simply send a message to our expert team. Whether just thinking about the Christmas period or looking at an ongoing IT service, we’ll be happy to give you more details about how it can work for your business and ensure you’re all protected. Get in touch with our team today.

November 8, 2021 By Richard
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